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Our View: Gun debate finds new target

Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013

Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 17:02

In celebration of Valentine’s Day the Herald staff wants to keep the season of love at the forefront, so naturally; lets focus on gun control.

This dead horse has found new life thanks to legislation surrounding Arkansas colleges and universities.

Arkansas is currently one of 21 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus according to the National Conference of State Legislation.

This could all change, reported Associated Press in Little Rock on Tuesday. “A House panel has advanced legislation that would allow faculty and staff at Arkansas’ colleges and universities to carry concealed handguns.”

This doesn’t do away with all the restrictions for concealed firearms.  Only staff members with valid conceal to carry permits will be allowed to carry.

There is also intent by a Republican Representative to amend the proposal so that Universities themselves will get the final say and that their position will be annually reviewed.

There is certainly evidence that concealed firearm carriers have stopped shootings.  In the Clackamas Town Center shooting, a man who drew on the gunman prompted the attacker to commit suicide.  Although the gunman had already killed two individuals, a man’s ability to confront the shooter ended the carnage.

Some believe that not allowing concealed firearms on a campus makes universities especially susceptible to gun violence; leaving the only people who are conscious of the law undefended.

As you can imagine this will literally open the gun chamber for more debate.  Should students be allowed to carry concealed firearms? Should some buildings be restricted? Should it be a blanket policy or should each college be allowed to mandate their own provisions?
At this point it seems best to allow individual institutions to establish their own regulations with respects to their staff, students, school history, and community support.  
The best policy will be one that has the protection of students and faculty as its focus even if that means protecting students from themselves.

On Feb 13., Colorado passed House Bill 1226 banning concealed firearms from college campuses.  The case made is that students engage in so many destructive behaviors that adding guns to the mix would be detrimental.

The fear is not so much that students will carry out violent attacks on others, but on themselves. The apprehension is that students will have easy access to means of committing suicide.

Current suicide statistics for college students shows that students are a third more likely to commit suicide by use of a firearm than compared to the general public.

All of these arguments will hopefully be taken into consideration as Arkansas continues to address gun related laws.

So, of course enjoy your Valentine’s Day, but remember to be safe . . .  pun intended.

“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of Arkansas State University.


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