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Should Guns Be Allowed On Campuses in the USA

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2881 words Published: 11th Aug 2015

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Based on National Rifle Association, an estimated 39 percent of households have a gun and 24 percent have a handgun; there are also 65 million privately-owned handguns in the US and 127 million other firearms. Have you ever think one day handgun can be carried onto college campuses where we come to study every day? “Our colleges and universities are safer sanctuaries for learning, and we believe they would be endangered by the presence of concealed handguns.” claimed by Students for Gun Free Schools (SGFS) (Louise Gerdes). In contrast, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) have supposed: “Current school policies and state laws against concealed carry on campus serve only to stack the odds in favor of dangerous criminals.” (Louise Gerdes). SGFS and SCCC were formed after terrible shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University happened. These are two of the deadliest massacres on campus in the United States of America. For your information, on April 16, 2007, at Virginia Tech University, Seung-Hui Cho – a formal student – killed thirty-two people and then committed suicide. One year later, on February 14, graduate student Steven Kazmierczak killed five people and injured many others and then killed himself at Northern Illinois University. From that time, concealed guns are becoming a controversy in America, especially, concealed carry on campuses. Many colleges have accepted for their students and faculty to carry handguns to protect themselves such as public colleges and universities in Utah; Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia… On the other hand, almost 4314 colleges and universities prohibit their students and faculty from carrying concealed on their campuses. Each group has their own reasons for their action and belief. In my opinion, I think there are no needs to carry concealed weapons like handguns on campus.

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SGFS believes that America’s colleges and universities are some of the safest places and almost their campuses are gun-free zone. They claimed that homicides at American colleges and universities are unusual events. They also showed some evidences to prove their opinion, according to a study from the Department of Justice, 93% of violent crimes that victimize college students happen off campus and students on the campuses of post secondary institutions are significantly safer than both their off-campus counterparts and the nation as a whole (Louise Gerdes). They are really undeniable facts that our college campuses really have lower crime rates than the cities in which they reside (Louise Gerdes). In fact, even though, our public safety is not enough to control a whole campus but anyway they still give our students secure and safety.

Also, SGFS have listed five important-results that can be recognized when concealed weapons are allowed on campuses: (1) Concealed handguns would detract from a healthy learning environment; (2) More guns on campus would create additional risk for students; (3) Shooters would not be deterred by concealed carry permit holders; (4) Concealed carry permit holders are not always “law-abiding” citizens, and finally (5) Concealed carry permit holders are not required to have law enforcement training. In the counterpart movement, SCCC also has given their list to cast doubt on SGFS’s list: (1) Concealed handguns would not detract from a healthy learning environment; (2) More guns on campus would create little if any additional risk for students; (3) Shooters may or may not be deterred by concealed carry permit holders, but deterring shooting sprees is only one of several potential benefits; (4) Concealed carry permit holders are not always “law-abiding” citizens, but They are statistically more law-abiding than most SGFS unnecessarily points out and (5) Concealed carry permit holders are not required to have law enforcement training because they are not law enforcement officers.

First, SGFS believe that if concealed carry were allowed on America’s campuses, there is no doubt that many students would feel uncomfortable about not knowing whether their professors and/or fellow students were carrying handguns and because campus is the place that has many discussion or debate so they afraid that the presence of handguns would inhibit this kind of dialogue by creating fear of possible retaliation (Louise Gerdes). But, SCCC claims that SGFS has ignored the fact that in the absence of metal detectors and X-ray machines at every campus entrance, students already have no way of knowing who is carrying a gun. Furthermore, in most states in the US, approximately 1% of the population is licensed to carry a concealed handgun (Louise Gerdes) so it is not true when SGFS said that the presence of handgun would affects our learning environment. I think SGFS is right at this point, the SCCC’s point is also not wrong but it is not real. For example, if college allows their students to carry handgun, and if some of their students have a license to carry it, how can you know that the guy that sit next to you has a gun or not and whether he is a hot-tempered guy or not. You cannot know kind of this information but it can affects your life really. So, do you want to risk your life with something you are not sure about? In addition, in one anonymous national survey, 94% of Americans answered “No” when asked, “Do you think regular citizens should be allowed to bring their guns [onto] college campuses?” (Louise Gerdes)

