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A response to students who believe that guns should never be allowed on campus

We are at that point in time again where a school shooting has left the nation in disbelief. Over the past few weeks, the heightened fear of students nationwide wondering if a shooting could happen at their school is indeed a legitimate one. However, politicians and college administrators, especially the Faculty Senate at FGCU, are seeking the wrong solutions to this epidemic.
First of all, we must all agree that in the past 10 years, all the school shootings that have taken place across the country have one thing in common: they were all in gun-free zones. Sandy Hook Elementary, by definition, is a gun-free school. Weeks before the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, the student government at VT passed an ordinance banning the concealed carry of weapons on campus. All public and private colleges and universities in the state of Florida prohibit the concealed carry of weapons on campus. Yet, the shooting last November at Florida State University and the 2013 bomb scare at the University of Central Florida still took place. After noticing this disturbing trend, I must ask: Why are we still in denial?
The most common arguments I hear against campus carry are solely based on assumptions, fear and paranoia. Sadly, students agree with these thoughts but do not elaborate with facts or statistics as to why they believe campus carry should not be allowed. “I believe it (guns) would make the campus even more vulnerable and unsafe” is one such argument. Let me remind you all that the word “concealed” is there for a reason. If campus carry were allowed here, how would you know that someone in your class was carrying a firearm? It is no different than wondering if a person has an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy S6. Besides, the population of individuals legally able to conceal carry a firearm is so small (1 to 3 percent) that it would not be any different than the number of people carrying a firearm at the movies or at the mall. We must get rid of the notion that all the students at FGCU will be carrying guns to school. That could not be further from the truth.
“Schools are supposed to be a place where students feel safe and protected.” Yes, I believe that as well, but this trend is happening too often for that claim to hold true. More than 200 colleges across the nation allow concealed carry by licensed individuals, and we never hear of incidents taking place at those campuses. The shootings always seem to happen where there are no guns. Why is this important? It is because shooters know full well that they will not encounter armed resistance at a gun-free school, aside from the campus police department. However, the response times of the campus police are too long in order to effectively subdue an assailant. To put this into perspective, the Sandy Hook shooting was over in roughly 4 1/2 minutes; the police arrived with reinforcements in four minutes. You cannot logically admit that you would rather wait for the police in an active-shooter event. The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. That is just the sad reality of it.
“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.” This too cannot be further from the truth. Numerous warning signs accompany a person’s downward spiral to violence, as evidenced by a Secret Service study from 2000. Look at the shooters of Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook: both were socially disconnected and were troubled mentally. The bad thing is the fact that they were able to get ahold of guns and kill many people. Yes, it is a mental issue, but it is also not a gun issue. We need to do more to help those with mental troubles and psychological problems. Getting rid of guns as a result is as effective as putting tape over the “check engine” light in your car. The problem is still there and unsolved. Troubled individuals will find a way to inflict harm on fellow students. Relinquishing the right to selfdefense is not a viable option anymore.
Getting a gun, let alone a concealed carry permit, is not as easy as it sounds. Licensed individuals have to go through many steps to attain a license for concealed carry. They need to know all the laws of gun ownership. They need to spend hours on the range refining their marksmanship. They need to train 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. Buying a gun also has a cool-down period of about four days. That includes another comprehensive FBI background check. Obviously, gun owners and licensees are incredibly disciplined when it comes to their right to carry. So they are allowed to carry virtually anywhere else publicly. Why should that right be relinquished when they enter a classroom? They do not let their emotions take control over them elsewhere, so the same is expected here on campus.
One thought that troubled me greatly from the previous op-ed article on campus carry is the notion that we need to make getting guns “a difficult task.” I only ask: a difficult task for who? Criminals hold no regard for the law and the various legal processes concerning guns to begin with, so passing more gun regulations will not make a difference to them; it will just make their crime a lot easier to commit. I hate to sound insensitive, but this rationale is very flawed. We cannot keep blaming and restricting guns for the actions of deranged individuals. Even if you did take guns out of the equation, wouldn’t they use something more devastating? What if they brought a bomb? If so, what good did getting rid of guns do? We need to fight back with equal force because equal force is just what the campus police happen to have. We have a right to our life, and we must protect it at all costs. The campus police cannot protect all of FGCU’s students, like it or not.
The poll for campus carry on Eagle News is evidence of the change in public opinion on this issue. Yes, people will still feel that is dangerous and unnecessary, but we cannot please everyone. The facts are there. The statistics are tried and true. We need to fight fire with fire because it is a fundamental, enumerated right to defend our lives in the face of evil. I cannot say that allowing campus carry will prevent all shootings, but if we allow it, it will make the victim selection process a lot more difficult.
– Miguel Azcuy, junior, Health Sciences / pre-physician assistant

