Liberty University: You Can’t Watch an R-Rated Movie… But Go Ahead and Bring a Gun to Class

Jerry Falwell‘s Liberty University just revised (PDF) an important policy at the school:

Students of Liberty University… who hold a valid concealed weapons permit recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and who are approved by LUPD to carry a concealed weapon, may possess and carry such concealed weapon on University property and all University facilities except residence halls, and may store the approved weapon in a secured container or compartment in their vehicle while on University property.

So students (and staff) who have the easy-to-obtain weapons permit can bring a concealed weapon on campus.

Students ought to have the ability to protect themselves,” Josh Hetzler, a law student who helped draft the new policy, told WDBJ. “We’ve seen a number of instances here in the nation recently were schools are particularly vulnerable. They’re gun free zones, except that the bad guys still get the guns.”

Just to put this in context:

Liberty doesn’t allow students to watch rated-R movies.

Liberty doesn’t allow students to listen to music that doesn’t honor God.

Liberty doesn’t allow students to attend a dance.

Liberty doesn’t allow students to kiss their significant others.

… but they will allow students who jump through giant hoops to bring a gun to class. As if you needed another reason never to go there.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Conspirator

    Something doesn’t add up here. We all *know* that shootings only happen at schools because God has been removed from the schools. Well clearly Liberty University won’t have that problem. Why would anyone need a gun there?

    • observer

      I get the feeling that if you go there and ask them, their answer would be “THIS LIBERAL ATHEIST IS TRYING TO TAKE OUR GUNS AWAY FROM US!!”

    • Randy J

      I applaud your sarcasm.
      I pity your inability to comprehend the gravity of the situation. If law abiding citizens want to have the ability to defend themselves, who are you to judge them? They’re not bothering you. What school would you want to be at the next time a wacko starts blasting?
      A self defense firearm is like a parachute: if you need one and don’t have one, there’s a good chance you’ll never need one again…

      • Conspirator

        Wow, 13 days after I made this post Observer was proven prescient.

        In case you didn’t know, because apparently my sarcasm did go over your head, each time a school shooting or some other tragedy occurs, like the Boston Marathon bombing, people immediately claim that it’s because god isn’t allowed in these places. Now granted they don’t say that after all the church shootings that have occurred, which is odd.

        So my whole point was to say that people who are at a godly institution shouldn’t need to fear. I wasn’t judging them for being afraid, after all that’s a key part of Christianity, isn’t it? Fear of a just and all-powerful god and all that, one who kills indiscriminately for the tiniest of reasons. If I believed in such a god I’d be pretty fearful too. Nor was I making any commentary on the right of those that wish to carry firearms for personal protection. Although the likelihood of needing one during your day to day life is about the same as needing a parachute. There is always a chance you could fall off a cliff or out of the window of a tall building, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to wear a parachute at all times.

  • SteveS

    They have to have guns because armageddon is nigh… That is why it is impossible to have a rational discussion about gins in this country. Too many people have been programmed to believe owning them is not just a god-given right, it is a duty.

    • beatonfam

      I am more than willing to have a rational discussion about gins. Tanqueray 10 or Bombay Sapphire? Sure the Bombay bottle is prettier, but is it a better gin? Is it a god given right to have good gin? Is it my duty to try them all? (just teasing, btw. it’s friday I thought a laugh would be nice)

  • trj

    …may store the approved weapon in a secured container or compartment in their vehicle

    Am I correct in understanding this means it’s considered perfectly legal and appropriate to leave your gun in the glove compartment when you’re away from your car? If so, that doesn’t exactly make it difficult for criminals to get hold of guns.

    • beatonfam

      Thank you. Glad I am not the only one with that concern. Now yahoos all around the Liberty campus will break into a bunch of cars until they find a gun to steal. Isn’t the car one of the least safe places to store a weapon?

      • trj

        To my mind it should be considered criminally negligent – if it isn’t already – to leave your gun in your car. It takes just a few seconds to break the side window and search the car.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        There are ways to safely store a weapon in a vehicle but it has to be done using an in car gun safe that is properly secured to the vehicle.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger?feature=mhee GodVlogger (on YouTube)

      Liberty U’s website says that the majority of their student reside on campus, but the rule says they can’t have the guns in their residence halls.
      So they are expected to leave their dorms and go get their guns (stored in their cars?) to make sure they bring them there guns to class? What a terrible idea.

