There are many reasons why it is dangerous to introduce guns on campus. The following list includes some of the main arguments against this legislation.
1. Arming students would make campus dangerous at all hours
a. Drinking and Drug Abuse
i. College students engage in many high-risk behaviors at alarming rates. Nearly half of America’s full time college students abuse drugs or binge drink at least once a month. The rates of binge drinking among college gun owners is even higher at two-thirds.
b. Suicide and mental health issues
i. There are 1,100 suicides and 24,000 attempts every year from college students. If a gun is used in a suicide attempt it is 90% fatal as compared to a 3% fatality rate for suicide attempts by drug overdose.
c. Accidental shootings and gun thefts
i. Studies show that guns in the home are more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting than in self-defense. Even trained gun owners often do not realize that a gun is loaded when the magazine is removed but a bullet remains in the chamber. Guns stolen from homes and cars fuel crime. Dorm rooms would be an easy target for gun thieves.
2. Armed students would be accountable to no one
a. Colleges are required to protect the safety of students
i. College administrators and campus law enforcement have a duty to protect the safety of students, faculty, and visitors on college campuses. Armed campus law enforcement offices are thoroughly trained to handle crisis situations, when and when not to fire their guns, and how to best secure the campus environment.
ii. College gun owners do not operate under any of these constraints. They are accountable for the safety of themselves. During a shootout a trained police officer hits their intended targets less than 20% of the time. Arming students that would shoot back in a shootout scenario would make matters worse in the extremely rare instances where mass shootings occur on campus.
iii. College gun owners have been proven to be dangerous and highly irresponsible according to Harvard researchers. They are more likely than the average student to:
1. Engage in binge drinking,
2. Need an alcoholic drink first thing in the morning,
3. Use cocaine or crack,
4. Be arrested for a DUI,
5. Vandalize property, and
6. Get in trouble with the police.
3. Arming students would not deter the rare campus shooting
a. The perpetrators of mass shootings are nearly always suicidal. Armed students would likely become the first targets of any suicidal attackers. A gunman who attacked a city council in March 2008 first shot and killed two armed police officers before continuing his rampage. He even used one of the officer’s guns in furthering his attack.
4. Academic debate cannot flourish in a room full of guns
a. Protecting free expression of teachers and students is the most obvious way in which academic freedom must be secured. Faculty and students should be able to address controversial subjects without fear that they will be punished for challenging conventional thought.
b. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized the importance of respecting school’s rights to self-governance and independent decision-making. College administrations must be free to set their own policies with respect to firearms.
5. There are better ways to make college campuses safer
a. Ninety-three percent of the violence against college students occurs off campus, where guns are widely available. To prevent future mass shootings, we must focus on making it harder for dangerous people to obtain weapons.