Second, SGFS has noted that in a 2007 report by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, there are four reasons why crime gun-related would be increase if guns were allowed on campuses: (1) the prevalence of drugs and alcohol; (2) the risk of suicide and mental health issues; (3) the likelihood of gun thefts and (4) an increased risk of accidental shootings (Louise Gerdes). In order to prove this, SGFS has showed us another report that comes from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University: “[N]early half of America’s 5.4 million full-time college students abuse drugs or drink alcohol on binges at least once a month.” In addition, they claimed that alcohol is involved in 95% of the violent crime on campus. For the risk-of-suicide-and-mental-health-issues reason, SGFS showed us one anonymous study about this, 24% of college students had thought about attempting suicide and about 5% had actually attempted to kill themselves. And if there is presence of guns, suicide attempts are successful more than 90% of the time, in the comparison, when the method used is drug overdose, such attempts are fatal only 3% of the time. About gun-theft reason, SGFS believe that college dorm rooms are typically small, with few places available to lock up or secure a handgun (Louise Gerdes). However, SCCC noted that SGFS forgot to mention the fact that after allowing concealed carry on campus for a combined total of one hundred semesters, none of the aforementioned US college that allow handguns have seen a single resulting incident of a student under the influence of drugs or alcohol using or brandishing a weapon on campus, a single resulting suicide, a single resulting gun theft, or a single resulting gun accident… and allowing concealed carry on college campuses would not change the rules about who can purchase a firearms or who can obtain a con concealed handgun license. It also would not change the rules at off-campus parties and bars, the places where individuals over the age of 21 are most likely to consume alcohol. Furthermore, to cast doubt on gun-theft reason, SCCC showed that at most colleges, on-campus housing is occupied primarily by freshman and sophomores, students typically too young to obtain a concealed handgun license (Louis Gerdes). In my opinion, I think SCCC has forgot that when someone really get drunk, they can control their behavior so it is very dangerous if they have gun along with them, because you will not know what they can and will do with this kind of dangerous and fatal thing. If there are some accidents that alcohol-related, who can SCCC blame it on?

The next result that SGFS showed us is shooters would not be deterred by concealed carry permit holders. SGFS said that homicides and shootings at American colleges and universities are rare events because of many reasons. They showed that there were 11920 total gun homicides but only 10 total murders on the nation’s college campuses in 2003. They also believe that there is no way shooters would have been deterred by the knowledge that their fellow students (or campus faculty) might be armed. They also gave some example to strengthen their opinion: on May 8, 2006, at Fairfax County Police Sully District Station in Virginia, Michael Kennedy, 18, fired more than 70 rounds and killed two officers before police were able to take him down. There is no proof that suicidal shooters would be deterred from attacks on college campuses by concealed carry permit holders. Handguns just make the situation become more and more serious because campuses are crowded always so handguns just try to create additional mayhem only. That’s really a good point, because students or faculty is not like trained soldiers who know clearly how to use weapons or handguns in the chaos in which everyone just run for their life, they just run and maybe cause difficulties for anyone who is aiming at the shooter. In this situation, students who has handguns maybe cannot target accurately and absolutely they can injure their fellow students. That’s really not a good thing because when our lawmakers allow our students carry handguns on campuses, they just want our students feel safe and secure (Louis Gerdes).

The next opinion that SGFS think it is very persuasive to prevent our lawmakers from pass the law to allow our students carry handguns on campuses: “Concealed carry permit holders are not always “Law-Abiding” citizens. They give an example that Alaska and Vermont are two states in the US do not require their residents to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, that’s also means individuals in these states can buy a handgun through an unregulated private sale without background check required then use it in public (Louise Gerdes). Besides that, SGFS’s essay also mentioned the main requirement to get a permit in 38 states that have a “shall-issue” policy for concealed carry permit is to pass a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) which just want to make sure whether the applicant is prohibited under federal law from owning and purchasing firearms (Louise Gerdes). But, NICS is also not foolproof. An anonymous study showed that the database of NICS is “deeply flawed” and missing millions of disqualifying records. For example, nine out of ten metal health records that would disqualify individuals from purchasing firearms are still not currently in the database and one-fourth of felony conviction records have also not been submitted to NICS by the states. SGFS’s essay also claimed that Seung-Hui Cho, who takes responsibility for massacre in Virginia Tech, also passed background checks in acquiring the firearms used in his attack even though before, he had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorders (Wikipedia.org). You can notice that NICS is not a trusty system that our states can depend on it to judge someone in order to give them a permit or not. If we give permissions to wrong guys like Seung-Hui Cho, I believe there will be more and more “Virginia Tech” in the future.

