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Editorial: Keep guns out of the classroom

As college shootings continue to increase, the debate over how best to protect students has once again been brought to the table. Unfortunately, politicians are about to make a drastic mistake. This past week, two naive gun bills passed the first round of committees and are on their way to a Florida Senate vote.   

If the Florida Senate continues down this path and approves the right to carry concealed weapons on college campuses and the right to openly carry anywhere concealed carry is allowed, a door will be opened that will be incredibly difficult to close. 

Supporters of the bills argue that they will make students and staff safer because they will be capable of defending themselves in threatening situations. They are wrong. 

Unfortunately, it is not difficult to obtain a gun in this country. Anyone over 18 can purchase a firearm, and someone 21 years of age can buy a handgun and receive a concealed weapons permit. 

Yes, there are basic background checks and a safety class for the permit. But they are incredibly easy to pass, and most facilities that offer such classes don’t do extensive research into who is seeking to obtain the weapon.

The fact is, when you realize that someone has a gun, your first reaction is not one of peace or comfort. It wouldn’t matter if it was Tom Hanks (who was voted the most trusted man in America, according to a Reader’s Digest poll) with a glock strapped to his side, your immediate reaction would be one of intense and blinding fear. 

Imagine a campus full of people carrying this so-called “protection” with them from class to class. Who in this situation would feel safe? At that point, the only thing keeping USF from being the site of the next shooting would be each carrier’s mood. Each morning, students would wake up silently pleading, “Dear God, I hope no one gets mad today.” 

The argument that passing the law will increase safety is absurd. People are rash, and an increase in weapons will only lead to an increase in shootings. If Florida is so concerned with the safety of their students, they should strive to increase security in a logical way. 

Instead of shoving weapons into the hands of students, perhaps look into hiring trained professionals to protect them. 

Yes, if a shooter seeks to inflict harm on campus, students will not have the methods of protection needed to defend themselves. Yes, this could potentially lead to the deaths of those innocent students. However, that is what the University Police are for.

No one is naive enough to believe that added security will completely eradicate these pointless attacks. Yet, there is comfort in knowing the only people who should have guns on campus are the ones who have sworn to protect you. 

Our politicians should consider the desires of the generation they are claiming to want to protect. No one could feel safe knowing they are surrounded by hotheaded students who are packing. A campus filled with guns is a campus filled with fear.