America is an extremely sensitive country when it comes to guns. It is a topic that gets brought up constantly, whether it be due to lawmaking, an election cycle or news of a gun-related crime. With all of the sensitivity and differing opinions on how to approach the topic of guns, there is one overarching opinion that Americans share: We need to lower the rate of gun violence in our country.
Of course, as we do regarding most topics, Americans also have polarizing opinions on how to accomplish this goal. Some want to require more extensive background checks to make it harder for people to get guns in the first place. Others believe we should be encouraging the use of guns for protection. But, out of all the ways that have been suggested and passed over, very few have actually been implemented and the ones that have are not logically sound.
A recent video posted by The Atlantic discusses one of these supposed solutions to gun violence. The video, entitled “The Armed Campus,” tells the story of colleges and universities that are now allowing “concealed campus carry,” a term for allowing students to carry concealed firearms on campus. This ruling began at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year at the University of Texas at Austin, a university that had been one of the first to experience a mass shooting 50 years earlier. The video goes on to discuss the differing opinions that have accompanied this decision, allowing the viewer to hear both from the advocates and opposition.
While some view this law as a way to make their campuses safer, many others feel more unsafe due to the presence of firearms on campus. With so many differing views on this topic, and some saying they feel the law has had an opposite effect from what was intended, the question remains: Why should firearms be allowed on college campuses? The answer, in short, is they should not be.
One of the major arguments for concealed campus carry is the idea that they can provide self defense, especially for women in sexual assault situations. While the idea that a person could potentially protect themselves with a gun in the face of danger is a valid argument, there is a clear flaw in the logic. What if the perpetrator was the one with the weapon? While it would be nice to assume that any person planning to use a gun in an assault would not be granted a gun in the first place, it is unrealistic to think that this will always be the case. A gun in the wrong hands could clearly make the situation an even more dangerous one.
While some students may feel more secure with more guns on campus, a majority of students are frightened and feel uncomfortable by the prospect of not knowing whether or not someone is carrying a weapon. One student at UT at Austin, Ana Lopez, said, “Universities are meant to be somewhere where you can feel free to express your opinion and argue with someone. I feel like I can't speak my mind as much in the presence of guns”.
Having concealed firearms anywhere, especially on college campuses, can also lead to confusion if they are ever displayed in public situations. Having them under normal circumstances in public can cause a disturbance and force the police to be called. However, in a situation where there is both a so-called “bad guy” and “good guy” with a gun, the situations can become much more confusing. For example, if people never saw a shooter, but only multiple people with guns, how would they know which person is the perpetrator and which is trying to help? This could lead to miscommunication along with possible accidental shootings, which could be easily prevented if guns were not allowed at universities.
While the notion of guns on college campuses is meant to improve safety and security, in the few schools where these laws have been enacted they have had an opposite effect. Giving guns to college students in the hopes of providing more “good-guys-with-guns” will not fix this nation’s gun violence problem. The answer to gun violence is not more guns, it is to ensure that the guns we have are in the hands of people qualified to handle them.
Emma Hungaski is an opinion contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.