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Students weigh in on the pros and cons of not allowing guns on FGCU’s campus

We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t fight fire with fire,”  but does this saying apply when the idea of fighting gunfire with gunfire is put into play?

On Friday, Oct. 2, FGCU faculty senate voted against two state bills that would allow concealed guns on the state’s college and university campuses. This vote was scheduled prior to the tragic mass shooting in Oregon that coincidentally happened Oct. 1, just a day before the vote.

After hearing of the vote concerning the right to carry a concealed weapon on campus, I was curious to know what the student body had to say on the matter.

I came across a lot of students who found the vote to be a huge mistake that may be regretted in the future.

“I believe that students should be permitted to carry a concealed weapon on campus because we need to have the right to be able to protect ourselves,” said Erica Macmillan, a senior. “Campus shootings have become a disturbingly common occurrence, and I think every time we hear about one, we think, what would we do if that happened at FGCU?’ Unfortunately, the people who commit these horrible acts don’t care about the laws or rules. Restricting concealed weapons on a college campus will only affect law-abiding students. If somebody wants to commit a crime, they will find a way to do it. As students, we need to have the ability to make the decision to carry a weapon on our person if that is what makes us feel safe. There is nothing more valuable than safety.”

However, a lot of other students’ opinions fell on the opposite side of the spectrum. They believe that there is no reason for guns to be allowed on campus and that we should be focused on ways to approach handling a shooting on campus.

“I agree with the vote the faculty made,” said senior Andre Williams. “To me, being able to bring a concealed weapon to campus makes the place even more dangerous. Nowadays, you never know who could be feeling a little off and just want to shoot at something. A good example would be the UCC shooting in Oregon this past week. People in defense of allowing concealed weapons would probably say, ‘It doesn’t matter if guns are on or off campus. That person still had his mind made up when he thought about shooting up a school,’ which could be true in a sense. But, just allowing any and everybody to carry weapons on campus would not only make it easier, but I believe it would make the campus even more vulnerable and unsafe.”

Some students believe that time and energy would be better spent on preparing students in case a shooting ever does occur on campus, as opposed to allowing them to carry their own weapon in case of an emergency.

“I don’t think concealed weapons should be allowed anywhere public, let alone a college campus,” said Marissa Santucci, a junior. “There have been way too many casualties involving concealed weapons. Schools are supposed to be a place where students feel safe and protected, and yet, all teachers have to make a plan for where they would hide their students if they were ever in a lockdown. As an education major, this is something I feel strongly about and hope to see change.”

While groups of students tend to agree with one side or the other, a few students could see the positives and negatives of both sides of this controversial issue.

“I could take both sides on this topic,” said Zach Breihahn, a senior. “I’m all for the Second Amendment and believe that if teachers or faculty had concealed carry on campus that shootings within college settings nationwide would plummet. You wouldn’t have to wait for the police to arrive to take down the shooter; your accounting professor would take care of him. Prohibiting concealed carry on campus seems to only prolong the time it takes to bring down a campus shooter. The problem with allowing guns on campus is that people are so politically correct and would freak out if they saw a guy with a 9mm holstered to his pants. It’s a lose-lose situation, because we seem to just forget about mass shootings weeks after they occur because mainstream media pushes the next big thing down our throats.”

As for me, my beliefs tend to fall with those that can see both sides of this issue. I don’t find it intelligent for our first response to tragic mass shootings to be to fight gunfire with gunfire. I think there are plenty of areas where we as a society have failed to prevent these tragedies from coming about and that we all are partially to blame. We have neglected the issue of mental health for quite some time now.

If we made acquiring a gun a difficult task, maybe we would see less mass shootings in the world. If a person wants to buy a gun, it is their right to do so, but it isn’t their right to do so easily.

Maybe if we required the same stipulations of buyers of guns as we do of those wanting to receive an abortion, we wouldn’t see as many tragic shootings in the world. Why not require gun buyers, as we do women seeking to get an abortion, to present a doctor’s note verifying that they are in fact healthy and in the right state of mind before receiving such a large moral responsibility? Yes, criminals will ignore laws, but why not make it more difficult for them to do so by screening people’s mental health before handing them a weapon that could and unfortunately has taken away so many innocent lives in a matter of seconds.

