By ZACKERY BEDARD
Students and faculty on college campuses in Michigan are not allowed to carry concealed weapons. However there are nine states, most recently Texas, which have passed laws allowing concealed carry on campus. Michigan should be the next state to allow this safety measure for its residents.
There are three higher education institutions in Kalamazoo, including Western Michigan University, that were affected by the location of the Kalamazoo shooting that occurred on February 20th. Many students were concerned for their safety due the lack of notification that there was an active shooter in the area. No one, not even law enforcement, knew the direction the shooter might be heading next during his three-stop rampage. He very well could have drove through a campus. The concern for an active shooter could be lowered if campuses allowed concealed carry and people are aware that there is protection in case of another incident.
This would not mean anybody could carry on campus, however. Michigan law still requires citizens to get a license and be over 21 years of age and receive training. A large portion of students of campuses could not carry. However it also means older, more experienced people with pistols would be carrying on campus. This could include faculty members, which would ensure student safety if they are not yet allowed to carry themselves.
One of the main arguments against concealed carry is that “Public safety should be left to professionally qualified police officers, not private citizens with little or no expert training,” according to Procon.org
Michigan citizens with a CCL must “have knowledge and training in the safe use and handling of a pistol by successfully completing an appropriate pistol safety training course or class.”
The police and public safety that are qualified to carry have other duties as well. They may not be able to respond as fast as they would like to in the case of an active shooter. Individuals who complete the course and become certified should not be restricted to carry on campus.
In Kalamazoo Viper Security Enforcement offers classes for individuals to take. “The class is educational, as well as very informative covering defensive shooting techniques, preparation of surviving a defensive encounter, Michigan concealed pistol laws, and selecting a firearm for self-defense.”
Students should be able to rely on someone that has taken these courses and are certified to protect them in certain cases prior to police arriving to the scene.
One of the most important places on campus to carry would be in the classrooms. This is not allowed at any university in Michigan, and only one lone university in the state allows guns on campus at all.
There is one exception, however. In June 2009, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees voted to allow the carrying of concealed firearms on university property, but guns still are prohibited inside of buildings and dormitories.
The people who are most likely to be in that situation to protect students on campus would be professors. The students sitting in the classroom, taking notes, checking social media, or maybe catching up on some sleep they may have missed out on the night before. Those students’ reaction times to any event may be delayed.
Professors and instructors have the best view of the classroom and the doors where a shooter could come crashing through and could have the best opportunity to take the shooter down if needed. It makes sense that if anyone is to be carrying a concealed pistol in a classroom, it would be the leader of that classroom.