  • C Peterson

    Hmmm… we have an entire school overwhelmingly populated by immature and unstable people (normal people wouldn’t be there), and now we are going to arm them. What could possibly go wrong?

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Is there yet a so-in-so’s law, similar to Murphy’s law, Poe’s law, or Godwin’s law, that essentially observes that the more religious a Christian is, the less Jesus-like he or she is in their behavior? (If there isn’t yet, don’t name it after me.)

    There seems to me to be a consistent pattern that the more religious Christians are, the more harshly judgmental, disapproving, condemning, unforgiving, and punitive they are, and as in the lunacy described above, the more prone they are to have fearful fantasies about violence, to eagerly approve of violent responses, to approve of possessing and using deadly weapons, and to violent, war-like behavior in general.

    If Jesus showed up today, I don’t think he’d pick these people as his first guess of who were his followers.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      So, the more religious Christians are, the more they act like Yahweh, and less like Christ.

      • trj

        Indeed. The more fundamentalist they are, the more they rely on OT. And not just OT, but the most regressive parts of OT.

    • Mackinz

      For all-so-obvious-irony, I vote that this law be called Christian’s Law.

      Or, maybe Richard’s Law. I’d prefer Christian’s Law because of irony.

  • A3Kr0n

    Doesn’t sound much like liberty to me. False advertizing?

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      Careful there. It’s probably a capitalized, proper-noun version of liberty. I used to think it silly for Christians to capitalize certain words, but I now realize that they are marking a distinction between their usage, and what it means to everyone else. Truth ≠ truth; Love ≠ love; Good ≠ good; et cetera.

      • A3Kr0n

        Those tricky christians! Or should I say “Christians”?

  • Matt

    Why is there such resistance to responsible gun ownership? I am a university student, and I strongly support this idea.

    • baal

      You haven’t seen a group of drunken frat boys? Belligerent semi-racists getting in everyone’s face? Psych 101 standard “yell loudly at someone in an elevator” paper? Misc. assaults over peeps libido overdrive at parties and the wrong person finding out? Must be a quiet Uni you attend.

    • TheBlackCat13

      The problem isn’t so much gun ownership,. it is that they are allowed to carry guns, but not watch movies containing guns.

    • C Peterson

      The human brain doesn’t mature until about age 26. Before that, judgment is poor, ideas of right and wrong aren’t yet well developed, and people often fail to make the proper connection between actions and their consequences. Look at the sort of trouble college kids regularly get into. Responsible?

      Frankly, responsible gun ownership simply isn’t an option when dealing with a bunch of college age students. And the very notion of weapons on a college campus stands at odds with the sort of environment any reasonable college should be seeking to create.

      • T Dreher

        That’s just wrong. I am 54 years old. I started learning firearm safety at about age 6. My father gave me my first shotgun at age 11. I have never fired at anyone, or even threatened anyone. It’s all about maturity and responsibility. To make a blanket statement that no one under age 26 is responsible enough to own a firearm is wrong.

        • C Peterson

          Yeah, and there are kids who can be responsible drivers at 14. But most still aren’t at 16. And it’s the same with guns, and any number of other things too dangerous to let people have without reasonable regulation. I didn’t say that no one under age 26 is responsible enough to own a firearm. I said that it is well established that until that age, most people do not have fully developed brains, and that lack of development comes with many consequences. It would be very difficult to determine just which few are responsible enough to carry concealed weapons around a college campus. So, in the absence of any compelling reason for people to have guns in that environment, the sensible thing is to not allow them at all.

        • Infophile

          Read the post you’re replying to again. No one said that “no one under age 26 is responsible enough to own a firearm.” The post was speaking in general, and a lone exception doesn’t disprove it.

        • RobertoTheChi

          Agreed.

      • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

        “The human brain doesn’t mature until about age 26. Before that, judgment is poor, ideas of right and wrong aren’t yet well developed, and people often fail to make the proper connection between actions and their consequences.”

        That is a very condescending statement. I guess Newton’s brain didn’t mature until after he discovered the laws of motion and gravity, invented calculus, and kickstarted the field of optics.

        • C Peterson

          How is my comment condescending? It is a simple statement of fact.

          Like all other humans, Newton’s brain was still developing until he was about 26. When he was younger than this, he probably displayed poorer judgment than when he was older. This isn’t a matter of intellectual skill- indeed, there is some evidence of that peaking while the brain is still plastic.

          • smrnda

            Newton was pretty contentious his whole life. Scientific brilliance and emotional self-regulation are different attributes. Not really sure about the neuroscience, but I just thought I’d point that out.

