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Please keep holsters on campus empty

It's not your 1960s type of protest.

About 15 students at the University of Connecticut and several at Central Connecticut State are taking part in Empty Holster Protest Week. They contend the rules prohibiting them from slipping guns into those holsters violate their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Like most every college and university, the two institutions prohibit the possession of firearms and other weapons on campus. This is a good policy.

Junior Phil Axelrod, president of the UConn Pistol and Rifle Club, said the protesters want to be able to defend themselves should some madman begin shooting. Indeed, in April 2007 a lone gunman killed 32 students at Virginia Tech before committing suicide. Students with gun permits have proven to be law-abiding citizens, said Axelrod. A university should not impede their right to carry a weapon, he argued.

We have to disagree.

There are better ways to reduce the chances of such tragedies - gun control and mental-health services, for example. An investigation of the Virginia Tech incident showed the ease with which Seung-Hui Cho was able to obtain weapons and ammunition. Campus counseling services ignored warning signs of Mr. Cho's deteriorating mental condition.

Allowing firearms on campus would lead to far more killings due to angry confrontations and careless accidents than it would save lives by giving students the means to respond to rare instances of crazed shooters. Maintain the ban.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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