To Dallas Morning News
Dennis McCuistion said in his article on Dallas Morning News that the campus carry law will make students and staff safer, citing the opinions of police officers and statistics about death by guns. Another argument he makes is that the idea of “good guys” carrying guns will scare the “bad guys” into not taking the chance to shoot people.
I disagree wholly that guns make anyone safer. It is true that “guns don’t kill, people do,” but guns definitely make it easier. A campus is much safer with absolutely no guns on it than a campus that relies on students to patrol potentially dangerous students carrying guns, always in anticipation for something bad to happen.
First of all, McCuistion claimed that guns would make people feel safer with the idea that there are licensed students on campus that have guns to protect them. I am almost a college student and I know what makes me feel safe and what makes me feel unsafe: guns. No matter whose hands they are in, guns do not make me feel safe. This feeling of safety he talks about comes from the assumption that in every classroom with a potential shooter there is a “good guy” with a gun. Also, as stated by John M. Crisp in his article, “Arms in the class is too risky for one prof” on Dallas Morning News, this is assuming that the “good guy” with the gun is trained, has a clear shot, and is able to stay calm in that high stress, life threatening situation.
Secondly, McCuistion cites police officers. Police officers are highly trained shooters and likely have the presumption that everyone with a gun is highly trained as they are. Police officers are also influenced by the community of America they exist in, where everyone has a gun to make themselves feel safer; and they shoot people whenever they feel threatened (usually if they think the other person has a gun and has a darker skin tone than themselves). He is citing a group of people with an implicit bias towards guns.
Thirdly, McCuistion states that many shootings are by people who do not even carry the gun with a license: this is just evidence that there needs to be more regulation of guns in America. The lack of regulation just shows how dangerous it is to allow guns on a campus where the police officers can’t check if every gun carrier is licensed, precisely proving McCuistion’s point wrong.
Lastly, he claims that the fear of being shot by a campus carrier “good guy” will cause the “bad guys” to not want to shoot people. If he has ever read about the criminals who do things like shoot up college campuses, he should know that idea is completely ridiculous. Some people who shoot up public spaces are mentally unstable meaning that this fear factor would probably not affect them; and the others are criminals who have no regard for life, whether it is other people’s or their own. They are not scared off by death. This is clear when most shooters put the last bullet in their own heads or commit suicide later (Wired, “Why Spree Killers Kill Themselves”).
The ideal way to stop school shootings is to increase regulations on guns and who can carry them. Colleges should also monitor the students they admit for mental health with yearly check ups and admission requirements of mental health evaluations. Only about 22% of male gun violence perpetrators showed signs of mental illness (New York Times, “Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Gun Violence”), so this is not my main point of how to regulate shootings. However, regulation of student mental health should already be happening, and this requirement of regulation would just be an extra precaution to decrease the likelihood of shootings and even suicides by guns. More importantly, if there is an overall restriction on guns in college campus dorms, classrooms, labs, offices, and all public spaces on guns, there is almost no chance of a shooting occurring.
This restriction of guns prevents mass shootings by criminals with the mental capacity to do so; However, it also prevents the more common situations of domestic gun violence, rape at gunpoint, accidental deaths and injuries at parties by guns, and conflicts which could escalate greatly and result in death if a gun is pulled out. The college experience of learning and personal development should not be interrupted by the elephant in the room which is guns.
So what if someone gets around the restrictions, or come onto campus without being noticed as carrying a gun? There are officers on every college campus for a reason, and they should be able to intervene the unlikely incident that an off-campus perpetrator would come to campus to shoot people. Not to mention, this is a situation that would not be happening in the first place if there were better gun regulations in America.
For the safety of those who are trying to receive an education to better their future, campus carry should be outlawed. For the safety of innocent bystanders in all of America, gun control should be increased. America claims to be the “land of the free, home of the brave,” but how can we be free if we are shackled by fear of our own brothers and sisters? How can we claim to be so brave if we can’t leave the house without a gun to protect ourselves from any minor conflict? Fight for gun control in America and on college campuses, and protect your fellow Americans; not by holding guns to each other’s heads, but by dropping them to the ground.
Auyero, Javier. “Guns on Campus Make Colleges Less Safe.” The New York Times, 31 May 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/05/31/should-guns-be-permitted-on-college-campuses/guns-on-campus-make-colleges-less-safe. Accessed 25 Mar. 2017.
Crisp, John M. “Arms in Class Too Risky for One Prof.” Dallas Morning News [Dallas], 2 Oct. 2015. Dallas News, http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/12/john-m.-crisp-arms-in-class-too-risky-for-one-prof.
Duwe, Grant. “Pro-con: Should College Campuses Restrict Concealed Weapons?” Dallas News, Oct. 2015, http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/23/pro-con-should-college-campuses-restrict-concealed-weapons. Accessed 24 Mar. 2017.
Editorial Board. “Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Gun Violence 652.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 15 Dec. 2015, mobile.nytimes.com/2015/12/16/opinion/dont-blame-mental-illness-for-gun-violence.html. Accessed 24 Mar. 2017.
Wang, Tricia, and An Xiao MIna. “Why Spree Killers Kill Themselves.” Wired, 18 Dec. 2012, http://www.wired.com/2012/12/why-spree-killers-kill-themselves/. Accessed 25 Mar. 2017.