Pro Vs. Con: Guns on Campus

The Issue: In light of campus shootings, some colleges and universities in the US are allowing students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus. Is this a clear cut second amendment issue, or is it a step too far?

The Pro by Chuck Livingston, Asst. Web Editor

Of all the things you put in your backpack as you leave home for your college classes, a gun is usually not included. On college campuses across the United States the ability to bring a concealed weapon with you to class may become a reality.

This is a choice that I believe students and faculty holding a valid concealed carry of a weapon (CCW) permit should have. I am not advocating that everyone be allowed to carry a gun on campus, only those with a valid CCW permit.

In the aftermath of several college campus shootings nationwide and the Nov. 15 shooting at the University of California, Berkeley, there is a growing movement to allow students and college professors to carry a gun on campus. The state of Utah already allows CCW permit holders to carry their guns on all college campuses and universities, according to Web site ConcealedCampus.org.

These laws will not allow just anyone to carry a gun only those students and staff who possess a valid CCW permit. The CCW Web site AmericanCCW.com states that a state-issued permit that subjects you to an intensive background search. This background search has to show that you are over the age of 21, not a convicted felon, not convicted of any crime involving the unlawful use of alcohol, drugs or any other controlled substance, plus other requirements that vary from state to state.

Why do you need to carry a gun to school?

I point to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute shooting where a suicidal madman killed 32 students. Also, the case of Amanda Collins, a student at the University of Nevada, Reno, a CCW permit holder who was not allowed by campus policy to carry her gun.

According to the Nevada News Bureau, Collins, who was unarmed as required by school policy, was attacked by a serial rapist and convicted murderer James Biela in the university’s parking garage. She recently testified before the Nevada Legislature and said; “I know at some point during my attack I could have stopped it. Had I been able to do so, two other rapes would have been prevented and a life could have been saved.”

Both of these cases were on campuses that had university police departments. However the police were not able to stop the killings or the rapes. In the case of the Virginia Tech massacre, a legally armed professor or student could have stopped the shooter. This was the case in the Appalachian

School of Law shooting where two students, a former Marine and a police officer, took action when an incident occurred. The students heard gunshots, went to their cars and retrieved their handguns and were able to subdue the shooter and hold him for police, according to Time.com.

Permit holders are not asking for anything new; just the right to be able to defend themselves if necessary on a college campus. Dependable Americans, including students and teachers, with valid CCW permits already carry their guns into shopping malls, banks, churches and grocery stores among countless other places every day. Why should a college or university campus be any different?

The Con by Mark Lewis, News Editor

American River College, a California state-run institution of higher education, is not a shopping mall, grocery store or church. ARC is part of a national network of colleges and universities that provide students with the opportunity to come to a safe-haven environment in which the only weaponry appropriate to bring on and off campus is knowledge.

If knowledge equals power then staring down the barrel of a weapon while unarmed must be the epitome of powerlessness.

Traditionally, Republican states like Utah, Colorado and Arizona allowing students and professors who meet this criteria to obtain a concealed carried weapon permit is patently absurd.

Colorado is a state that will forever be synonymous with 1999’s Columbine massacre. Just this past January Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle

Giffords was shot by Jared Lee Loughner as she prepared to address her constituents in front of a Safeway in Arizona.
She lived – six others did not. Where were these gun holders who could have prevented these events?

This is the “could’ve-would’ve-should’ve” mentality that is the driving force behind the desire to allow “qualified” students or professors to become locked and loaded.

If an ARC student is that focused on bringing a gun to school to “deter” or “prevent” rapes and violent acts, then I have a suggestion for them; study criminal justice here at ARC and come join our campus police force that does a fantastic job of protecting a large number of students.

Prefacing arguments by saying things like “In the event of–” or “In case someone decides to–” is pure, unadulterated fear mongering.

I grew up in San Francisco and the threat of an earthquake was and will continue to be a viable threat. I remember my father grabbing my two sisters and I and shoving us under his heavy roll-top desk during the 1989 earthquake while cabinets of my mother’s china toppled as the earth shook, causing my young sisters to cry out of pure panic.

Should that seminal event from my childhood really have warranted me to purchase an orange hard hat and wear it to school every day just in case “the big one” struck again?

The second amendment (a bastion of conservatives) grants citizens the right to bear arms. I support the amendment, but over my dead body will I support an initiative that gives ARC’s students and professors the right to bring a concealed weapon onto campus.

I’ll leave you with this pearl of wisdom I’ve concocted: No guns, no violence. Know guns, know violence.