Should students be allowed to carry concealed handguns on college campuses?The recent shooting incident at the University of Texas last fall reignited a debate over whether people with concealed...

Should students be allowed to carry concealed handguns on college campuses?

The recent shooting incident at the University of Texas last fall reignited a debate over whether people with concealed handgun licenses should be allowed to carry their weapons on campus.

Expert Answers
belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

More guns = fewer crimes?

Fewer guns = more crimes?

Statistics and minutia can be argued until the sun goes out and will solve nothing. Solutions must come from facts and experience.

Students probably shouldn't be allowed to carry guns themselves: most school shootings are committed by students, and greater access to weapons is not a good idea. College campuses are privately secured, either by security firms or on-staff guards, and each individual school should be responsible for deciding their own levels of security.

However:

There is substantial evidence that arming teachers might be a good idea. At least two shootings that I've found were stopped or prevented by privately armed civilians -- two students, one principal. When the threat of meeting armed resistance is present, suicidal, homicidal, and just plain insane students might have second thoughts. Remember, there is no way to rationally argue with sociopathic killers. The only language they understand is the one they speak: violence.

(eNotes Wiki) --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_High_School_shooting

(Opinion Piece) --> http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2007/04/when-mass-killers-meet-armed-resistance.html

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have never understood the idea that everyone being more well armed is going to cut down on violence or crime, especially in a college setting.  It might make the person carrying the weapon feel better in the moment, but it also greatly increases the chances of one of those guns being stolen and/or used against the person carrying it, not to mention accidental discharge. (Not everyone handles guns carefully or correctly)

If I sent a son or daughter to that college, do they have the right to attend classes with a reasonable expectation that there are no weapons in the room?  The people who commit campus shootings are often either suicidal, sociopathic or both, and don't respond to deterrents (such as more people with guns) in the way that normal people might.  So what is the benefit in the situation you described?

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I approve of the private ownership of firearms, but the last place a weapon should be carried is on a college campus. Despite the recent shooting in question, college campuses are among the safest places where the public may congregate. Many campuses have their own law enforcement branches, and a police presence is usually near at hand. Just as a church is a place meant for peaceful worship (with little need for handguns), a college campus is a setting for education and social interaction--not gunplay. Additionally, the youthful age of college students and their relative immaturity and inexperience in dealing with such a possible life-threatening situation could easily lead to much more serious problems than the occasional incident as described above.   

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, they should not. I personally don't think anyone should be able to carry a concealed handgun anyplace. I understand the reasons why some people argue exceptions may need to be made for purposes of self-defense but I'm not persuaded to agree with that stance.

College campuses are locations intended for free and open exchange of ideas, offering opportunities to challenge and debate opposing opinions and points of view. If a student has to be concerned about antagonizing someone with a different stance because s/he might have a handgun available, it would greatly hamper the thought and growth that should be taking place. And if a student was not concerned, sooner or later a tragedy would occur as the result of a debate.

Jessica Pope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a few issues here for me. One is the initial idea that anyone should be allowed to carry a concealed firearm. I simply don’t agree with this, although I am a firm believer in your right to own and store a weapon in your home for yours and your family’s protection, for me this should not extend to carrying a weapon in public. As for the issue of weapons on a college campus, I do not believe that there should be any special rules or laws for students or any one on a college campus. If the laws of a given state say that you should be allowed to carry a weapon in public, I see no reason why that shouldn’t apply to a college campus. For me, there is no since of implicit safety, or pacificity about a college campus.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have serious problems with students carrying guns, even on college campuses. There is, of course, always the possibility of another attack when a handgun might be useful; but then there are all the other times. Imagine a fraternity party with a group of drunken students, all armed. Or a student walking across a darkened campus at night, hears something in the bushes, and assumes the worst. Perhaps a friendly card game that gets overheated and words are exchanged. The very convenience of having a weapon handy lends itself to the possibility that it might be used to inflict needless harm. The potential for abuse to me is far greater than the harm that might be prevented by allowing students to carry guns.

wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
While I acknowledge that each citizen has the right to bear arms, I do believe that there are certain places where this is inappropriate. Educational environments should be gun free. Teachers shouldn't have to worry about students with guns. Students should have to worry about other students with guns. I cant think of a single situation where a student would need to carry a gun onto an educational campus. I understand that the second amendment guarantees this right; however, we already have some restrictions on this point. We don't allow anyone to bring a gun into a federal building like a courthouse either. I think this restriction should be carried over to educational buildings and campus areas.
boblawrence eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First of all, shooting events on college campuses are extremely rare.  I believe that if students were allowed/encouraged to carry concealed firearms on campus, we would see a rise in accidental, suicidal and homicidal shootings on campuses.  There would still be the rare incident involving a crazed shooter(s), and it is, in my opinion, very unlikely that an armed student would successfully intervene.  Indeed, in a situation of a campus under attack, a non-professional attempting to intervene could well make things worse.  I feel campuses are safer if guns are not present.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A group of people who are consistently engaging in risky or outrageous behavior with alcohol should not regularly be carrying guns. During the school day, when it seems the danger of a shooter may be highest, I would not worry as much about bad behavior with guns and can even see their usefulness; however, the risks of guns being used by those who are impaired is frightening. Too many other abuses occur in these relatively uncontrolled settings to think that the presence of guns would add anything but more trouble to college campuses. I vote no.

