From Virginia Tech to Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary, school shootings have unfortunately become a common occurrence at all levels of education.
Some people, such as Florida Rep. Gregory Steube, firmly believe the way to end such violence is to arm more people — in this case, the potential “good guys” out there. However, Steube’s bill SB 176 allows for the concealed carry of firearms by any college student with a permit in Florida — a terribly misguided attempt to protect students.
First and foremost, the role of protecting citizens should fall on police officers, not citizens themselves. For an article printed in The Oracle last week, UP Assistant Chief Chris Daniel said police officers undergo many hours of rigorous training in order to be trusted with life-or-death decisions. Conversely, those who acquire concealed carry permits only take classes about a few hours long and do not have any shooting accuracy requirements.
A University of Toledo poll found 5 percent of university police chiefs support concealed carry as a way to reduce violence from school shootings. Additionally, a Ball State University study found that a strong 95 percent of college presidents reject SB 176.
The NRA has long pushed the idea of arming citizens or personnel, whom they call “good guys with guns,” as a way to reduce overall gun violence. The idea is a Wild West-type
scenario — in which if a “bad guy” starts shooting, a hero will step into the fray and, the NRA hopes, stop the villain in his tracks.
This is a very Hollywood way to look at the real world. To expect that the average citizen could step up into a heroic movie star role without much extensive training is a farce.
Obviously, many scenarios far different from the NRA’s ideal could occur if students decided to take advantage of concealed carrying. Any argument or drunken party becomes that more dangerous. The knowledge that anyone in a classroom could be hiding a gun may create a sense of insecurity among those who do not want to or cannot carry a gun.
If the idea is to make students feel safer, that obviously wouldn’t be the way to go.
Again, the role of protecting citizens is the exclusive domain of the police force. Police officers are trained to handle crises because the police force understands most normal citizens are not equipped to face life-or-death situations. A better solution, which the NRA also supports, is to have a stronger police presence, though it would also be ideal to avoid the feeling of a police state on college campuses.
The bill hasn’t yet reached the Senate, but, ultimately, the problem runs deeper than who is and who is not allowed to carry a weapon, and concealed weapons on campus is just a quick, backward solution.
Chelsea Mulligan is a freshman majoring in international studies.