Randy Shannon is the head coach of the University of Miami Hurricanes, and he dislikes guns. Because of his personal feelings on guns, he has reportedly banned his college football players from having guns, even off campus in their private homes.
I’ll start out by saying that Randy Shannon is in error to impose his personal biases upon the college student athletes whom he has the privilege of coaching. It is not the place of a football coach to tell his players which constitutional right they may or may not exercise in their off-campus homes. Coach Shannon would clearly be wrong to tell his players that they could not enjoy the 4th Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Nor would it be reasonable for Randy Shannon to tell his players that they could no longer exercise the 1st Amendment right to free speech in order to discuss politics. Similarly, his infringement of the 2nd Amendment rights of the university students to keep and bear arms in their private (off campus) homes is not justifiable.
Trying to justify his policy, Coach Randy Shannon made a few incredulous statements about guns. I’ve taken a moment to address them:
“We have guys on the team that have kids. You could have a gun lying around in the room, under the bed, anywhere. Kids can find anything. Are you willing to take that chance that somebody gets injured or your kid gets injured because of the gun?”
Properly storing a gun so as to avoid unintentional shootings is the responsibility of each gun owner. When a gun is stored in a safe, the chances of a child or criminal gaining access to it are nearly zero. If Randy Shannon is truly concerned for the safety of those around his player’s guns, and feels the need to micromanage their lives, and thinks he has the authority to do so, he should simply require that his players store their guns in a safe and responsible manner. Also, note that having a gun in the home can allow a parent to defend their children from drug using, car stealing, home invading criminals.
“Most of the time road rage comes from getting cut off, guys taking your parking spot, and the first thing you want to do is reach under the seat and now you’re going to have problems.”
I literally spilled the water I was drinking when I read this statement. Here, Randy Shannon suggests that gun owners will tend to open fire upon those who cut them off in traffic, or take their parking spots. This is simply ridiculous, and utterly untrue. The fact is that 48 states allow law abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm, yet you don’t hear about such people opening fire on the car in front of them. Some states, such as Alabama, have as many as 1/3 of their citizens walking around with concealed carry permits – and have a low crime rate because of these armed citizens. As a law abiding gun owner I can assure you that the presence of guns does not cause crime. Furthermore, the people who would be willing to commit murder over a parking spot are not the type of people who will obey a gun ban in the first place. Perhaps Coach Shannon has the urge to fire upon those who commit minor traffic infractions, but I certainly don’t!
“Everybody deals with things differently,” he said. “It may be wrong or it may be right, but that’s just the way I feel.”
Coach Shannon is correct that his approach “may be wrong” – and indeed it is the wrong approach for addressing the problem of crime. And he is correct that this is just how he feels feels about guns – which is why he should not impose his beliefs upon the entire team. The mark of a mature and learned person is to recognize that their way is not the only way, and that they do not have the moral authority to impose their views upon other people. As much as I support gun rights and the ability of guns to save lives, I would never dream of trying to force someone to own a gun if they did not want to do so.
The fact is that guns save allow citizens to save themselves from attack by racist criminals, and stop home invaders. Gun ownership in one’s private home is a constitutional right. The criminals who will misuse guns are not deterred by gun control, which only serves to leave the law abiding citizens vulnerable. Coach Shannon would do well to spend some time educating himself about the constitution of the United States, the self defense value of guns, the racist history of gun control, and the importance of not trying to totally control the personal lives of those around him.