By MEGHAN HAAS
In light of the Feb. 20th series of shootings throughout the Kalamazoo area that came frighteningly close to Western Michigan University’s campus, some students wonder why they cannot carry concealed weapons on campus to defend themselves. Michigan currently has a ban on concealed weapons on campuses, while campuses across the nation are changing their legislation.
Since 1991, more than 90 shootings have occurred on or near a college or university campuses, causing over 120 deaths. With these alarming figures, four states have introduced legislation that will allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus. The main question state officials have to ask themselves is: Should guns be allowed on campus?
For the safety of students and faculty alike, guns should be allowed on campus.
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus says that introducing a bill allowing students to carry weapons would comprise the safety of other students, faculty members, and visitors to campus. Allowing concealed weapons on campus takes away the control of educators to make decisions about safety, the group says.
However, David Burnett, director of public relations of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, believes that students are unaware of a double standard: People can carry guns into malls, churches and restaurants for their own safety; why is a campus any different?
Jeff Wentworth, one state senator backing the campus-carry legislation in Texas says if a “deranged wacko” walks into a building and starts shooting, Wentworth believes the number of victims may be lessened by the presence of a law-abiding student with a concealed weapon.
Though every campus has its own stories of dangerous incidents on campus, WMU has been rocked by this recent community shooting that left four dead and two critically wounded. Along with this, WMU itself has seen multiple armed robberies on campus in the last year and a half.
Would WMU be safer if students carry concealed weapons? An emergency phone can only do so much when a student is walking alone in the dark through the wooded area back to his or her dorm.
Across the globe, other schools recently started arming teachers in hopes to make colleges safer. In Charsadda, Pakistan, at the Bacha Khan University, faculty and students alike are allowed to carry guns to increase safety, which payed off Jan. 20th.
When armed Taliban fighters attacked the school, an assistant chemistry professor and a student held off the Taliban gunfire, giving their lives to protect students. Over 20 people were killed in the incident that could have become a massacre, as with the attack on a school in northern Pakistan that left close to 150 people dead.
After losing six community members in Kalamazoo, the community was shaken. Armed gunmen situations occur everywhere, especially in schools where students, for the most part, are still unarmed. Students and faculty should be allowed to carry guns to keep themselves and others safe.