Allowing Guns on College Campuses

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Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

On April 16, 2007, Seung Hui Cho shot 32 people on Virginia Tech’s campus, later shooting himself. Twenty-three-year-old Seung Hui Cho was a Senior attending Virginia Tech when he decided to commit one of the biggest mass shootings of all time. Many people feel this event could have been prevented if concealed carry was allowed on the campus at that time.

This horrifying event sparked much debate over whether or not guns should be allowed on college campuses. Guns should be allowed on college campuses because guns on college campuses make students feel safer, guns on college campuses discourage mass shootings, and guns on college campuses can save lives.

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One reason that students should be allowed to have guns on college campuses is that having a gun on campus makes them feel safer. Those with guns know that they can help others and themselves in a case of emergency, and those without guns but who know someone with a gun can help them in the case of an emergency. With more people armed, there will be more people to help. Allowing guns can help college students to have a clearer mind. If they know that they are safe and that if anything happened they would be protected, then they will be able to focus more on their school work.

“ULTIUS: pros and cons of guns on campus,” says, “The National Opinion Research Center reported in 2001, 59% of gun carriers arm themselves because it makes them feel safer.”

This proves that most people feel safer with guns than without guns. Approximately 6 out of every 10 people feel safer being able to carry a gun on campus. If guns make students feel safer, then it would be in the best interest of colleges to want to allow them. If most people felt safer with guns, then more people would want to go to the colleges that allow guns. If a college allows guns, they will get more students and therefore grow as a college.

The article, “Students Weigh In On Proposal To Allow Guns On Campus” says, “‘There’s no evidence of facts to show that concealed weapons permits holders are dangerous in any way,’ Sabatini said. ‘In fact, they make places safer just by being there because a responsible law-abiding citizen proficient in the use of firearms makes a place safer.’”

Anthony Sabatini is a lawmaker, aiming towards allowing guns on college campuses. This illustrates that if citizens are following the law and using the guns as they should be used, then there should be no problem. Citizens who use guns inappropriately do not just use them inappropriately on campuses, they will use them in harmful and bad ways everywhere else, too. When this happens, it becomes a problem with the government and the criteria that must be met to obtain a permit to carry a firearm. If guns are not being used appropriately, then stricter criteria should be considered in obtaining a permit. An example of new criteria for the government to consider would be raising the age at which citizens can legally obtain a concealed carry permit. Usually, the older you get, the more responsible and mature you are. By raising the age, we allow more responsible citizens to carry guns., “Should Adults Have the Right to Carry Concealed Handgun?” also says, “ In Florida, the percentage of concealed handgun permit holders who are female rose from 15% in 2004 to 23% in 2014.”

This proves that people feel safer with guns because if people didn’t feel safe with guns, there would not be an increase in the number of people carrying guns around. Those who feel safe with guns will arm themselves with guns. If more people feel safer with guns, then there will be an increase in the number of people who have guns.

Another reason that we should have guns on college campuses is that guns on college campuses discourage mass shootings. This would seem logical because if there are more guns on college campuses then those with guns would more easily be able to stop the mass shooter. If mass shooters know this, then they will not want to risk their liberty to only cause harm to a few people and then surrender their liberty. They will not want to be convicted and possibly sentenced to death if they are not meeting their goal., “Should Adults Have the Right to Carry a Concealed Handgun?” says, “States that implemented 'shall-issue concealed carry laws reduced murders by 8.5%, rapes by 5%, aggravated assaults by 7%, and robbery by 3%, according to a 2000 analysis of FBI crime data”

This proves that in allowing concealed carry murder and crime rates do go down. The more we accept the reality that guns are in our lives, the better off we will be for it. If we realize that guns help to stop crimes and death, then we should, instead of being scared, implement them into our daily lives.

According to John R. Lott Jr., Ph.D., 'When states passed concealed carry laws during the 19 years we studied (1977 to 1995), the number of multiple-victim public shootings declined by 84%. Deaths from these shootings plummeted on average by 90%, injuries by 82%.'

This shows that we can prevent deaths by allowing concealed carry. If only 10% of shootings happened, and 16% of mass shootings happened, we could save a lot of lives. The way to accomplish this, as John R. Lott Jr. illustrated is to allow concealed carry or in other words to allow guns on public places, such as college campuses.

Students should also be able to carry guns on college campuses because it can keep them better protected. Mass shooters do not follow the law. Even if you have a ‘no gun zone’ the shooters do not abide by that rule. Shooters will take guns on campuses no matter what the regulations are. It is our job to make sure that we stay protected. The only way to protect ourselves from the reality of guns is to accept guns and carry a gun ourselves.

We should be able to carry guns on college campuses because guns on campuses can save lives. With guns on campuses, the criminal, after seeing the gun will be more likely to leave and run away if they know that the victim is armed.

A recent study showed that “55.5% of criminals retreated after the victim produced a handgun.” says, “ULTIUS: pros and cons of guns on campus.”

This shows that in allowing guns, we have put ourselves in a position where if criminals see the gun(s) they will retreat because they know that a responsible citizen who carries a gun will know when it is appropriate to use the gun for their own safety. This could pose a serious threat to the criminal if the victim can harm them and make them unable to run away from law enforcement. Now, instead of accomplishing the crime that they wanted to commit, they have gotten themselves hurt and unable to get away from the possible threat of life in jail, being fined, the death penalty, and other punishments for crimes committed.

If they know that the victim can harm them and stop them in what they are trying to do, then they will leave to protect themselves. In doing this allowing guns on campuses can prevent further damage from occurring in the case of a crime.

Currently, 12 states allow concealed carry on college campuses. Also, 22 states allow colleges to choose whether or not to allow guns to be allowed. The 16 other states prohibit guns on college campuses.

