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Guns and college students do not mix

Firearms pose a greater danger on campuses than other locations. | Infographic by Trevor Lunde/THE CHIMES

 

Although I consider myself a staunch proponent of second amendment rights, college campuses form a different type of beast.

A UNIQUE ENVIRONMENT

One popular solution to ending campus shootings suggests that more people on campus with guns will lead to a safer campus as more people would possess the capacity to take out an active shooter. However, while I advocate firearms used for home defense and with concealed carry licenses, the unique environment of college campuses causes the application of these defenses to become more difficult.

Biola’s gun policy states “it is a felony under 626.9 CPC to possess firearms on any campus property. Weapons of any kind are not permitted on any campus property. This includes, but is not limited to, firearms, airguns, blowguns, paintball guns, bows of any kind, tasers or stun guns, batons, clubs, folding knives with locking blades and fixed knives with blades longer than 2.5" (food preparation knives in work-related applications exempted).”

FIREARMS TRAINING

Niche ranks Biola as the second safest university in California and the 15th safest university in the nation. Still, in 2014, there were three cases, being two in the residence halls, of illegal weapon possession on campus that resulted in disciplinary action. There were also two non-campus cases of illegal weapons possession. Biola may be one of the safest universities, but it is not completely immune to crime and therefore must prepare for a possible emergency.

In case of an active shooter, campus safety conducts active shooter response training and armed officers receive firearms training at least four times a year. Campus safety also suggests what actions students should take in the case of an active shooter.

But more students on campus with guns creates more security risks than it solves.

Chief John Ojeisekhoba  of Campus Safety also does not advocate the position that more people on campuses should have guns. For in the event of an active shooter, if campus safety arrives to neutralize the attacker and see multiple people in the area with guns, this runs the risk of an officer shooting the wrong person by mistaking them as the assailant.

POSING PROBLEMS

Though I would advise safely storing a family gun in the place of dwelling for home defense, when the place of dwelling is a dorm room, this poses problems.

Dorm rooms may seem safe, but many students leave their doors open for a variety of reasons, potentially exposing the firearm to people with less-than-noble intentions. The gun owner would also most likely live with other people who would have access to the room and to the weapon.

Additionally, college campuses are notorious for excessive drinking, parties and drug use — none of which are conducive for proper use of firearms.

This is why students should not carry firearms on campus — even if the gun owner is licensed and responsible, college campuses too easily expose firearms to situations where they would be improperly used and in the case of an actual emergency, it may create problems for those actually trained to help. But properly trained campus safety officers with firearms, if large enough in number and properly placed can protect a school from attack.

It is incredibly important for colleges to be prepared as no one can predict when a tragedy will come, but if more students had firearms, more issues would be created than resolved.

 

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. Justin Murillo

    Can't disagree more with the position of Safety Officers and the author, but at least this topic is being discussed.

    If the problem is essentially boiled down to Safety Officers not being able to make proper threat assessments due to physical identifiers, then this can easily be solved. Have students who are trained concealed carry holders also carry designated vests on their person in event of an attack that labels them as friendlies. Additionally, I'm sure students would rather run the risk of being shot by Safety Officers than standing by helplessly, waiting for Officers, while they and their friends remain soft targets and are thereby easily taken out.

    Another means to mitigate against shooting students with concealed carry permits could be to have a GPS locater on students with a CCW activated in time of an attack that Officers have access to. This would be in addition to vests and would significantly reduce risks.

    If the problem is due to immaturity, then this could also be mitigated against by conducting a backgrounds evaluation on students by Campus Safety. Or have just don't allow students who live on campus to carry but those who live off campus, if accessibility to firearms is an issue.

    This problem is problem is only a problem when there is a lack of motivation or creativity to come up with viable solutions. November 13, 2015

  2. Ryan

    I agree with Justin, this topic always runs the risk of having emotions instead of facts winning the day. The truth of the matter is simply that people with CCW's (no student could get under the age 21, but faculty could have them) do not commit crimes with them. There has not been any campus shooting that I know of that was caused by someone licensed to own and carry that weapon on the campus. If someone goes through the trouble to get a CCW, I think every college campus at least should allow them to carry on school grounds.

    Like Justin said, I think any person willing to stop the threat with necessary force will be willing to risk taking friendly fire over just standing by hoping they are not next to be targeted by the criminal.

    Please don't say you are pro the 2nd amendment (but basically hope it doesn't go outside the home), if you are not willing to consider the facts that public CCWers make everywhere safer.

    Also please be careful when posing "problems". Dorm rooms are not a problem if one requires the student to have a proper safe and they are training in safety (any student I know trained with guns takes them very seriously). And any student or faculty with a CCW should simply have the option of joining the campus safety team as a sleeper who is trained to response to active shooter scenarios, and campus safety is trained with these people in mind (the CCWers).

    Please don't wait until an active shooter situation happens to realize then that both campus safety and the police are inadequate to respond before major damage is inflicted. More trained and armed people the better if you asked me. November 30, 2015

  3. Rachelle

    Could not disagree more. The more well-trained carriers we have, the safer everyone around them is. Besides - students at Biola aren't supposed to be drinking anyway. A well-trained, armed citizen is immediately able to defend themselves; a gun is a great equalizer, whether you're a 5'2 120 pound woman or a big guy. There is nothing worse than having no way to stop someone from shooting at someone else and the police or campus safety are still not there yet. There are no "safe spaces." It's the great big world out there, and it's absolutely foolish to imagine that someone who is bent on shooting people will avoid a gun-free zone. That's foolish. The best answer is to arm all citizens and require them to have training. Shooting is a perishable skill. Honestly 4 times a year is nothing. I would personally feel a LOT more safe if I knew there were a lot of people who were trained and armed walking around me on campus vs a gun-free zone. December 3, 2016

  4. https://gunsafely.com/

    Parents will inform their child using a gun, or weapon facilities. March 26, 2018

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