By JARRITT ORLANDO
Concern over safety on college campuses has led to debate about whether or not guns should be allowed on college campuses.
Safety for students and faculty should be the No. 1 priority at every college but allowing concealed guns on campuses in Michigan, where they are currently banned, won’t necessarily improve the level of safety.
If a shooter is on the campus, a possible victim isn’t going to have much time to pull out their concealed weapon, load it, aim and fire. Having a shoot out with a killer wouldn’t be my first response when getting shot at; I would be looking for a safe place to hide.
This approach leads me to think about how to improve campus safety. Colleges need to find a way to better protect students and faculty in times where a shooting may be taking place instead of resorting to allowing them to carry weapons. Carrying a gun makes safety an individual’s responsibility instead of a campus-wide responsibility.
WMU and other Michigan universities and colleges should look to improve safety with some specific steps. First, install an alert system that allows classroom, dorms and offices to be automatically locked to reduce exposure to an active shooter. Another solution could be to train professors on gun safety and how to use a gun. While some faculty may not prefer this option, my thinking is that if guns are going to be allowed on campuses, ensure that grown adults be in charge of the safety and protection of students instead of 18- to 23-year olds.
There’s no denying gun violence is a problem in America today and everyone needs to be protected, not just a select number of states. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on campus.
Improving safety in other ways on campuses and allowing guns to be in the hands of university personnel who are trained in firearm safety satisfies both sides of the argument.