Carrying weapons on campus

12:04 PM College Lawyer Blog 0 Comments

Thursday, 1/21/16

MOUNT PLEASANT, MI  

The question on whether or not to allow guns on college campuses is causing much debate.  Upon further inspection of the topic, it is acceptable to categorize the two sides of the debate under those who do want guns to be able to be carried on campus and for those who do not want guns to be permissible on campus.

With an alarming number of mass shootings occurring last year, Obama responded with a promise to make the process of gun ownership foolproof.  The objective is to prevent anyone that is not a trusted person (convicted felon, mentally disturbed) from purchasing a weapon.  Of course, not every felon or mentally ill person is intent on becoming a mass murderer.  However, strengthening the background check process should prevent a few massing shootings at the very least.

With that being said, the argument for guns on college campuses follows this thought process:
1) If someone is going to commit a mass shooting, they are going to regardless of whether they are allowed to carry a fire arm on campus or not.
2) If someone is going to bring a gun to campus with the intent to murder, someone needs to protect these people.
3) If students are allowed to carry guns, an individual carrying a weapon can disarm the individual conducting the mass shooting and save lives.

The argument does make sense, albeit must one consider the negatives of allowing students to carry guns too.  How can anyone trust that a student, with a gun on their hip, to keep cool under pressure. Classroom debates spark arguments and feelings can get hurt.  No one can predict how an armed student would react against another, even if it is over something minuscule.  Furthermore, ABC News reports that 50% of college students have had thoughts of suicide, 18% seriously considered it, and that 8% made an attempt at taking their own lives.  Having guns, readily accessible, around emotionally unstable students could be devastating.

Another argument is the basic case brought upon by the Second Amendment: the right to bear arms. Like most archaic texts there is uncertainty when it comes to portions of the Constitution.  It is to be interpreted by the reader.  Some say that the amendment was only put in place to ward off the invading British and that it is now outdated and gun ownership should be banned.  The opposition argues that it is timeless and that every person has the right to bear arms to protect themselves from any danger. Both sides of the debate are firm on their stances, causing a gray area between such a black and white issue.

As of today, a majority of campuses do not allow guns besides those that are used by police and other authorized personnel.  However, some schools have already changed litigation to allow students with permits to carry weapons on campus.  Meanwhile, some campuses do offer a weapons storage center for students that own firearms.  For instance, Central Michigan University provides a storage center for students that allows them to check out their weapons 24/7.

Seth Canner
Assistant Editor-In-Chief
Levitt Law Firm, Law Clerk 

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