Finally, SGFS pointed out that concealed carry permit holders are not required to have law enforcement training. The fact is that 48 states in the US which allow their residents to carry handguns do not require them to have any formal law enforcement training. For example, in Virginia, which is famous for Virginia Tech massacre, a four-hour sit-down session in a classroom is sufficient to meet the state’s training requirement (Louise Gerdes). That’s not a training, that’s also not that someone who will carry handgun have to have and have to do before they get a permit. Just sit down and listen is not a good idea or good method that can help our residents in the real life. Even trained law enforcement officers rarely hit their targets when firing at other human beings, so how can a formal resident, who just sit down and hear some lectures about gun can do that? “When you factor in all of the other elements that are involved in shooting at an adversary, that’s a high hit rate. The adrenaline flow, the movement of the target, the movement of the shooter, the officer, the lighting conditions, the weather. I think it is a high rate when you consider all of the variables”, Ray Kelly, New York Police Commissioner said (Louise Gerdes).

In 2005, there were a total of 12352 gun-related homicides in the US. In the same year, the FBI reported only 143 justifiable homicides or self-defense involving firearm. “Guns are used to threaten and intimidate far more often than they are used in self-defense. Most self-reported self-defense gun uses may well be illegal and against the interests of society”, a 2000 study by Harvard School of Public Health (Louise Gerdes).

Nowadays, some Arizona Republican lawmakers have voiced to support SB 1467 that allow students who have concealed weapons permit to carry handguns on campuses throughout Arizona. If this bill is passed, Arizona will be a third state in the US after Utah and Texas to allow all students and professors on college campus to carry handguns. Harold Cranswick, an MCC economics teacher said: “If the state of Arizona proceeds with any of the currently proposed gun legislation. It is unrealistic to expect students to feel safe” (Mesa Legend 10). “It is time that the public stands up and says no more. That we want to be able to make sure our facilities are safe and allowing weapons in many of these facilities is not what the people of Arizona want,” said State Senator Steve Gallardo at a protest against the bill on March 29 at state Capitol. At the same protest, Zachary Smith, the regent’s professor of politics and international affairs from Northern Arizona University claimed: “It is just that in an environment like a college where thins can be hot and where there can be disagreements and there can be debates, it is just not the place where people might know there would be concealed fire-arms.” And Emily Connally, a graduate student from University of Arizona and a Students Against Guns in Education (SAGE) representative mentioned: “…Guns are four times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting than to be used to injure or kill in self-defense and only 1 percent of the time will a victim use a gun to protect themselves” (Mesa Legend 13). Mesa Legend also conducted an online survey with the question: “Would you feel safe if it were legal to carry a gun onto college campuses?” And there is the feedback; 65% clicked “No, it would lead to complete chaos or death”, only 20% chose “Yes, and I would carry”, 8% for “Yes, I would not carry but feel safe knowing others are, 4% for “I have mixed feelings about it” and 3% for “I do not really care” (Mesa Legend 13).

You can see that, there is really no need to carry handgun on college campuses because college is the place that all people come to expect to expand their knowledge and learn something new, it is not a place like battlefield like we come and worry whether our fellow students have a gun or not. It is not students’ job. However, that’s not mean you do not care about your students’ secure, hire more public safety in order to get enough man to control the whole campus is just one way. Try to find another solution like teach our students how to be safe in dangerous situation or build the friendly learning environment to avoid some hard-to-solve disagreements on campus maybe can helps us not to use handgun in daily’s conversation and relationship. The safest policy to limit potential violence is to prohibit students and faculty from keeping handguns on campus and allow trained law enforcement officers to provide for campus security (Louise Gerdes). College is where we “make grades not graves.”

Work Cited

“Concealed Weapons.” Gale Louis Gerdes in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale

Louis Gerdes In Context. Web. 29 Apr. 2011.

“College Campuses Are Safer Without Concealed Weapons.” Gun Violence. Ed. Louise Gerdes.

Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Louis Gerdes. Gale Louis Gerdes In Context. Web. 29 Apr. 2011.

“College Campuses Are Less Safe Without Concealed Weapons.” Gun Violence. Ed. Louise Gerdes. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2011. Louis Gerdes. Gale Louis Gerdes In Context. Web. 29 Apr. 2011.

“Virginia Tech massacre” Wikipedia encyclopedia web. 5 May 2011.

Legend’s One Poll. Mesa Legend 13 (2011): 3. Print.

Ben Garcia. “Ariz. lawmakers support concealed guns on campus.” Mesa Legend 10 (2011): 5. Print.

Ryan McCullough. “Second amendment makes its way to college campuses.” Mesa Legend 13 (2011): 16. Print.


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