This shows that in an attempt to stop the mass shootings, states decided to allow people to carry guns on college campuses because it can protect them. If states did not think that allowing guns on college campuses would save lives, they would not allow them. Since states know that they can save lives, they allow them on college campuses.

We should also have the right to carry a gun around because the second amendment in our Bill of Rights guarantees us this privilege. The second amendment in the bill of rights says, “...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This means that we as citizens have the right to carry guns for their protection. We should be able to carry guns in all public places where anyone can go at any time. A University or College is an example of a public setting. Visitors may enter as desired and if students cannot protect themselves from the possible threat.

If this right is taken away, we have violated the constitution that we so boldly wrote for the protection of the people. We the people have the right to protect ourselves. Without this right, we are not free. We cannot protect our life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness if we are at constant risk of being killed by a murderer.

Even though people argue that more guns mean more problems, this is wrong. More guns do not mean more problems. “Rep. Louie Gohmert said that ‘every time … conceal-carry [gun laws] have been allowed the crime rate has gone down.’” This quote is from Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts.

This shows that guns do stop crimes. Many people see guns as items that cause more problems than they help. But, this is not true. When guns are present crimes are less likely to happen.

“Federal data also show violent crimes committed with guns — including murders, aggravated assaults, and robberies — have declined for three straight years,” says Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts.

This helps to show that in introducing guns over the past 3 years, crime rates have gone down. Many people are mistaken and think that guns cause these problems. But, they are incorrect because we have evidence to prove otherwise.

Many people may say that those who carry guns are irresponsible and will make bad decisions. This is one of the main reasons why they do not support concealed carry on college/university campuses., “Should Adults Have the Right to Carry Concealed Handgun?” also says, “ In Texas, the general public is 5.3 times more likely to be arrested for violent offenses and 14 times more likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses than concealed carry weapon permit holders.”

This shows that those who wish to bear arms will protect their right and take this duty seriously. This also shows that those who have a gun permit and choose to carry guns with them tend to be more responsible. We should trust that those who are allowed to carry guns around will make the right decisions.

With this in mind, we can’t help but accept the fact that gun use is not harming the citizens in any way, rather it is helping crime and murder rates go down, helping to stop mass shootings, and helping those who are in public places where guns are present to feel safer than public places without guns.

It can be agreed that if no one ever carried guns around, it would be safer not to introduce guns. Since modern technology has evolved, we can’t help but make guns a living reality. We may try to stop gun violence by getting rid of guns, but guns are never going to go completely away. Those who wish to harm will harm. We as citizens must accept that the only way to keep ourselves safe is to allow guns. Once we accept the reality of this matter, we realize that we too must do whatever we have to do to protect ourselves, even if we must sacrifice a peace that would only be possible without the existence of firearms.

As you can see, with all of these benefits you might say to you rethink why is there debate on this topic if it is clear that there is so much reasoning for guns being allowed on college campuses. Well, there are people out there who feel that guns should not be allowed on college campuses because they feel they are unsafe. People in favor of no guns on college campuses feel that more guns mean more problems. They feel that having guns present in the case of an emergency only worsens the situation. They feel that people who have guns do not know how to appropriately use them, and so they could hurt more people than they help.

Even though people say these things, we have proved them all wrong. If guns are ‘unsafe’ then why do the crime rates go down when guns are present? If guns only worsen the situation, then why do 55.5% of criminals retreat after the victim produced a gun.

As you can see, guns on college campuses keep us safe from the many crimes that criminals seek to commit every day.

These are many of the reasons why guns should be allowed on college campuses. Three of the main reasons why we should allow guns on college campuses are guns on college campuses make students feel safer, guns on college campuses discourage mass shootings, and guns on college campuses can save lives. If allowed the chance to make these 3 things possible, we need to do all that we can to make sure that fewer deaths and crimes are caused. The only way to do this is to enable guns on college campuses. In conclusion, the only way to stop violent crimes on college campuses is to allow students, teachers, and staff to be able to carry concealed weapons on campus.   

Works cited

  1. Hemmenway, D., & Hemenway, M. A. (2011). The public health approach to reducing firearms violence. Journal of Public Health Policy, 32(2), 216-225.
  2. Kleck, G., & Gertz, M. (1995). Armed resistance to crime: The prevalence and nature of self-defense with a gun. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 86(1), 150-187.
  3. Kwon, I. K. (2013). The debate over guns on college campuses. Journal of American College Health, 61(7), 404-408.
  4. Lott Jr., J. R. (2000). Multiple victim public shootings, bombings, and right-to-carry concealed handgun laws: Contrasting private and public law enforcement. Journal of Legal Studies, 29(1), 1-35.
  5. Malhotra, N., & Krosnick, J. A. (2007). The effect of survey mode and sampling on inferences about political attitudes and behavior: Comparing the 2000 and 2004 ANES to Internet surveys with nonprobability samples. Political Analysis, 15(3), 286-323.
  6. McFarlane, J., & Schwing, S. (2015). The tragedy at Virginia Tech: Lessons learned. Journal of Trauma Nursing, 22(3), 153-158.
  7. Morral, A. R., Gore, K. L., & Schell, T. L. (2007). Do guns in the home provide self-defense? American Journal of Public Health, 97(10), 1755-1759.
  8. (2019). Guns on campus.
  9. Wilson, R. J., Staudt, K. M., & Gaffney, M. J. (2015). Campus carry laws and university governance: Exploring policy challenges and opportunities for public universities in the United States. Journal of Policy Practice, 14(4), 318-334.
  10. Winkler, A. (2012). Gunfight: The battle over the right to bear arms in America. WW Norton & Company.

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