“Concealed carry isn’t right for college campuses” highlights nothing more than the same gun-control rhetoric we’ve heard several times for decades. What you won’t hear about, however, is how these practices and ideas do nothing but enable the same tragedies we strive to avoid.
What changes have been made to put firearms in the hands of licensed people who have a faster response time than the nearest on-duty police officer? To obtain a concealed weapons permit in Florida, for example, an individual must be 21 years of age or older, demonstrate competency with a firearm, pass a background check, reside in the U.S., be fingerprinted and pay the license fee which totals over $112, not including the cost of the firearms course required to demonstrate competency or the cost of the firearm itself.
In addition, there is a laundry list of disqualifications from holding a permit, such as two or more DUI convictions within three years, dishonorable discharge form the armed forces, a felony conviction, a record of drug or alcohol abuse and so on.
What the column neglects to mention is the portion of the student body composed of active military personnel, reserve military personnel, police officers and sportsmen who have extensive training with firearms. However, the column classifies all students as participants or instigators of “any argument or drunken party,” where all their training and knowledge is apparently lost in lieu of in-the-moment impulsivity. It is implied people will get shot out of sheer negligence, whether out of jealously, anger or some other undisclosed reason.
When people take the time to become trained and skilled with firearms, they understand that a weapon shouldn’t be exposed unless they are ready to use it. At that point, the cost of consequences does not exceed the cost of harm if nothing in the situation changes. In January of this year at a UCF off-campus student apartment complex, 22-year-old Nour Skargee answered his door to find an intruder pointing a gun at him, and was grabbed by the throat. When Skargee yelled to his girlfriend, “Grab the gun,” guess who went running? When the intruder retreated, he dropped his weapon, which was revealed to be a pellet gun.
This fear of harm and refusal to gain knowledge with respect to firearms is what drives students to succumb to crime and become victims.
And what if the worst-case scenario does unfold? The police will follow protocol. What many neglect to realize is police have protocols for all types of situations. It’s not like a student will shoot someone and not call 911 once the threat of bodily harm has passed.
Before anyone decides who should or should not be in possession of a concealed firearm on campus due to the preferred exclusivity of police using force, know that the state of Florida issues concealed weapons permits. Should one’s state-issued license be deemed worthless once they step onto a public college or university campus simply because of fear?
End the fear. Get educated on the role, use, maintenance and scenarios of firearms.
Katharine Orr is a senior majoring in biomedical sciences and political science.