Opinion: Arming students does not make them safer

Opinion: Arming students does not make them safer

The proposed campus carry bill, officially known as House Bill 280, is not the answer to stopping mass shootings.

The mere existence of this bill, which is currently being considered by the Georgia House of Representatives, is troubling since its passing could more easily enable violence on campus.

The bill would allow anyone with a weapons permit to carry their gun on public universities and colleges in the state. Guns would still be prohibited in dorms, at sporting events, in fraternity and sorority houses, and in some on-campus preschool facilities.

For me, this immediately makes me wonder how this bill could affect the safety of students at Georgia universities.

Given the current national issue of violence involving firearms, why should we loosen the law on guns at the university level? College campuses are where volatile and unpredictable behavior is likely to occur the most.

As reported by The Sentinel, Steve Wrigley, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia, testified in front of the House Public Safety Committee against the bill.

“With respect to campus carry, we feel strongly current law strikes the right balance to provide security on our campuses,” Wrigley said.

In an email sent to students and faculty Feb. 21, KSU President Sam Olens said that he supports Wrigley “in his advocacy for maintaining Georgia’s existing law,” as it relates to the pending bill.

Imagine how this could change the dynamics of student interactions. Suddenly, an altercation between two students could become deadly. At the University of Georgia, the president of Tau Kappa Alpha fired a gunshot into the air and proceeded to point it at two members after a verbal confrontation — and this type of behavior isn’t uncommon. Since 2013, according to everytownresearch.org, there have been 215 school shootings in the United States.

In today’s world, it is frightening that we have had over 200 school shooting incidents in just the past few years alone. People want to be prepared and feel protected, but many things could be done in place of passing this bill to make students feel safer on campus.

We could instead invest in more security jobs on campus that would allow everyone to feel safer. Officials can support a stronger infrastructure at public universities, making them more impenetrable for active school shooters and keeping students safe without giving them guns. One action could be to make classrooms harder to enter with force and build more emergency buttons around campus.

To create a less violent world, we should attempt to lessen the number of weapons that exist in circulation.

The logic behind the law is that students should be able to carry a gun in preparation for a terrible event — which is almost like pre-planning fate. Although violence arises in moments when you least expect it, we must collectively agree upon peacefully existing if we are to eliminate school shootings in all forms.

This gun bill is a combination of people and their response to recent terrorist attacks in America, such as the Orlando nightclub shooting. They are scared, terrified of being caught unarmed. There are always unique circumstances where the immediate threat of our lives is in question, but that does not justify this bill. Allowing students to carry guns only adds to the cycle of violent behavior.

As a first-world country, we should take steps to create lasting peace rather than try to anticipate violence by allowing students to conceal weapons on their person.

Fighting violence with violence is not the solution. After all, a fire cannot put out a fire— no matter how hard you try.

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  • Cole Daniel

    As a KSU graduate I fully support HB 280.