|Campus concealed carry|
|Written by The Vidette Editorial Board|
|Thursday, 28 February 2013 10:42|
Would owning a gun make you feel safer? How about being able to carry one on you at any time? What about having your professor come to class with a concealed gun as a measure of defense?
We can all name several mass shootings that have occurred in our country within our lifetime: Columbine, 1999; Virginia Tech, 2007; Northern Illinois University, 2008; Fort Hood, 2009; Aurora theater, 2012; Sikh temple, 2012; Sandy Hook, 2012. With each publicized shooting comes a cacophony of comments from gun supporters and anti-gun advocates.
While multiple mass shootings have occurred each year, in addition to the hundreds of gun-related deaths that happen every day, these last three shootings in 2012 have really shook the nation to its core. This has caused lawmakers to consider passing new legislation regarding the possession of firearms, some of which directly pertain to college campuses.
On Feb. 25, the Arkansas state Senate passed a bill allowing universities and colleges within the state to potentially allow faculty and staff members to carry concealed firearms. The bill passed in the House with a 70-11 vote and in the Senate with a vote of 31-4.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is expected to sign this bill into legislation, which would give each institution in Arkansas the power to decide if faculty and staff members will be allowed to carry concealed guns on campus. This will make Arkansas the 24th state to allow concealed carry on college campuses.
Likewise, Beebe signed the Church Protection Act in early February, which allows places of worship to decide whether concealed guns can be carried into religious buildings.
Additionally, on Feb. 22 Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr signed a bill into law that prohibits the public disclosure of gun owners’ names and zip codes. Darr had the authority to sign this bill into law while Beebe was out of state, although Beebe is openly against this bill.
These types of gun laws aren’t new, but the fact that more states are signing these bills into law shows how our society is progressing. More states and institutions are allowing the possession of guns in public places and increasing the security and privacy of those who are gun owners.
What if Illinois becomes one of the states with legislation allowing concealed carry on campus? Would you want ISU to allow it? More importantly, as students, would we feel safer knowing we are going into classrooms where our professor has a gun?
With the most recent lockdown after an emergency alert warned against a possibly armed man on campus, would it have been less frightening for students if, in addition to being in locked classrooms, the professor was armed?
Besides viewing concealed weapons as a defensive measure, we can’t forget that they are dangerous. Although faculty and staff members would have to go through a screening process and obtain a permit, there’s always the chance that the guns will be used for non-threatening situations. Who’s to say that a professor won’t fire a gun into a room full of students one day?
None of these questions have straightforward answers, but it is important to consider this issue and the possible consequences. Have we reached a point where we can’t go to class and feel safe without someone being armed and ready to protect us?