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United States

Should Firearms be Allowed on College Campuses?

March 21, 2016

Eleven thousand five hundred ninety-one people have been killed by guns in Georgia since 2001.  This statistic is two times the number of American people killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars combined (Fact Sheet: Georgia Gun Violence).  There is an increasing number of places allowing guns; forty-five states allow firearms to be carried openly.  In Georgia, on March 11th, 2016, “[the] Senator motion[ed] to resolve [the] debate during the debate on HB [House Bill] 859, which would legalize firearms on all public colleges in Georgia” (Torres).  Georgia is the ninth state to allow guns on college campuses (Bluestein).  For students to obtain a license to be a holder of firearms, they must pass a background screening, but no training is required.  Therefore, it is frighteningly easy to carry a gun on public campus grounds.  Guns should be banned on college campuses because when mixed with alcohol, greater issues can arise, and firearms are a scare to all members of the college campus community.  

When teens go to college, they leave behind their parents, and often times, young adults, usually under the age of 21, do not think about the implications of going out and getting drunk.    When alcohol enters the body, it travels to the brain.  Slowly, it affects vision, coordination, and the ability to make good judgements.  On average, 1,825 college students ages 18-24 die every year due to alcohol related accidents (College Drinking).  Students who get drunk and carry firearms have a higher chance of causing injuries and deaths because of their poor decision making when under the influence of alcohol, causing a dramatic increase in the drunk-death statistic. A Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America stated, “Students understand is already rife with risk factors, including drugs, alcohol and academic pressures. Adding guns to that mix is dangerous and irresponsible” because more risks are at hand (Reindl).  Young adults may not be able to control their weapons when they are drunk.  This is an immediate issue in regards to guns and other weapons because there can be deadly repercussions.

The possession of firearms poses a huge threat to all of the members of the college community, especially students.  A CNN reporter stated, “[A]n argument at a University of Georgia fraternity escalated when a student pulled out a semi-automatic handgun and started firing” (Reindl).  A 21 year old boy fired his gun into the air as a warning after two neighboring fraternity houses had a disagreement; his single shot showed him as more powerful than his unarmed peers.  Though no one was hurt, this shot could have led to greater consequences--death.  Legalizing guns on college campuses transforms a safe living-learning environment to a hostile college world.  

Also, it is almost impossible to regulate where gun holders bring their guns.  Davis, an AJC reporter said, “People at public colleges in Georgia [can] carry handguns in most areas on campus, including classrooms, cafeterias and libraries” (Davis).  It is not fair to innocent students to have to walk and live on their campus in fear that someone could start shooting.  The latest legislation stated that guns and firearms could be carried anywhere on campus except for dormitories, athletic event, fraternities, and sororities.  Other places, such as music festivals, classrooms, and child-care centers, are not protected under this recent bill (Bluestein).  Student gun rights puts teachers’ children at risk because guns are not banned at campus daycare centers.  For obvious safety reasons in regards to children, Governor Nathan Deal would like to exclude campus day-cares from this act about where guns should be allowed.  On the other hand, John Monroe, a member of the gun rights group said, “There’s no need to exempt day care centers from the campus carry legislation” (Bluestein).  He believes this because people carry guns in public places where there are children; this includes parks, malls, school carpool.  This is a mindset that needs to be changed about guns.       

Most professors and administrators agree fully that guns should not be allowed around campuses.  Since police are equipped with a gun at all time, they have a strong stand on this debate.  “We believe firearms on campus in the hands of anyone other than trained and certified law enforcement professionals is an irresponsible law and places us more at risk,” said Hope, the chief police at Agnes Scott College (Samuel).  He believes that only trained professionals should be allowed to freely carry firearms because otherwise, everyone is put at risk of being killed at any moment in time.  Trained professionals know how to handle a gun in stressful situations, and they know when to use the deadly weapon.  Other people may think that there are no boundaries for when to use it; others, especially adolescents, may not know how to act and respond appropriately and responsibly.   

Though some people may think that the possession of firearms can be beneficial in the event of an active shooting, this is not the case.  In college, students are pressured by grades, peers, alcohol, and many more factors; adding guns to college students’ lives is the wrong move.  This legislation may result in more campus deaths due to poor decisions by drunk students who possess firearms; nervousness while being on a supposedly safe campus pressures students as well.  Everyone is put at risk when guns are in the air; no one should have to live this way as they are trying to get an education on a college campus.

                                                            Works Cited
Bluestein, Greg. "Nathan Deal Fires a Warning Shot on Campus Carry Measure | Political Insider
        Blog." Political Insider Blog. 14 Mar. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2016.
"College Drinking." College Drinking. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
Davis, Janel. "Law Allowing Guns on Georgia's Colleges Likely." AJC. Law Allowing Guns on
        Georgia's Colleges Likely. 5 Mar. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
“Fact Sheet: Georgia Gun Violence.” Center for American Progress. Web. 21 Mar. 2016.                    
Reindl, Jade, and Jean Cocco. "Say No to Guns on College Campuses (Opinion)." CNN. Cable
        News Network, 26 Feb. 2015. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
Samuel, Molly. "Opponents Of Guns On Ga. College Campuses Speak Out." Opponents Of Guns
        On Ga. College Campuses Speak Out. 8 Feb. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.
Torres, Kristina. "Georgia Passes 'campus Carry' Bill Legalizing Guns at Colleges." AJC.
        Georgia Passes 'campus Carry' Bill Legalizing Guns at Colleges. 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

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