megan-bright eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not very pro-gun, period. I do know that it's a constitutional right, and that many people who are licensed to own guns are very responsible and would not do anything illegal. However, it just all makes me so uneasy to realize that everyone could be carrying weapons in all types of public, crowded places. I do believe that guns are certainly needed to protect your private property and place of residence. But, what is the likelihood of needing a gun for everyday activities that are usually safe (grocery store, college, library etc)?

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely not. The American craze for guns is one of the reasons you have such an extraordinarily high murder rate. There is absolutely no reason to allow private citizens (especially hormonally challenged teens) to wander around with lethal weapons which enable tham to kill people by doing no more than moving an index finger if they happen to get upset.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I find this a scary suggestion as, as others have said, young people together in an environment like a campus are bound to have disagreements, tensions and even major disputes. This is socialisation - it is part of learning. Allowing students to arm themselves increases the tensions around any encounter and provides for escalation to fatal proportions.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I do not thing there should be guns on college campuses. College is all about making poor choices without really serious consequences. I can hardly imagine any positive benefit to adding guns to the mix of drugs, sex and all-nighters. Yes, there have been unfortunate incidents with guns on campus. More guns will not help.
ik9744 | Student

I don't think student should carry concealed handgun on a college campus. If most people bring a handgun to school, the person would feel safe, but the people that doesn't own a gun at all... They're in middle of a hazard zone with thousands of guns. Having guns also can start some bad problems, for example what if someone at the school got into a fight with another person. A physical fight, they'd probably pull the gun out, making it very or super dangerous. Since the shooting incident just happened I doubt there would be one on the same campus for at least two to three years. Anyways, a school campus is huge, even if there was a shooting you would not likely to even see them...Even  f you did you could easily hide from them since you know the campus. I'm pretty sure almost all the answers would say no to brining a weapon to school, since it could get a potential of another shoot-out but with students. I did some research on if students would want concealed handguns on their college campus and the answer is majority say no. On the article Student say no to concealed weapon it lists, "Student Perceptions and Practices Regarding Carrying Concealed Handguns on University Campuses found that 78 percent of students in the Midwest oppose allowing concealed handguns on campuses and would not obtain a permit to carry one, if it were made legal." On the same article [Students say no to concealed weapon] it also says, "About 79 percent of students would not feel safe if faculty, students, and visitors carried concealed handguns on campus.About 66 percent did not feel that carrying a gun would make them less likely to be troubled by others." So from the article you could tell majority of the students don't feel anymore safer then not bringing the guns. It makes them feel more unsafe, which is agreed by 79% of the people on campus. A majority thinks it's not safe at all. 

Short Answer:

Student should not bring concealed handguns to school since it could have some bad shoot-outs. I also did some research and found this article that I listed as reference which shows that 79% of the people don't feel it is safe to have a concealed handgun in the school.

Wiggin42 | Student

This kind of question is itself unethical and is not necessary.  Students are going to school to learn not to fight or to be feared for their life that they need to bring gun. It ridicule the purpose of education and the lessons learned  from our history. The state should protect the people and make sure they feel safe,it is not the other way around.

nirvisha | Student
Should students be allowed to carry concealed handguns on college campuses?

The recent shooting incident at the University of Texas last fall reignited a debate over whether people with concealed handgun licenses should be allowed to carry their weapons on campus.

i feel that the student should not be allowed to do that. A college is a place to get education and it should be peaceful and harmonious,not a place where everyone has to fear each other and cant even have their say.

cheezea | Student

I strongly think there is no need for students to carry hand guns. Schools are generally safe and there should not be a need for these guns within the campus.

sarahsaurusrex | Student

Schools are meant to be a safe place for students and faculty. Yes, horrible things like school shooting happen sometimes, but if everyone was on the offensive by carrying handguns, how does that stop the violence from happening? What's going to happen, is going to happen, whether you have a concealed handgun or not. I believe that people DO have a right to bear arms and defend themselves, but in school? it seems to me, that if students were allowed to carry handguns, more violence would break out. Instead of an argument between two people escallating into a verbal altercation, what would stop them if either one had a concealed weapon from shooting the other? No, i do not believe that students should carry weapons in school. Schools should be a safe place for everyone. Therefore, if the issue was to help protect people from the possibility of a shooting or bombing, or anything equally as tragic, then security should be increased.