As of Aug. 1, of this year, open carry laws have been extended to all state four-year colleges and universities, and will be introduced on the same date next year to all state two-year and junior colleges.
This does not come with such a shock as it might have when the proposal of the bill was originally sent to the House in 2009. However, since that time there has been numerous school shootings across the country. With the fear of an active shooter trend crossing into multiple schools, be it universities, high schools or even elementary and intermediate schools, state senates are toying with the idea of college students being able to protect themselves.
There are various reasons why college students shouldn’t be able to carry their own firearms on campus. One of the few reasons that this is a problem is that it is fighting fire with fire. Allowing students to carry guns in order to repel an active shooter is something that comes with many risks of its own that cannot be overlooked.
College can be a very stressful environment. While this obviously does not mean that every college student who is put under pressure will use their gun, it is a possibility they will use their gun on professors and classmates. It takes very few incidents to show why this is an issue. An example of this hypothetical situation coming to life was in 2002 when Robert Stewart Flores Jr., a nursing student at the University of Arizona believed to be in a downward spiral of depression after he began failing classes. Flores then entered the college and shot three professors multiple times each. He had his concealed carry permit.
Another point I wish to argue is that in the event of an active shooter, more guns on the campus that aren’t under the control of police or security forces. The excess of guns can cause more harm than good. Putting more guns in the hands of the “good guys,” or students in this case, sounds like a great counter to repel “bad guys” with guns.
However, past events have shown this to not be the case after all. As stated in the article The Numbers on Arming College Students Show Risks Outweigh Benefits, by authors Evan Defilippis and Devin Hughes, “An FBI report detailing 160 active shooting incidents from 2000-2013 found that only one incident was stopped by a concealed carry permit holder, and he happened to be a Marine. (Four others were stopped by armed guards, and two more by off-duty police officers.) By comparison, 21 active shooters were stopped by unarmed citizens — good guys without guns. In several cases, a good guy with a gun has attempted to intervene and either been killed, injured, or nearly shot the wrong person.” Statistics never lie, and what they say in the article is that putting guns in the hands of students in order to prevent an active shooting is not just ineffective, but also harmful.
If this was not enough, a study was performed to show the outcome of an active shooting. There were a total of 77 participants and each were of a varied skill level. Every participant went through three different self-defense scenarios. In the first two scenarios, many of the 77 participants were shown to put themselves in danger and ended up being killed as a result. In the first scenario, seven of the participants were accidentally killed a bystander. In the third scenario, 23 percent of the participants fired on the suspect, regardless of the threat level.
There isn’t much stopping the student in question from acquiring a gun illegally and harming people. But since he did go through proper processes, it shows that perhaps the current standard is not suitable for all gun owners, especially those who attend universities. The second reason implies that a concealed carry permit can make someone believe they should step up and be the hero, while in fact it is only putting them in more danger and does not contribute to ending the active shooting in a positive manner.
In conclusion, the cons to allowing guns on campus in the hands of students and the statistics to support them are outweighing the pro-myth that “good guys” with guns are able to oppose the “bad guys” with guns.