By Ed Palm
One of the most maudlin themes of the Western melodrama is that of the callow young man who, intent on commanding respect, insists on wearing a gun. Johnny Cash’s 1958 hit “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town,” for instance, relates how one such would-be gunslinger comes to a bad end. I thought of Cash’s ballad recently when I learned that Liberty University — the Christian university founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg — now allows faculty, staff, students and visitors to carry concealed weapons on campus and in campus buildings.
In all fairness, Liberty claims to be requiring anyone who would bring a gun on campus to have a concealed-weapon permit and to register with the campus police. People who carry concealed weapons, however, generally keep them concealed. And, as with most universities, anyone can walk on to Liberty’s campus and into its buildings without security screening. The requirements to have a permit and to register with the campus police, therefore, are unenforceable.
Palm is a Vietnam veteran and retired Marine officer who went on to a second career in university teaching and administration. He is temporarily residing in Lynchburg, getting acquainted with his first grandchild.