This incident brings up concerns about student safety and proper gun regulation that are often ignored on campus.
The university’s code of conduct leaves much to be desired when it comes to gun control. The code states, “Use or possession of any weapon, explosive device, or re-works on a person or storage of such on university property without prior written approval from the Chief of Campus Police,” is misconduct.
The idea that a student can legally bring a gun on campus is appalling. College is a place where people with vastly different ideas and beliefs can come together in a civil manner and grow from their dis-agreements. For decades, college campuses have been the fomenters of social change, something that can’t be brought about if students holding a sit-in or a protest are worried about fellow gun-toting classmates who don’t like what they have to say.
A gun is a symbol of violence and hostility that cannot be tolerated in the classroom because it stunts civil discourse. Imagine sitting in a philosophy classroom listening to a variety of students debating divisive ethical issues. Those conversations can happen because at the end of the day students know that their disagreements will be respected, and they are led to create an academic and thoughtful environment. But if students are worried that the person across the room from them keeps a gun in their backpack, how likely will they be to argue with each other?
This isn’t to say that students who bring guns to school are going to hurt someone, or would even mean to hurt someone. Many people are responsible gun owners who carry guns purely for protection. Regardless of intent, the presence of a weapon on campus diminishes the quality of conversations that can happen in classrooms. Allowing concealed carry on campus increases feelings of unsafety between students, and creates an environment where other accidental misfires could have tragic consequences.
Opponents to gun regulations will emphasize the need to protect the Second Amendment. People are so concerned with “protecting” the Second Amendment that even suggesting that guns not be allowed on a campus devoted to education and inclusivity is akin to spitting on the Founding Father’s graves. Is the right to hold a piece of metal created to kill people more important than freedom of speech, a right also guaranteed in the Constitution? To argue that laws cannot be placed to regulate who is allowed to have guns, and where they are allowed to take them, solely because the Constitution guarantees the “right to bear arms” falls ? at when considering that the Constitution once labelled slaves only three-fifths of a person.
At the end of the day, I don’t enjoy hunting or recreational shooting. But if that is how people want to spend their time and money, it seems an appropriate place to exercise the Second Amendment. But guns, and the violence they inevitably promote, have no room in a place of learning.