By Sebastian Moronta Blanco, Staff Writer
I’m sure most of you read the e-mails we received last week concerning an incident that occurred in the Cedar Dell area of campus. According to the e-mails put out by the campus Department of Public Safety, evidence collected and reported suggests that shots were fired at a vehicle sometime in the early morning.
Reports of shots fired or people with arms on a college campus are not foreign concepts, but rather some that have grown more and more familiar in recent years. For one reason or another, firearms are showing up on college campuses more frequently, as the constant reports of lockdowns at nearby schools in the region and the data collected on incidents across the country suggest.
In 2015, there were 52 incidents involving the discharge of a firearm on school grounds, 23 of which were on college campuses from January to October. Those numbers, according to TIME Magazine, were reported by “Everytown For Gun Safety,” a group that advocates for gun reform.
The group has been tracking incidents of shootings on school grounds since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012, and has reported over 150 incidents as of last year.
The continuing prevalence of firearms appearing on campuses has fed an ongoing conversation on gun reform in the United States, a central issue for not only this election but elections prior as well. Gun reform was one of the few highly debated topics in the most recent presidential debate, both candidates arguing their different approaches to the issue.
While the larger national conversation on gun reform has taken influence from several serious incidents and tragedies across the country, the incidents that involve school grounds have fueled a specific conversation on the presence of firearms on college campuses.
It is largely commonplace for college campuses to ban the use or ownership of a firearm on a college campus, but some groups have emerged in opposition of this policy. “Students for Concealed Carry” is a student-run, national organization that advocates for legal concealed carry permits on college campuses, to name an example.
The group justifies their beliefs by making the claim that concealed carry campuses allow firearms to be an effective means of self-defense, and that the second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms in most other regions of a state and thus it is an infringement on their rights to be denied the ability to carry on school grounds.
This group and others have cited firearms as an effective means of self-defense, but frankly, firearms should have no place on a college campus.
The college campus is an environment, an ecosystem, a place with a specific purpose and a specific goal: to educate a community. An atmosphere like that must be carefully forged and maintained, and firearms can drastically alter that atmosphere.
Furthermore, there’s very little if any data to support the claim that firearms on campus would deter crime in a significant way.
Gun advocates often make the claim that more guns would prevent injury and fatality at the hands of those who mean to do harm, but very little data supports this claim. So much weight is placed on the “good guy factor” that many have looked to learn the value of a “good guy with a gun.”
An independent study and analysis of 77 gun owners of varying skill levels aimed to evaluate a civilian’s performance in three different self-defense scenarios. The results showed that the risks far outweighed the benefits.
The first scenario saw 7 of the participants shooting an innocent bystander, and the majority of the outcomes in the first two scenarios resulted in death. The third scenario involved a non-threatening suspect, and 23 percent of the participants fired anyway. The vast majority of concealed weapon owners are not trained enough to stop a threat, and studies like this one prove it.
Now while the incident on our campus doesn’t seem to contribute much to this national conversation (as so little is known about the incident and no one was injured), it does in fact highlight the presence of a firearm in our environment. Students on our campus can now lend a perspective on the larger issue at hand.
Our second amendment right is guaranteed in this country and I believe it should be upheld, but in responsible and reasonable circumstances. A college campus is not one of them.