About The Author

Cait Schall

Cait Schall is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinion editor for Eagle News. She is a rollerblading enthusiast who enjoys attending sporting events and concerts. Cait is also a proud member of Chi Omega at FGCU. When you can’t find her writing in the newsroom she most likely can be found outside trying something new that’ll probably result in broken bones or at home binge watching her latest Netflix obsession. (Follow Cait on Twitter: @CaitlinSchall)

2 Comments

  1. I find it interesting how all the arguments against allowing concealed carry on campus are centered on baseless fears, emotions and paranoia.

    “I believe it [guns] would make the campus even more vulnerable and unsafe”.

    “I don’t think concealed weapons should be allowed anywhere public, let alone a college campus,”.

    “Schools are supposed to be a place where students feel safe and protected,”

    “To me, being able to bring a concealed weapon to campus makes the place even more dangerous. Nowadays, you never know who could be feeling a little off and just want to shoot at something.”

    Did these students even reinforce these feelings with facts or statistics? No. Then again, it is not a surprise to me. That is all the people against concealed carry have: unsupported paranoia and feelings.

    How can 200 colleges in over 6 states allow campus carry and we never hear of incidents there? Why are mass shootings always at colleges where it is ILLEGAL to carry a firearm on campus? It was illegal to carry a firearm at Umpqua Community College, and the only security guard there was UNARMED. Virginia Tech, just weeks before the 2007 massacre, passed an ordinance banning concealed weapons on campus. Florida State University allows prohibits concealed weapons, as do all the colleges in Florida. What do you find in common with these examples?

    All are gun-free zones.

    Criminals choose gun-free schools precisely because they know they will not encounter resistance until the police arrive, which would already be too late anyways. Shootings only stop when the madmen are met with armed resistance, not because guns are not allowed in the school. That’s just the sad reality of it. You cannot count on the police to arrive when seconds count, because they are minutes away. Sandy Hook was over in 4 minutes and 36 seconds; the police arrived with reinforcements in 4 minutes. By that time, 26 students were dead.

    The fear that someone will just “fly off the handle” and start shooting is absurd and offensive to gun owners. It appears most people are not aware of the amount of training and education that an individual has to undergo in order to receive a concealed carry permit. They need to know all the laws of gun ownership. They need to spend hours on the range refining their marksmanship. They need to have the reflexes to react in a life-or-death situation. Plus, once they are eligible for the license, they need to go through an FBI background check and an application review that takes several MONTHS. Do you honestly believe that a concealed carry holder will lack the mental control to stop them from shooting up a public place? That is just asinine and ignorant. Of course, people bring up the fact that gun owners undergo less training than police officers. Yet, police officers practice their shooting once a year, while gun owners practice all the time. Gun owners also do not have to learn about traffic laws, radio codes, driving at fast speeds or conducting search warrants. Nonetheless, the media and Hollywood already portrays them as reckless hillbillies, as evidenced by SNL’s latest skit about guns and President Obama’s gun control rhetoric. All this seems to prove is that the opposition to concealed carry is based only on ridicule and emotions, not actual facts or statistics. Not very substantive for a political discussion, is it?

    I also think that this article is not in the slightest bit objective towards this issue. If you only interview one person that believes that concealed carry should be legal at FGCU, while also interviewing three others that are against it, you are creating a minority belief that DOES NOT EXIST. The latest Eagle News poll shows that roughly 75% of readers want concealed carry at FGCU. Is that a minority? Is that an insignificant group that doesn’t mean anything? The answer is no. Whatever happened to honest journalism? People always mention that they don’t want guns at school, yet they are perfectly fine with police officers that have guns and regularly patrol campus. If concealed carry were allowed at FGCU, how would you know that someone in your class is carrying? There is a reason it is called “concealed carry.”

    The fact is that people are getting scared. Yet, they are not gravitating towards the victim mentality out of fear. They want to take action and do whatever necessary to protect themselves at school. That is why a large percentage of people want concealed carry here at FGCU. This issue is not split down the middle; there is a clear winner and loser here.

  2. If you would like to write a letter to the editor my email is [email protected]
    I would love to feature your thoughts.

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