Bring Your Gun To Class Day: Colleges Are Considering It
COLLEGE IS OFTEN A STUDENT’S FIRST TIME AWAY FROM HOME, WHICH OFTEN MEANS THE FIRST TIME MOM AND DAD ARE NOT THERE TO KEEP TABS on them. That is one of the reasons administrators take precautions to assure student safety. Some schools hand out rape whistles, others have emergency call boxes placed around campus. Some campuses are now considering allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Carrying a concealed weapon is a big responsibility.
Before purchasing a gun students should consult the laws of the state where they are attending school, which may also depend on they attend a public or private university. Then, they will need certification to purchase and carry a concealed weapon.
According to a recent USA TODAY article, there are 14 states that have introduced bills that, if passed, would allow or loosen restrictions on student and faculty carrying concealed weapons on campuses. None of these bills have passed, and there are several states headed in the other direction — endeavoring to ban or tighten restrictions on concealed weapons.
State laws can often be overridden on private campuses.
“I know for Utah, [some] private institutions prohibit concealed carry on campus, but many state universities allow it,” said Brent Anderson who is currently applying to business school. “It’s really up to the CCW (Carrying Concealed Weapon) holder to know where you can and can’t carry.”
Becoming a legal CCW holder requires jumping through a number of hoops.
“In [certain states] you need to take a course, and it usually is about three-to-four hours,” said Anderson. “After the course you need to fill out the paperwork for a federal background check with the instructor’s signature. It takes about three-to-six months to receive your CCW.”
The precaution of CCW certification coupled with the background checks that stores often perform on potential gun buyers can be helpful in keeping guns out of the wrong hands. However, some students do not think it is enough.
“There is a class [for concealed carriers] that talks about safety and self defense,” said Kurt Hanson, who is a sophomore at Brigham Young University. “The training would be acceptable if they actually used guns and not just watched a video.”
Hanson expressed concern about whether this is sufficient to prepare someone for what they need to do in a situation where they actually might use the gun.
There are mixed feelings about even certified CCWs on campus. It is a controversial issue, especially in the light of the recent massacre that left 33 dead at Virginia Tech in 2007.
“When the problem presents itself, like someone on campus with a gun, or anything like that, most universities, faculty and students included, aren’t well prepared,” said Hanson. “A lot more training can go into the safety aspect of most campuses. More readiness and preparedness could be exhibited should the problem arise.”
Some people believe that to prevent tragedies like the one at Virginia Tech from occurring again, no guns should be allowed on college or university campuses. However, some students argue that CCWs would actually help the problem.
“I don’t feel allowing CCW holders to carry on universities would pose a greater risk because going through the process to get a CCW shows you are a law-abiding citizen and are willing to follow the rules,” said Anderson. “Those that bring a weapon and start shooting at people aren’t concerning themselves with getting the correct license.”
Student safety will always be a concern whether your college or university hands out rape whistles or allows students and faculty to carry guns.
“Sometimes I just wanted to feel safe,” said Stefani Severson who is a former resident of Modesto, Calif. “I’m a girl — it’s just life.”