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    Miguel AzcuyNov 2, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    The tactical training is encouraged, but it all depends on the instructor you go to. Anyone can become an NRA “certified” instructor, so you need to be wary of who you are training with. In my case, I am still in the process of receiving tactical training, but that is because I have a highly qualified instructor, one who has trained police units in Canada, among other states here in the US. I believe that what should be mandatory is a more comprehensive background check (not to be confused with a registry/database), since government regulation on medical records makes it nearly impossible to acquire all of the pertinent information needed to do such a background check. Once that can be achieved, I would agree with more tactical training.
    Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks again for your input.

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    Danielle88Nov 2, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Thanks for the clarification and references. Is the tactical training encouraged or required to obtain a CHL in Florida? I have no problem with CHL holders as long as the tactical training is also a mandatory requirement.

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    Miguel AzcuyNov 2, 2015 at 12:06 am

    While hitting B27 targets measures “proficiency”, Florida Statutes mandate that any applicant of a CHL must be able to demonstrate full proficiency with a firearm, including care and maintenance, discharging the firearm and safety concerning carrying a firearm. A great amount of education is vetted to each applicant, not just the elementary ability of hitting targets. Additional training is encouraged regardless, since the discipline of carrying a firearm requires committing the skills to reflexive memory. You need to know how to act when faced with an armed threat. You need to know the defensive poses, how to un-holster your firearm in seconds, discharge with accuracy and observe your environment before taking further action. Shooting mere targets helps with the shooting part, but the tactical part of training is left out, and that alone is already breaching regulation of the Florida Statute of “proficiency of a firearm”. All of the above mentioned needs to be considered and rigorously practiced, so that in times of life or death, the individual will act accordingly within the law and without causing harm to themselves or others. CHL holders are not reckless hillbillies, as proven by national statistics year after year.
    Your claim of CHL holders being shot in a case of mistaken identity is a talking point that is always used by those against the concealed carry of firearms. Under no circumstances is a CHL holder allowed to become a vigilante and actively hunt the perpetrators in an active shooter situation. The law stipulates carrying a concealed weapon for lawful SELF-DEFENSE, not being Superman. Also consider the fact that police officers only re-qualify their firearms training ONCE a year (at best), while CHL holders train at every possible moment. Police officers are 5 times more likely to shoot a civilian than a CHL holder will, so why do you propose taking that chance? Your claim also strongly insinuates a false narrative of the police: “shoot first and ask questions later”. If you are a lawful CHL holder and an officer spots you and tells you to drop the weapon, you will drop the weapon. End of story. Besides, an officer finding you in the midst of a shootout with the perpetrator is highly unlikely, since shootings occur within minutes, and are over very quickly. A lawful CHL holder would be hiding from the perpetrator, not trying to hunt them down. Be careful of the generalizations you are making. Justifying a ban of concealed carry on campus based on mistaken identity is foolish and wrong, since there are a number of possibilities where that can be abused to serve the criminal, not the victim.
    The right to carry on campus is the same enumerated right that all current licensees have in shopping malls, movie theaters, and other public places. The right does not grant us the freedom to become vigilantes and hunt down the shooter, acting as a one-man SWAT team. That is the job for the SWAT team. The rate of crime committed by CHL holders is significantly less than 1%, so please analyze all the statistics before making rash generalizations.
    Here are some links to consider. Thank you for your input.

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    Danielle88Nov 1, 2015 at 10:56 am

    The only proficiency requirement for a CHL holder is hitting B27 targets. This training is inadequate in the event of a real armed attack. Additional mandatory training including engagement drills, simulated basic armed combat defense drills should be required. Current untrained CHL holders will pose more of a liability instead of help, as they may end up shooting innocent people in the chaos of a shooting event, be unable to distunguish the “bad guy” from other “good guys” with CHLs (unless they were organized and prepared as a militia prior to the attack), and end up getting shot themselves by the police or SWAT team upon arrival, as the police may assume anyone holding a gun is the “bad guy shooter”.