Gun violence on college campuses is rare, but every incident draws widespread attention and rekindles the debate over whether students and faculty should be allowed to carry concealed firearms.
On Feb. 12, Amy Bishop, a professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, opened fire on her colleagues during a staff meeting, killing three and wounding three others.
Following the tragic event, many wondered if deaths could have been avoided had faculty members been allowed to carry guns. The same concerns were raised following the Virginia Tech massacre.
However, most colleges and universities aren’t listening to the logic of gun advocates. Concealed weapon laws vary from state to state, but guns are banned on most campuses, whether by state or college policy.
USF and other colleges should stand firm behind concealed weapons bans. Putting more guns in the classroom is not the solution to stopping gun violence.
Colorado State University (CSU) is under fire from gun advocates because it finally decided to ban concealed weapons. The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners group is threatening to sue CSU because it believes the policy violates state law, according to The Coloradoan.
The debate at CSU seems to be divided between teachers who don’t want guns in their classrooms and students who want to defend themselves. Student Tim Campbell, president of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus at CSU, said to The Coloradoan that he carries a Glock 27 whenever he leaves home.
“I just want to be prepared,” Campbell said. “You never know when trouble is going to show up. I carry (a weapon) on campus every day.”
Students like Campbell have the mentality that they could stop a gunman before police arrive. When in reality, more people wielding firearms would only make the situation worse, and cops may have trouble distinguishing between attackers and defenders, according to the official mission statement of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Inc.
It concluded that “there is no credible statistical evidence demonstrating that laws allowing the carrying of concealed firearms reduce crime,” and that more guns increase crime.
Self-defense shootings are rare. Of the 30,694 U.S. gun deaths in 2005, only 147 were justifiable homicides committed by private citizens, according to FBI data.
Just because someone is licensed to carry doesn’t mean he or she could effectively stop a shooter in an emergency situation. Of the 48 states that issue permits, less than half require applicants to “demonstrate knowledge of firearm use and/or safety,” according to the San Francisco-based Legal Community Against Violence.
Students don’t have the training that law enforcement professionals do, and most could not respond appropriately in emergency situations. They are more likely to kill someone accidentally than in self-defense. Banning guns on campuses should be a universal policy, and gun advocates need to accept it.