Shooting Club flyers are protected free speech

Editorial By: The CNM Chronicle Editorial Board

The CNM Chronicle does not believe that the answer to gun violence is to allow guns on campus, but we do believe that the Shooting Club has an inviolable right to hang the flyers on campus.

In this week’s front page article “Student club flyers create controversy,” Shooting Club President Mitchell Jackson stated that the flyers were behind glass because previous flyers had been torn down, pre­sumably by community mem­bers who disagreed with the statements on the flyers.

While placing the flyers behind glass does make it seem as though the flyers are endorsed by CNM, those who disagree would do well to create and post flyers with an opposing viewpoint or send responses directly to the Shooting Club rather than stifle the organiza­tion’s right to free speech.

To its credit, CNM has had a long-standing record of pro­tecting all students’ right to free speech. The decision to place the flyers behind glass was the best available solution for all parties involved.

Perhaps it would be better to say that the schools decision to place the flyers behind glass was an endorsement of free speech rather than an endorse­ment of content of the flyer.

While community members might find the flyers offensive, removing them stifles every­one’s free speech. If CNM refuses to allow those flyers, an argument can be made to disallow any student organiza­tion flyers. Then clothing with offensive slogans, then perhaps offensive language.

Some community members may think that this could be OK. There are probably many who think that there is a lot of offensive language on campus, but then, who decides what is and is not offensive?

Freedom of speech is all or nothing; either everyone has it or no one does.

It is important to note that those flyers do draw attention to the problem of gun violence and a possible solution, but the flyers alone do not create meaningful discussion.

That could be accomplished only if the members of the Shooting Club took what they have started a step further and hosted an open forum on the topic, something the Chronicle hopes to see in the future.

Leave a Reply