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Guns on Campus

News & Politics, Political-Opinion

By Melissa Howard

Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, and Wisconsin are the states that allow students to conceal on campus, and when looking at one’s safety, owning a gun can discourage criminals. For Americans there are constitutional rights for protection and this includes, “The right to keep and bear arms.” This gives Americans the right of defense using a firearm. Recently, Tallahassee passed the Guns on Campus Bill, which lifts the longstanding ban on carrying concealed weapons on Florida’s college campuses. This may be due to the incident that took place at Florida State in November, where Myron May, a FSU student, began shooting others that were studying in the Florida State University library; 5 young people were injured.

Owning a gun can give a person a sense of security. If a criminal tries to break into a residence or an unoccupied vehicle, he or she can be tried under a Florida law called the Castle Doctrine, which gives law abiding residents the ability to legally use a firearm if they feel threatened. There are two types of gun permits in Florida. The Concealed Carry Law is the practice of carrying a weapon in a concealed manner, and the Open Carry Law is openly carrying a firearm.

Having a concealed weapon license requires applicants to demonstrate competency with a firearm in order to qualify for the license, as stated by Safewise.com. There are still some concerns about people receiving permits, though. Roxy Higgins, the senior assistant to Vivian O’Dell at SPC’s Downtown campus said, “There is a lot of psycho’s out there. You do not know their mental state.” There are others who share O’Dell’s concerns. Related to this, there was a recent incident at St. Petersburg College on February 12, 2015. A fifty-seven year old man was disarmed when he approached an administrator threatening his own life, as explained by Robert Young, a security officer at the Downtown Campus.

After the events of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, where there were twenty eight deaths on December 14, 2012, some feel expanding carrying rights may put students at risk. “I think the officer or SRO on duty should be the only one carrying a gun on property, but even then I do not think they should walk around freely with it on their waist around school,” said one mother, Lillian Balducci.

In 2013 at least nineteen states introduced legislation to allow concealed carry on campus. Better locations, stronger security measures, and more background checks can be administered to improve student and public safety. Ultimately it is up to the student to be aware be safe at all times.

Header photo by Michael Tefft (flickr creative commons license)

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