I recently blogged about legislation headed to the Oklahoma House that would allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on university and college campuses. Not long before that, I wrote about similar legislation coming out of Texas.
Apparently, there are more than a dozen states considering legislation that would allow professors and students to bring loaded guns into their classrooms, according to this article from CNN.
The article is written by Amitai Etzioni, a sociologist and professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including "Security First" and "New Common Ground."
He said there is an inherent problem with this kind of approach to guns:
The drafters of these bills seem to have an image of peaceful students, bent over their books, suddenly attacked by gunslingers who materialize from nowhere. They ignore that students can and do shoot people on campus.
He argues that there aren't (and probably won't ever be) measures to ensure that mentally unstable people don't have access to guns:
And if it were ever created, I expect the National Rifle Association and various state legislatures would strenuously oppose submitting millions of students and professors, or anyone else, to such a test before they could purchase a firearm.
And there's also the issue of allowing students, specifically, to carry weapons. I may be generalizing here, but I'm pretty sure college students tend to drink more than other age groups, and, it's my fair opinion that alcohol and guns just don't mix (although don't get me wrong, I love beer camp, I mean, deer camp just as much as the next New Englander). So, I think he has a good point, the student body is a typically volatile group of people:
Worse, long before anyone storms into a classroom, some students will use their guns -- when their anger boils over, when they have one drink too many or their girlfriend makes out with someone else -- to shoot someone.
His argument is to make guns less accessible, not more. After all, he writes: "Nobody can kill 16 people from a clock tower with a knife."
What do you think? Would allowing students to carry guns make campuses more or less safe? What about campus security? Would it be more difficult to secure a campus knowing students may be carrying weapons?