Most of us in the gun rights advocacy community are familiar with the late, great Lt. Col Jeff Cooper's term "hoplophobia," defined as an irrational fear of and/or aversion to weapons (generally firearms). The term is derived from hoplon, a Greek word for arms and armor. Fear of weapons is ridiculous enough, but how much more absurd is a fear of . . . holsters?
Nearly two years ago, Thirdpower brought my attention to a small college in Texas that had banned a Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) empty holster protest, and I expanded on his post a bit here.
Both Thirdpower's post and mine are quite short--take a minute to familiarize yourself with the situation, and I'll be waiting here.
SCCC filed a lawsuit (with, perhaps surprisingly, help from the ACLU), and as it happens, that case just now finally went to court--and the school's justification for banning empty holsters is just plain silly.
When Tarrant County College denied a student the right to stage an empty holster protest in April 2008 at the South Campus, officials feared someone would use the event to bring a weapon on campus.Alrighty, then--let me make sure I'm following along here: you ban the open carry of empty holsters, out of fear that someone will break school rules, risking expulsion (and maybe legal action), by bringing a full holster instead. It didn't occur to you, I guess, that someone could wear a concealed (and full) holster, and you wouldn't know anything about it--and that's most likely what they would do, if they were inclined to bring a gun?
"There was certainly the expectation that someone was going to show up with a gun in a holster," TCC interim Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley said under cross examination during a trial in federal court Thursday.
The judge apparently finds that as puzzling as I do:
School officials had the concern even though they had no evidence that anyone would, and U.S. District Court Judge Terry Means told her — when she couldn’t provide any proof of why she thought someone planned to do so — that free speech cannot be limited on the basis of an "undifferentiated fear."That's because you're apparently not insane, Judge--that's a bit of a handicap in trying to understand people like that school's administrators.
"I can’t see any tangible basis for this fear," Means said.
Note that I'm not even trying to address the irrationality of fearing peaceable armed citizens on campus--that's a whole 'nuther discussion.