            • C Peterson

              Yes, by most accounts Newton was a pretty immature asshole. If he had access to modern weapons, Halley and others might have died young. But I figure that his issues weren’t the result of an undeveloped brain (at least past his mid-20s), but just stemmed from being a jerk. A brilliant jerk, of course.

        • mjhooper

          The human brain thing is pretty well established, thanks to the various dreaded fields of SCIENCE and research. Condescending statement it ain’t.
          Have you seen any young adults texting while driving, or even worse, texting while feeding and infant? The first can kill the texter and folks near him, the latter can lead to the deaths by violence of any number of people, because of lack of bonding to a person, (usually the mother) which is essential for proper emotional development. These are cases of poor judgment, both by the driving texter and the young mother.
          Only in the first case, sadly, is the danger generally recognized by mature brains, while in the second case, the danger is rarely–in my experience– recognized, even by those with totally mature brains.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Typical gun nut strawman. People start talking about guns and no matter what’s actually being said, you lot start screaming that we’re against responsible people owning guns, and of course we’re out tot take your rights away.

      • http://www.facebook.com/travis.myers.102977 Travis Myers

        It’s not a strawman. The university is trying to promote responsible gun ownership for students, and Hemant makes it clear that he is resistant to that idea.

        • Tom

          The whole point being the massive contradiction when the school patently doesn’t believe their students are responsible enough to handle just about any other aspect of adult life, including free-thought, exposure to challenging ideas, and sexuality. They seem to view their students as easily tempted or waylaid children who must be coddled and monitored at all times, yet they have now also decreed that they should be allowed to carry tools designed for efficiently ending lives.

      • Justin

        Wait. Are you trying to establish the straw man of a typical gun nut, or accuse Matt of constructing a straw man? You succeed at the former, but fail at the latter.

    • RobMcCune

      If these kids aren’t responsible enough to do satan’s salsa (aka. dance), the devil’s resuscitation (aka kiss), or watch any of beelzebub’s b-movies because of their depraved sinful nature, then they have no business handling firearms.

      • mjhooper

        Amen, brother. I live the way your mind works.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      This isn’t responsible gun ownership. This is “someone might possibly come into the room and shoot people, so you need to be able to shoot people at any time”.

      It also sets up an incredibly inaccurate false impression – it’s an external ‘bad guy’ who is the aggressor, not the more likely case of someone who obtains their weapons legally and is already associated with the school.

      And, as others have noted, Hemant is primarily focused on the blatant hypocrisy of students being allowed to carry tools for killing people but not watch movies that portray people killing people (at least not graphically).

  • Rabid

    Prefaced by the fact that I in no way “want” violence to rear it’s ugly head in one of these schools, no matter how bull-headed they may be on the issue, I can’t help but feel that devil’s advocate itch in the back of my brain that’s telling me that, if someone chose to do so, they’d have no issue walking into this place and committing an atrocity just as appalling as any other we’ve witnessed. Despite your god damned concealed carry.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I wonder how many licensed Christian gun owners subscribe to the notion of obeying God’s law rather than man’s law. And should this be grounds for disqualifying them from gun ownership?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Did you not know Jesus carried a gun? BTW, I’m very pro-gun myself, I have my concealed carry permit too but most Christian gun owners see it as a God given right. Just accept it and move on. Trust me, it is an argument you will never win with them.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        I wouldn’t dare attempt such an argument. I think I am more concerned by religious, conservative, ultra-patriots with guns than I am by armed criminals.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          I hear you and they scare me as well. I go over to The Blaze for self torture every few days and to read some of the comments is down right scary. Thankfully those you described are far from the majority in the firearms world.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    From Section 1, Part A of the Weapons Policy:

    “Weapon” is defined as any firearm designed or intended to expel a projectile by action of an explosion of a combustible material.

    Does this then ignore, neither approving nor disapproving, other devices that are used to intimidate, wound or kill people such as stilettos, throwing knives, shurikens, dirks, ice picks, machetes, rapiers, broadswords, battle axes, blade weapons of any kind, leaded clubs, blackjacks, bows and arrows, crossbows, spears, javelins, nunchucks, brass knuckles, and steel-reinforced bowler hats?

