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).”
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.
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.