Concealed carry should be banned from university campuses because it is not an effective shield against mass shooting-type occurrences.
Within public debate, concealed carry has become a major topic of discussion. Various college campus shootings have been carried out in the U.S. within recent years, starting with the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.
According to a Sept. 22 New York Times article, Oregon, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Utah and Colorado permit the carrying of concealed weapons on campuses through provisions. According to the same article, more than 200 institutions across the nation allow individuals to carry concealed firearms.
Recently, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled on the lawfulness of concealed carry on college campuses in the state. Currently, students with gun licenses at the University of Colorado Boulder can carry concealed weapons on campus, according to the same article.
Instead of instilling a sense of security, professors and students may show more apprehension to these new concealed carry rulings. Two notoriously tragic shootings have happened in Colorado—at Columbine High School 13 years ago and at a movie theater in Aurora this past summer. Some students in open discussions have expressed paranoia that anyone on a college campus could potentially possess a deadly weapon.
Students for Concealed Carry is an advocacy group for the right to carry legally permitted firearms on campuses. According to the same article, the group challenged the gun ban in place for more than 40 years at the University of Colorado Boulder. The organization argued for a means of self-defense. Other arguments include if a student or a professor was armed, the person could have helped to prevent past massacres on college campuses.
But such a coincidence is highly unlikely during similar events. Even proper training with a gun could cause more harm than help. According to an Aug. 24 Wall Street Journal article, a gunman was fatally apprehended near the Empire State Building in August. Stray bullets, likely from police, injured nine bystanders. All in all, arming a student seems much more risky than arming a trained police officer.
The issue of concealed carry received mixed reactions when it was brought to the Texas State campus two years ago. Although concealed firearms on campuses are currently banned in Texas, the senators in the Associated Student Government at the time voted that they were against the university’s policy disallowing firearms, according to a Nov. 30, 2010 University Star article. It was later vetoed by thepresident at the time.
The Texas bill that would have permitted concealed carry died in the Texas House last year. It still remains an issue for debate in the upcoming 2013 legislative session, especially with the recent August shootings at Texas A&M University.
According to an April 4 Texas Tribune article, students at Texas Tech University and Texas A&M held weeklong demonstrations amid fatal shootings at Oikos University in Oakland, Calif. Their protests called for concealed carry.
College students and the state government should not jump to conclusions and allow concealed carry on college campus as a response to recent shootings. A gunfight between a potentially mentally ill gunman and a college student would do more damage to the campus community—physically and mentally—than the intended defensive effort.
—Ravi Venkataraman is a creative writing masters student.