Thursday, July 31, 2014

Concealed carry the solution?

Tragedies such as the Virginia Tech shooting have inspired new legislation concerning student gun rights

Remembrance — Six years after the deadly mass shooting, the country continues to quarrel over the answer to gun control. Photo credit: Creative Commons

There are certain moments in life where an event so monumental occurs that you know exactly where you were when it happened. For our generation, these were moments, such as Sept. 11, the death of Osama Bin Laden and now, sadly, the Boston bombing.

We passed over another one of those days April 16. That day marked six years since the shootings at Virginia Tech, where the perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, armed himself with two handguns and littered the campus with gunfire. By the end of the day, 32 people were killed with 23 others injured.

Since that day, the debate about whether guns should be allowed on college campuses has run rampant across the country. On March 22, Liberty revised its own handbook to allow students with concealed-carry permits to take guns into academic buildings.

Some students are convinced this is a better way of doing things on college campus, but I am not a part of that group. It certainly may be a step in the right direction, but I feel that a better solution is out there.

First, I must address my hesitation about students carrying guns. The fact is that just because someone simply has to go through a modest amount of testing does not mean that they will handle their newfound privilege responsibly. Millions of teenagers go through driver’s education each year, and do not many of them drive irresponsibly? And just as with cars, guns get stolen. More guns on campus may equate to more opportunities for theft.

It is also assumed that a carrying student would be able to make a difference in a campus-shooting situation. Yet, when you consider how hard it is for police officers who are trained for these situations to hit their target — a study by the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence found that police officers only hit their target 20 percent of the time — you have to admit that a carrying student has only a small chance of making an impact.

Say you are that student holding a gun when police arrive. We would love to imagine that, just like in the movies, you could simply make eye contact with the police and they would automatically know that you are one of the good guys. This simply is not the case. The time it takes for a group of policeman to apprehend you takes away valuable time from their original mission.

So, before the gun-lovers on campus start throwing bullet casings at me, allow me to offer a different path. I am a gun-lover, and I would bet that I hunt more than most anyone else on campus. I want more guns on campus. I simply want them in the hands of trained professionals.

My apologies to the average Joe who is convinced he could take down a psychotic murderer, but give me more police officers roaming DeMoss. It is a common sense solution. When you want to control speeders on the highway, you add a few extra patrol cars.

This is not a panacea, and sadly, crimes such as the shootings at Virginia Tech will inevitably happen again. Still, we owe it to ourselves to learn from history and try our best to prevent another day where we remember exactly where we were.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Andrew, thanks for writing this piece. Regardless of which end of the spectrum I land on I am appreciate that this conversation is taking place. There are good arguments for and, as you delivered, against the legislation allowing students to carry weapons on campus.

    I am for the legislation under certain circumstances. It is important that we not be too hasty in assuming “just anyone” will be able to carry. If the legislation is drafted to students with a clean background and minimal training to carry then I take issue with that. I was a military policeman in the Marines for two active terms, the later of which I served on a security detail for president’s Bush and Obama. I am trained and capable. Unfortunately, there are many who aren’t but we would be held to the same expectation of training which is probably not going to be very good. Merely having a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the State of Virginia (which is not hard to obtain) should not justify a student serving as a make-shift under cover cop. I would argue that given the capacity of an active-shooter scenario that any student authorized to carry on campus go through follow on training which they will receive post granting of the State permit.

    So, I hear ya. I do. I don’t think the remedy is additional cops nor do I think we should pass out CCW’s like candy. Train the students and train them well. That’s my solution. Also, your argument that cops may obtain the wrong individual. That’s an easy fix. The students around the scenario should know automatically to inform incoming police/security who the good guy and bad guy are. A simple description of clothing etc will solve that.

    When all is said and done there is NO fun answer. Both have there holes and both have potential dangers. Personally, when I start seminary in a few weeks I will be sure to have at least 3 firearms, a couple machetes and some grizzly bear level mace on me. Okay just kidding. Thanks again for your thoughts!

    Comment by John — July 28, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

  2. Howdy, I agree with some of what you are saying. Another solution could be a training program for those concealed carry holders who wish to carry on campus. I was a cop/ firefighter/ paramedic for over 20 years and when I had to, I hit what I amed at. Most of the officer involved shootings studied by Brady were officers who mostly did the minimum when it came to training, firearms and otherwise. I think a course designed to simulate the real world scenarios of campus shootings would be very beneficial to those who wish to carry. I know lots of police agencies are developing these for their own use and it would be great if they were shared with carrying students and teachers. I hope and pray we won’t have to endure any more of these tragedies but maybe if some deranged moron starts one, a good guy can stop it. Just my 2 cents..Ron

    Comment by Ron Stiles — August 9, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

  3. Why not just go all the way? REQUIRE every student at Liberty University to carry a gun. Turn the whole campus into one big Mexican Standoff. And remind me to avoid going anywhere near Lynchburg, Virginia, from now on.

    Comment by Chuck Anziulewicz — August 10, 2013 @ 11:00 am

  4. Lawmakers dropped the provision that would have allowed guns on college campuses, but as it stands Friday, the bill would decriminalize the act of bringing a gun onto university property.

    Comment by Best astrologer in india — February 21, 2014 @ 6:36 am

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