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Guns on campus: Don’t shoot the messenger

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Matthew Balsinger

In light of the recent school shooting tragedy in Newtown, Conn., several students on campus are trying to put together a group to push for the legalization of concealed guns on campus. I never thought that the political dialogue in this country could get so ridiculous as to suggest that allowing guns on a college campus, or any public place for that matter, would lead
to better safety. Yet, the real world apparently is much crazier than I thought, so this issue demands a response.

First of all, the burden of proof lies in the hands of those that make a claim. Pro-gun supporters claim that allowing guns in public places will make everyone safer; they may say something like, “if
only an armed person had been in the theater at Aurora, Colo., or (insert the name of any mass shooting event).”

This is a tired argument that has been thoroughly and completely refuted, yet continues to pervade the reasonable conversation on gun control. Setting aside the fact that smoke bombs were used in the Aurora shooting, which filled the theater with smoke, decreasing visibility in an already dark room, as well as ignoring the fact that the perpetrator was wearing body armor, the pro-gun advocates have failed to build a reasonable case (other than unrealistic, hypothetical situations), to support their position.

On the contrary, there is very strong evidence, based on real situations, of why guns in public places are an absolutely horrible idea.

First, there was a mass shooting at Fort Hood. I can’t imagine a more heavily armed place than a military base, and even that heavily armed instillation was unable to prevent a massacre.

Second (if you even needed a second example), there was an armed guard at Columbine and it didn’t do much to stop the massacre either. Many people don’t realize this, but deputy Neil Gardner was eating lunch when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire on students. A custodian called Gardner for assistance. While responding, Gardner encountered Harris and exchanged fire. Gardner was pinned down, took cover and called for assistance.

The mere presence of someone with a gun, or the availability of guns, didn’t save anyone in either of these situations. The mere presence of a trained, armed person didn’t save anyone. The fact is that the presence of another gun didn’t do anything at all, even in the hand of a “good guy.”

Now, I use the term “good guy” because there seems to be this misconception that when a shooter comes, we’d easily be able to identify the perpetrator from innocent civilians. As things currently stand, the person with the gun is considered an active shooter. When police respond (you know, the people trained to protect us, especially in instances like this), they are looking for the perpetrator. In a heated situation, with shots being fired, there is no way to separate good guys with guns from bad guys with guns, unless if they are uniformed police officers, but even that is no guarantee.

A.L.I.C.E. training here on campus, which the University of Akron police department often teaches to freshman classes, preaches never to pick up the gun even if the assailant is subdued. This is because the police (or the “good guys”) may mistake you for the perpetrator if you have a gun in your hand.

If that wasn’t enough evidence to utterly refute the ridiculous contention that guns should be allowed on college campuses, there are a myriad of instances where legal concealed weapon holders have accidentally killed or harmed people.
In 2011, Justin Campos, a licensed concealed weapon carrier and member of the National Rifle Association, shot two men dead after a heated argument.

In 2012, Moises Zambrana accidentally discharged his handgun in a Florida church, killing a 20-year-old woman.

In 2012, a licensed concealed carry holder in line at a Pizza Hut shot another patron in line, after the patron complained about the wait for his pizza.

In 2012, a Los Vegas man’s concealed weapon discharged as he sat on the toilet, injuring another man in the stall next to his.

This is a small, very small, list of the instances in which concealed weapon carriers did more harm than good. The fact is, it doesn’t matter how safe you think you are or how careful you are. Mistakes happen, and they happen far more frequently than instances where guns in the hands of “good guys” help the situation. Guns were designed explicitly for the purpose to kill: period. There is no other reason that firearms exist than to be the most efficient way to kill something else.

The potential for accidents far outweighs any potential benefit from allowing guns onto college campuses. Great Britain has strict controls on their firearms, and since Columbine, Great Britain has had zero school shootings. The United States, on the other hand, has had over 150.

More guns simply does not equal more safety. And the Second Amendment does not allow you unlimited access to guns for whatever purpose. No one said it better than a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2008, “…the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”

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8 Responses to “Guns on campus: Don’t shoot the messenger”

  1. Leon Sharps on January 31st, 2013 10:47 AM

    Standing up for freedom is hard. You will more likely than not find yourself defending things that you may not agree with, like the right to bear arms. But that’s the beauty of freedom, it outweighs our our petty partisan beliefs. It even outweighs danger. I’m getting sick and tired of Americans claiming to love freedom and then in the same sentence condemning things like the right to bear arms – on campus or elsewhere.

  2. Not A Dumb Liberal on January 31st, 2013 8:40 PM

    Its comical that I have never agreed with any opinion articles from Matt. Probably bc he is extremely closed minded to what is “trendy.” Also, there are way more “stories” that promote concealed carry than ones that make it look bad. You just obviously typed into google “concealed carry horror stories” to write this tinker tot article.

    Do some research next time you closed minded child.

  3. A Dumb Liberal on February 4th, 2013 3:56 PM

    Funny how the people who make the most bashing comments are also the most hypocritical.

  4. Phil Davidson on February 5th, 2013 6:52 AM

    I had thought this article was going to be about why guns on campus was a good or bad idea; not why guns in general are a bad idea.

    None of the supporting arguments are really specific to campus – it seems this author just went on a biased rant. I would have thought that an article by a college student would critically look at both sides of an issue and then conclude with his opinion instead were left with an uneducated high school level opinion.

    Also, some of the research in inaccurate. I would like to see the source that states “The potential for accidents far outweighs any potential benefit from allowing guns onto college campuses” especially in accordance to ‘Great Britain’ (I think he means to say UK).

  5. Jake on February 5th, 2013 7:09 AM

    Wow, I have never heard a more biased, poor way of a liberal too use scare tactics to attempt to change public opinion. Now I do respect your decision or anyone elses, to own or “bear” arms. Your examples all have flaws, and your not doing any justice by describing them so vague. An open minded reader will be able to blow your “examples” away with one click of the mouse. You failed miserably at the point your trying to make. I suggest you transfur to Kent and take up one of their Art or fashion degrees to better suit you.

  6. Someone with common sense on February 5th, 2013 12:18 PM

    Aurora, CO. gun free zone. Newtown, CN. gun free zone. Virginia Tech. Gun free zone. Chicago, Highest murder rate in the country. gun free zone. Kennesaw, GA. Passed a law that requires citizens to be armed and carry firearms. Has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation as well as saved the town from a wave of violence that had swept in from the larger cities. it has had one of the lowest rates while booming to 10 times it’s size when the law was passed in the 80’s Liberals here is your proof that you are misguided and wrong.

  7. Andrew Krigline on February 5th, 2013 3:27 PM

    This is just a “for future reference” from the web admin (me) here at the Buchtelite:

    I’m all fine and good with your comments and discussions, but please bear in mind that this, and all pieces in the Opinion section are by definition “editorials” not news “articles.”

    For a news article that has to do with the guns on campus issue, go here.

    News Articles versus Opinion Editorials. This has been your friendly neighborhood web admin. Carry on.

  8. Somebody on February 7th, 2013 9:58 AM

    I hope the university allows such guns on campus. Property rights allow them to state the conditions that one should follow on campus, but at the same time they are publicly funded. Because of the public funds, I am guessing the effort will go the state law makers to make the university allow conceal carry or else not get money.

    Stay safe out there, and make sure you have a self-defense weapon in your home or apartment if allowed and you know how to use it (and want it). Could be a bat, lead pipe, shotgun, pistol, knife, and many other choices for defense. Also, look into self defense combat training, like Karate or Krav Maga to build confidence.

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