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

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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.