CP Editorial: Is a gun-free zone truly a safe zone?

The debate over whether to allow weapons on college campuses has reared its head again. In an article published in The New York Times on Feb. 19, 2015, the author argues that allowing college students to carry concealed weapons will reduce sexual assault cases.

Opponents to the proposal of campus concealed carry argue that sexual assault cases are often due to drug and alcohol related activity and that a weapon would only make these situations more dangerous. This argument may be true, but there are still safety concerns present on college campuses that need to be answered. College students need to be able to protect themselves in any situation of assault—not just sexual assault.

In a Washington Post article, “You think your drunk college-age daughters are bad with their iPhones? Imagine them with guns,” Anne Skomorowsky suggests that college students are not responsible enough to carry guns, especially because many college students occasionally abuse alcohol. Skomorowsky uses the example of her daughter’s irresponsible habit of losing her iPhone, something she has done at multiple college parties, to drive her point.

“One might argue that sensible people know the difference between weapons and phones and would treat weapons more carefully,” Skomorowsky states,. “But the teenage brain — especially one after tequila shots — isn’t sensible.”

She goes on to mention a study by The National Institute of Mental Health that states that the teenage brain is “still under construction.” However, most college students are no longer teenagers.

In Missouri, residents must be 21 to be issued a concealed carry permit. According to the Missouri Carry website, “Missouri law requires that an applicant must demonstrate knowledge of firearms safety training.”

The required safety course covers handgun safety; demonstration of safe loading and unloading of a firearm; basic principles of marksmanship; safe home storage of firearms; state requirements and laws for use of concealed carry permit and firearms.

The applicant must complete a “live fire test” with a qualified firearms safety instructor present. The test includes using a revolver or semiautomatic pistol to fire 20 rounds, at a target 7 yards away. Students willing to complete this training in order to be issued a concealed carry permit, should have the safety skills and competency to handle a gun on a college campus. This is not a case of an inexperienced, clueless teenager brandishing a weapon.

Criminals are not going to follow the law – this is why they are criminals. Not allowing law-abiding citizens to carry guns prevents them from having the ability to protect themselves. College students who have a concealed carry permit should be allowed to exercise this right on a college campus.

In March 2013, PoliceOne performed a survey of gun policy and law enforcement that polled approximately 15,000 “verified law enforcement professionals.” The survey asked participants to respond to questions relating to gun control. More than 91 percent of participants favored allowing civilians, who “have not been convicted of felony and/or not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable,” to conceal and carry. When participants were asked about the level of impact a legally armed citizen would have made in tragedies such the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, 80 percent responded that “casualties would likely have been reduced.”

At MU, law enforcement would not comment on the issue of concealed carry on campus. MU Police Captain Brian Weimer said he would not comment on topics of pending legislation, and stated: “we will enforce any laws put forward.”

Aubrey Jameson

About the Author Aubrey Jameson

The lifestyle of a gypsy has been planted in my blood, and my past experiences of moving have taught me to be flexible with new places. Therefore, the place I call home is a hard subject to explain. Nebraska is where I was born and raised until the age of 12. My family and I lived in multiple locations in Nebraska before moving to Colorado in 2004. Colorado was my home until I graduated high school. My parents are originally from northwest Missouri; so, if I had to pick a place that most feels like home, it would be our family farm just north of Kansas City. My dad is now running his cow-calf operation off of this farm, and our home address is Smithville, Mo. Moving from place-to-place has developed my strongest passions of travel and experiencing new culture. My goal is to work as a social media strategist, using content marketing through social media platforms. I am excited to see what the future holds for the new path I have chosen.