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Dec 12 2016
by Anna DiGiacomo

Should Colleges Allow Guns on Campus?

By Anna DiGiacomo - Dec 12 2016
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Current reports estimate there were over 13,000 gun related deaths in this year alone, approximately 3000 of which occurred in the 12-17 year-old demographic. Because of this, the issue of gun control has never been hotter and Americans are split over the age-old question: will taking guns away stop the violence or are guns needed for personal protection?

Although most colleges adhere to strict gun free policies, this year’s mass shootings have started to raise question regarding this policy. Liberty University in particular has been causing controversy due to their decision to expand the university's current lenient gun policy.

Chart via gunviolencearchive.org

Liberty's gun policy:

Since 2011, Liberty University has been allowing students with proper state permits to carry concealed guns on campus. The change was brought about by concerns for student safety after the 2007 Virginia State Massacre. Under this policy, qualified students could bring their concealed weapons into any building on campus, except the residence halls. Those students who possessed firearms and lived in residence halls were required to leave their gun in a secure location, such as a safe box in their car.

However, recently the student body started expressing concern over being unable to reach their gun in case of an emergency. Now, the evangelical college is looking to once again broaden its gun policy, this time to the point of nonexistence. First, the college plans to revoke the gun-ban in residence halls and allow students to keep their weapons on them at all times.

In addition to this change, the college is also currently applying for a permit to build the first NRA approved shooting range ever on a college campus. The proposed range will include a pistol range, rifle range, an instructional area and a three gun competition range. The school is also making plans for the addition of an indoor range in the future. This new facility will be used to educate students, faculty and the general public on proper handgun safety and give them the necessary skills to protect themselves.

Image courtesy of  Wheeler Cowperwaithe via Flickr Creative Commons

College students react:

Elizabeth Miller, a junior at Colorado State, wholeheartedly agrees with these proposals. As Elizabeth explains, she believes the main reason people target college campuses at all is because they know college students can’t fight back.

"You never see people trying to shoot at police stations. That's because they know it’s a bad idea. The same idea should apply to our colleges."

Of course, Elizabeth stresses that not every college student should be able to access a gun. Rather, she explains that she simply doesn’t want colleges to stop those who would otherwise have access to firearms because they’re students.

Conversely, Isaac Anderson, a sophomore at Appalachian State, explains that he believes this new policy is a grave mistake. According to Isaac, making guns a norm on campus is just further endangering the student body. He believes allowing firearms will increase the rate of violent crimes on campus rather than decrease it. As he explains, campuses are stressful and volatile enough as they currently are — why would you want to throw guns on top of the metaphorical fire?

Furthermore, Isaac raises concerns regarding suicides rates on campus. By allowing guns, Isaac believes suicide will be easier for students and more will be tempted to try. “While I don’t question their intentions, I think they're going about it the wrong way”.

"I just can’t understand why people would feel safer with so many guns — it's counterintuitive."

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Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Anna DiGiacomo - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Anna is a freshman Strategic Communications major at UNC Chapel Hill. She played varsity soccer in high school and besieged the student body with libertarianism. She now spends her time annoying her roommate, catching Bruce Springsteen concerts and getting lost while pretending to camp. Follow her on Instagram @digiacomoa

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