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      …And iron chariots, which are particularly formidable in certain circumstances.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    The thing with Maine is I can technically carry on campus at The University of Maine in Orono because I have my concealed carry permit. There is no state law that says I cannot do so but if the campus police did find out all they can do is ask that I comply with their policy which is below. I could simply say sorry, didn’t know but I would not have broken a single state law.

    http://umaine.edu/police/crime-prevention/firearms/

    Any member of the public who violates this policy shall be notified of the violation and asked to comply. If the public member will not comply, the individual shall be removed from campus and subject to all legal penalties, including the criminal trespass provision under Maine Law.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

    I present a cautionary tale:

    In the fall of last year, the University of Colorado was ordered to allow conceal-carry on its campuses, by the Colorado state supreme court. Three months later, there was the first reported accidental shooting: a business manager in the dental school was showing her gun to a colleague in the administration office and accidentally fired it. The round ricocheted off a cabinet and grazed the colleague’s calf. CU continues to attempt to get the order reversed.

    CU is a much larger organization than Liberty (100,000+ people as compared to 15,000 on-site), and the different culture may lead to a significantly different rate of gun possession. But you may consider the likely rate of injuries from what Liberty is allowing.

  • newavocation

    Did Jesus need a gun?

  • Sids

    Makes me think of the story last week of the guy asked to step on ‘Jesus’. The professors account had bunching his fists looking like he was ready to take a swing. Just imagine if he’d been fingering a gun instead. I’d hate to be a professor at Liberty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.brewis.7 John Brewis

    It’s like one speck of common sense. When was the last time multiple murders occurred in the USA that wasn’t a gun free zone?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      Yesterday.

  • Elvenfoot

    You are all missing the entire point. What ridiculous comments most of these are. This whole thing has nothing to do with irresponsibility or illogical reasoning but with the desire to honor God in all things–and anyone with any sense of justice and fair play would see that, instead of treating these students as imbeciles. Wow. Honoring God is the whole purpose of the college; that is why these students attend this college–to grow in holiness as they prepare for real life, not merely to get a degree. Providing oneself with the means for self-defense in accordance with the law does no dishonor to God, but participating oneself in entertainment that is spiritually unedifying, even damaging, does dishonor Him. It doesn’t matter if you agree with what entertainment they feel is right or wrong; what matters is that they are following their consciences, and you and I do not need to rake them over the coals about it.

    I personally see nothing wrong with most forms of dancing, but dancing has always been a problem for Baptists–as well as other forms of entertainment. Why do I need to mock that? Why do people here need to mock it? And why would anyone criticize any adult (student or otherwise) for owning and using a firearm in accordance to the law and the rules of the college? Good grief. I call such criticism stupid, NOT the school’s policy.

    For the record, I’d hand a firearm to any “Bible-believing” Baptist before I’d hand one to most other people, and I’m no Baptist. I’ve known a bunch, and they don’t deserve this treatment. Grow up, everyone, and stop acting like a bunch of playground bullies.

    • cag

      So you would say that it is honoring god to admit that god is powerless to protect his “children? Why do christians insist on staying out of heaven as long as possible?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      How is it “acting like a bunch of playground bullies” to point out hypocrisy, and to object to policies that increase the risk of death and injury?

    • TheBlackCat13

      If “following their consciences” makes them do stupid, immoral, or hypocritical things, then yes, we most certainly do need to “rake them over the coals about it”

    • C Peterson

      I mock that which is mockable, because making people see the absurdity of their beliefs is one way to change them. And changing beliefs is one of my goals. And I criticize laws and policies I think are not in the best interests of society, because criticism is the first step in creating change.

      I consider your comparison of mocking ideas and challenging beliefs to “bullying” absurd to the extreme.

    • PietPuk

      Honoring God is the whole purpose of the college

      And here I am thinking the purpose of colleges are to learn things. My bad..

    • Nilanka15

      Banning dancing is stupid no matter how you look at it.

  • Good and Godless

    Problems with the picture:
    The truly omniscient would not need a scope.
    The truly omnipotent would not need a bipod or a recoil suppressor.

  • Randy J

    Rationally speaking,
    As long as Liberty U’s policy reigns and they have NO incidents, and other schools who have adopted gun-free zones DO have incidents, then any of you who mock them because you disagree have no foundation for your argument.
    Instead of pointing and jeering from the sidelines, get in there and do some real research. They may actually be on to something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

      Wrong. We can take the previous history of similar populations with conceal-carry being allowed, and compare it to the previous history of similar populations with conceal-carry no being allowed. The conclusion is simple: more people having more -> more people being shot.

      Liberty has a small enough population that it may go a relatively long while without someone getting shot. That does not mean they are on to sometime – it means that they’re gambling.


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