America’s colleges and universities are under attack from the gun lobby. Following mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 (32 students and faculty killed and 15 wounded) and Northern Illinois University in 2008 (6 students killed and 16 wounded), the gun lobby is pushing legislation in several states that would prohibit colleges and universities from maintaining gun-free campuses. The proposed legislation would allow conceal carry license holders, including students, to keep guns in their student dormitory rooms, and carry concealed handguns on campus – in classrooms, at sporting events, and other school activities.
The gun lobby argues that if students were allowed to carry concealed handguns, they could prevent mass shootings such as occurred at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.
Could armed students have prevented the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University tragedies? Maybe yes. And maybe no. No one really knows. But the overwhelming majority of college administrators and campus law enforcement officers, who are the ones actually responsible for the safety of students, faculty, and staff, agree that campus safety should be left to trained security professionals; not armed students.
In addition, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and more than 90 colleges and universities from 23 states have signed a resolution by the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus that they are opposed to legislation that would mandate that educational institutions allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus. View list at http://tinyurl.com/r3vbdn.
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Opinions aside, the gun lobby’s plan is totally impractical. For example, will every class have a designated shooter? What about classes where no conceal carry license holder signs up? What about freshman and sophomore classes where students are generally not old enough (21 in most states) to obtain a permit to carry? In short, the gun lobby’s legislation doesn’t pass the “laugh test.”
Nonetheless, legislation to allow guns on college campuses has been introduced in at least 12 states so far in 2009. So how does this legislation get legs in so many states?
The answer is that this legislation is not about safety. The gun lobby is not interested in the safety of students, faculty, and staff. They are only interested in being able to carry concealed handguns in public places where they are currently prohibited from carrying in many states – schools, churches, hospitals, government buildings, courthouses, bars, and public parks.
They are using the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University as cover for their real agenda which is to push guns into every nock and cranny of society.
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One can only hope that lawmakers are intelligent enough to see through their scheme.
The gun lobby is not concerned with safety. They are only concerned with their guns – a consumer product that is responsible for 30,000 deaths a year and another 90,000 non-fatal injuries.
The answer to gun violence is not more guns.
Read an Opposing View from Students for Concealed Carry, Gun Rights Don't Stop on College Campuses
Read the Opposing Views debate, Would Allowing Students to Carry Weapons Make College Campuses Safer?