New efforts to curtail the problem of sexual assault on college campuses across the country involve legislation allowing female students to carry firearms for protection.
According to The New York Times, 41 states have banned concealed firearms on campuses, and most universities ban openly carrying firearms. Politicians in 10 states want to change these rules to help curb sexual assault.
In Nevada, state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore voiced her support for new legislation allowing guns on school grounds.
“If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”
Fiore later had to defend her comments after critics complained about how she described the situation.
Other states considering similar legislation include Florida, Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Wyoming and Tennessee.
While supporters believe having a firearm will allow for greater protection and lead to fewer assaults, opponents note college campuses are filled with young adults, whose lifestyles and binge drinking would clash if there were guns involved.
John D. Foubert, an Oklahoma State University professor and an education specialist in sexual assault programs, believes lawmakers do not understand the psychology of sexual assaults; for example, woman are usually attacked by someone they know, so they may not be willing to hurt their attacker.
Foubert explains, “If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun. Maybe if it’s someone who raped you before and is coming back, it theoretically could help them feel more secure.”
Proponents of the law point to Amanda Collins, a former student at the University of Nevada, Reno who was raped on campus in 2007. She said in a statement to the court that had she been able to carry a firearm with her at all times, she could have stopped her attacker.
Nevada is expected to pass the new legislation, as the state Senate and Assembly are controlled by Republicans who support the measure. The Republican governor is also likely to sign the bill.