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Legalizing guns on college campuses won’t lead to safety

Published: Thursday, July 12, 2012

Updated: Thursday, July 12, 2012 02:07

After a recent stream of armed robberies at Georgia Tech, many students and organizations at the university, including the Georgia Tech Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, have started to push for the legalization of gun carrying on campus.

Though it may seem like it would be effective, legalizing guns on college campuses will likely lead to more risks for students and faculty than benefits.

One of the leaders of the advocacy group, Kyle Wilkins, said that this is especially important since “criminals know that students are unarmed, carrying $1,000 laptops, cell phones (and) text-books,” according to 11Alive, an Atlanta news station.

Moreover, advocates claim they are not particularly pushing for the legalization in hopes that students will use their
guns against criminals. Instead,they hope having students armed will be enough to deter possible offenders.

Last year alone, 18 states, including Florida, pushed for bills to allow the carrying of concealed weapons on college campuses or to decrease the restrictions on gun carrying on campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Wisconsin and Mississippi, the bills became laws. In all other states, the bills were shot down.

Especially after the 2007 Virginia Tech University shootings that killed 33 people, the issue of allowing students, faculty and staff to carry guns on college and university campuses has gained traction.

In 2010, the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Education and the FBI released a report about targeted violence at campuses nationwide.

According to the information, the number of directed assaults rose from 23.9 percent during the 1970s and 1980s to 59.5 percent in the 1990s and 2000s. Over 30 percent of those assaults took place in dorm rooms or apartment areas.

Most notably, 54 percent of those attacks took place with firearms.

Nonetheless, the possibility of crime against students is not enough to warrant the legalization of guns on campuses. Though students will be able to more easily protect themselves, the dangers of allowing guns on campus are greater. And, in a case in which a student is forced to use a gun, the possibility the student is injured increases when the criminal perceives a clear danger.

Moreover, allowing guns on campus will lead many students to become more paranoid and suspicious, wondering who is carrying a gun beneath their coat jacket or who is hiding a gun underneath their shirttails. In a state where Stand Your Ground laws prevail, legalizing guns on campus increases the possibility that guns will be used in fear. While there is no guarantee that a student will not bring a gun on campus, maintaining the illegality of guns on campus will help ensure the safety of the students and faculty.

Tighter security and an increase in campus police presence will be more beneficial for safety than allowing anyone to bring a gun onto campus. 

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