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Letters to the Editor - 10-26-2011

Published: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 13:10

In response to the Oct. 19 article "Firearms trigger campus debate."

Given the political unrest that permeates the country, economic shortcomings that affect every social class and daily frustrations stemming from both, I consider myself and every other student on the USF campus to be in danger.

Despite what student body President Matthew Diaz thinks, the fact remains that USF is an open campus bordered by a part of Tampa lovingly referred to as "Suitcase City." Having been the victim of an armed felon while on campus, in a situation that would have validated the use of deadly force if off campus, I know how dangerous USF can be.

Also, the irony does not escape me that just two days after this article was published, a student was robbed at gunpoint on campus by three men.

I wholeheartedly believe that my constitutional rights should not end at USF's doorstep because they disagree with the government's decision that I am a responsible citizen capable of carrying a means to protect myself from those that wish to inflict harm and forcefully impose their will.

Diaz also points out the blue lights on campus in the article, saying, "We have effective University Police, we have blue light ... I don't see the necessity to have guns on campus." I will admit blue lights are a nice safety feature, but let us not forget that when seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.

I am not 21 and, as such, cannot yet apply for a concealed carry permit. However, it is perfectly legal for me to carry a firearm in my vehicle while off campus. Despite the inherent legal risks, I hold by the motto that it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by six. Criminals beware, not all USF students are unarmed and helpless.

Austin DeForest is a sophomore majoring in political science.

Just days after Matthew Diaz claimed that USF "is a pretty safe campus," a student was robbed in Parking Lot 43. ABC Action News reported the attempted automobile theft of another student. Last month, a visitor strangled his girlfriend on campus after attending a University Lecture Series event.

There seems to be a flaw in the logic Diaz presented. There are also 40,000 students and children in St. Pete, Detroit, St. Louis and Atlanta. If it is legal to carry a concealed weapon in these cities, why not at USF?

With 40,000 students and an ease of accessibility to campus for non-students from the surrounding area, it is difficult to generalize about the school population. Assuming everybody will obey the law or that everybody does not know how to properly carry a concealed weapon is foolish.

Personally, I would only use my firearm if a life were in imminent, identifiable danger. Contrary to popular belief, not every permit-wielder is itching to take down a student wearing a pocket knife. There are numerous, quiet professionals who have similar training to the police on campus. Why should they be labeled as targets while on campus?

Brian Wright is a sophomore majoring in engineering.

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Wed Oct 26 2011 17:52
My comment should read let's not forget what the data says, all available data refutes the claims that allowing students 21 and over with the concealed carry license would increase violence on campus.
Wed Oct 26 2011 17:50
Great letters. And let's not forget what the data says, all available data refutes the claims that allowing students 21 and over with the concealed carry license should be allowed to carry on campus.

"Since the fall semester of 2006, state law has allowed licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on the campuses of the nine degree-offering public colleges (20 campuses) and one public technical college (10 campuses) in Utah. Concealed carry has been allowed at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) since 2003 and at Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave, VA) since 1995. After allowing concealed carry on campus for a combined total of one hundred semesters, none of these twelve schools has seen a single resulting incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides), a single gun accident, or a single gun theft."

The only rational conclusion we can draw from the data is that the people who say that allowing guns on campus will increase crime are wrong, since the mass shootings and armed robberies have all happened in "gun-free zones."

Here are the sources to validate the claims:

Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," John Lott and David Mustard, Journal of Legal Studies (v.26, no.1, pages 1-68, January 1997);

"An Analysis of the Arrest Rate of Texas Concealed Handgun License Holders as Compared to the Arrest Rate of the Entire Texas Population," William E. Sturdevant, September 1, 2000; Florida Department of Justice statistics, 1998; Florida Department of State,

"Concealed Weapons/Firearms License Statistical Report," 1998; Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Census Bureau, reported in San Antonio Express-News, September 2000; Texas Department of Corrections data, 1996-2000, compiled by the Texas State Rifle Association

Nineteen of the thirty-two victims of the Virginia Tech massacre were over the age of twenty-one (the minimum age to obtain a concealed handgun license in Virginia and most other states).

So for the opponents of gun rights on campus, what evidence do you have that supports your statements? We are at a university, and you should all learn how to make arguments that are not blind to the evidence. Anything?

Wed Oct 26 2011 09:43
I wonder if the UP was writing traffic tickets on the outskirts of Campus at the time the student was robbed. I'm sure the Hillsborough Sheriff likes the extra help

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