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The case for campus carry

Sarah Howard

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Everyone knows the saying “you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight.” I propose a more relevant and updated version: “Don’t be unarmed in case of an active shooter.” The same principle applies: ensuring the importance of being able to defend yourself adequately and appropriately for whatever situation.

This Monday, a “Town Hall” event on campus was held to discuss the current campus carry bill proposed by State Representative Mack Butler. This bill would eliminate complete gun bans on campus but still allow reasonable guidelines, such as barring weapons from the stadium on game days. I attended the event on Monday evening and heard some unsettling sources of opposition, which I’m here to refute.

Right off the bat, an opponent of the bill mentioned the confusion a law enforcement officer might encounter if both an antagonistic shooter and a defensive one are present when cops arrive. The average time for a police officer to get on the scene following a 911 call is 11 minutes, with more rapid responses clocking in at nine minutes. These mere minutes are plenty of time for an active shooter to terrorize an entire unarmed classroom, but it only takes seconds for an armed student or faculty member to respond themselves, eliminating the confusion for a first responder.

A proposed solution to eliminate the crucial minutes before law enforcement arrives is to increase the presence of armed UAPD officers on campus, but the decision to select which places on campus are protected would be a difficult and expensive one. This option still leaves the possibility of unprotected sections of campus, offering the opportunity for an incident to occur because a criminal could simply avoid the distinct places a cop is present. An element of mystery toward armed versus defenseless locations would be a larger deterrent for someone who wants to commit a mass shooting. They would never know if they would be met with immediate resistance.

Those trying mightily to keep all guns away from campus often bring up the topic of mental illness and use it as a way to estimate an increase in shootings under the assumption someone who needs help might use a defensive shooter for a method of suicide. The argument behind this, and many like it, acts as if a public university was any different of a setting than a grocery store or a Starbucks. Licensed residents of the state can already carry concealed weapons in these areas, but the incidents predicted by campus carry opponents are not seen at these locations.

Lastly, some might say that those type of public places are indeed different than a college classroom, citing rampant alcohol use on campuses as well as the emotional responses that might occur due to break-ups or bad grades. Now, anyone of any age that is carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence is breaking the law, but other than at fraternities, most parties occur off-campus where concealed carry permits are honored. Also, if these apparently traumatic incidences caused violent reactions, I would have seen quite a few of my professors with a black eye by now.

Let’s stop getting uncomfortable about a bill you won’t even notice the impact of because concealed carry is just that: concealed. And I can guarantee if you see a classmate unholster their Ruger to save your life, you will be glad to have let this bill pass. 

Sarah Howard is a sophomore majoring in chemistry. Her column runs biweekly.

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The case for campus carry