Guest viewpoint: North Carolina might be onto something

The University of Oregon was listed as one of the top LGBT friendly campuses in the country, due in part to its addition of over 100 gender inclusive bathrooms (Creative Commons).

This piece reflects the views of the author, Patrick Westerberg, and not those of Emerald Media Group. It has been edited by the Emerald for grammar and style. Send your columns or submissions about our content or campus issues to [email protected].

Okay, let me see if I understand this issue. Conservative Republicans, concerned parents and proponents of a Christian caliphate in North Carolina have barred transgender people from using the public bathroom of their choice in order to prevent possible sexual assault, correct?

On its face, it seems almost reasonable—but only when applied to a man who falsely claims to identify as a woman but is, in fact, sexually attracted to women and intends to use the women’s bathroom in order to find a victim and perpetrate a sexual assault. I doubt anyone would bat an eye if a woman used the men’s bathroom, except to slut shame or victim blame.

If this is correct, such a law criminalizes an otherwise legal act (using a public bathroom) because it might lead to an illegal act (sexual assault). Last I checked, it is illegal for anyone to commit a sexual assault in all fifty states, regardless if committed in a bathroom or not.

You know what else is illegal in all fifty states? Gun-crime. Just like sexual assault, gun-crime is an umbrella term that includes many acts that are illegal. So, how can the logic behind the anti-transgender restroom laws be used against gun-crime? Simple, make it illegal for anyone to go into a business that sells guns.

Wait! Hear me out.

The 2nd Amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but it says nothing about people not being allowed to enter a business establishment. And let’s face it, there have been more real-life examples of individuals committing gun-crime after visiting a business that sells firearms than there have been of individuals committing sexual assault when visiting the bathroom.

“But that’s after the person leaves the gun store,” you argue? Yes, but even if we only count the number of gun-crime incidents where the criminal entered a firearms merchant with no weapon or ammo on them in the first place, the number is still infinitely more than sexual assaults by transgendered people in bathrooms (as any number divided by zero is infinity).

As any Walmart or Cabela’s employee can confirm, currently, without such laws, gun dealers are forced to train their employees to never bring out ammo and a weapon at the same time when showing them to customers, as the customer might quickly load the weapon and use it in a crime right inside the store.

I’m really beginning to like the idea of laws that criminalize the use of public facilities because it might potentially lead to already criminalized actions. We might even be able to address rampant theft. Simply outlaw anyone from entering any business. Problem solved! But I digress.

North Carolina has already solved the (not so) major threat of men—who falsely claim to be transgendered—sexually assaulting females in public restrooms. Let’s deal with gun-crime next, then we can move on to all the other crimes. I urge all fifty states to follow North Carolina’s bold leadership by enacting this simple and effective anti-gun-crime legislation without delay!

Patrick Westerberg

Patrick Westerberg is an undergraduate at the University of Oregon pursuing a BS in General Social Sciences. You can read more from him at or follow him on twitter @TheTokenSquare.