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On-Campus Gun Laws

Updated on January 13, 2015
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My Background

Different parts of the US see gun laws very differently, and I happen to live in one of those states where people are considered to be, to a degree, a little extremist on the issue. I'm talking about Montana, known for its prevalence of Hunters and it's imagery of the 'Great Outdoors'. I'm certainly not in criticism of guns in general, but having been part of a college community, I've seen a unique perspective on the application of laws most people take for granted, thinking they're fundamentally sound. I grew up in a family with zero household guns, but watched as friends would go out hunting every other weekend. I've personally shot everything from .38's to 12-gauge db's to full auto AK's (technically illegal), but am still not a huge proponent of the things. I was also told, growing up, that the importance of everyday people owning guns was a matter of protecting the rights of citizens-- that in a time of tyranny, people could rise against a government. I believe that this may be good in theory, but its application is too complex to hold weight in my argument. I am perhaps most accurately labelled as a strong liberal with conservative tendencies in areas outside of social issues.

That Small Chance of Utility

As a disclaimer, this isn't what swayed me to make my decision, but I think it's a weak argument to choose to carry a firearm in the event of some public attack. Even to those individuals who admit the small probability of some gun-worthy situation, I find that the probability is so low that planning for it is ridiculous.

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Carrying Can Increase Chance of Unwanted Use

99.9 percent of people who own and carry guns are probably never going to use it against someone else, but of that .1 percent, I have a hard time believing that it will:

A) be their only option

B) be their best option

C) be preventative of some heinous crime

It seems to me, as you encourage people to purchase guns (and I say encourage for a reason- ill get to it in a later paragraph), you not only increase the population of that .1%, but you may also be making the percentage itself rise since you're enabling use within the wrong denomination of citizens. Remember, I'm not arguing against gun rights anywhere except for school campuses. That is, unless an area in question is in someway regarded to be worthy of those rights for special circumstances.

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College Students Aren't Always In The Right Mind

For any readers who may not have had the opportunity or did not choose to take it, let me inform you of the student lifestyle in college. The majority of kids are good natured, undoubtedly. After all, they're there mostly to pursue some worthwhile career. However college students are also immersed in a culture shrouded in drinking, fraternity/sorority, and frankly, late-night shenanigans. Those which are inclined to participate actively in such a culture are also the demographic who is most likely going to own a firearm given the resources and opportunity.

In my own opinion, if there is any one group of people on this planet who I would not want to give guns too (aside from perhaps some militants intending imminent harm upon another group), it would most certainly be the drunken, fun-seeking, and mob-minded students of America. Now this may sound harsh, and indeed I am a student myself and rarely see any behavior that matches this description, but that doesn't mean I haven't seen it.

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College Campuses Are Already Acceptably Safe

Anyone who has visited a college campus knows that there are always campus security out and about. They are there for a purpose, and I have yet to hear of any incident where officers have responded inappropriately to serious threats to students.

They are explicitly hired to protect the well-being of students and undermining them with the ideology that students can protect themselves better may perhaps not be the smartest move to make.

Carrying A Gun Isn't Always Socially Acceptable

This may be one of the weaker arguments to propose in this decision, however I also believe that there are some individuals who would weight this issue quite heavily. That is, college is supposed to be a time for the highest level of socializing, where you can enter into large groups and make yourself approachable by as many people as possible. It's kind of part of that maturation phase to college that makes people get out there and push their social barriers away.

If a student were to enter a social setting with a firearm, that we'll say for all intents and purposes is attached to his hip, people might find that off-putting. It's not a stretch by any means to suggest that. That individual ends up getting avoided more than most others, and now you have not only diminished one of the greatest aspects of college for that individual, but you may have also made the one person in the room with a gun the least happy in the room. Not that this means there is any significant probability of him deciding to make use of the weapon at his side, but most would agree it's a situation that they would like to avoid.

College Students Shouldn't Don't Have A Significant Need For Guns

My friend brought up hunting as one of his primary points. Essentially, his words exactly were "All I used my rifles for are to go out occasionally and shoot a buck!". Now, my response to this was more or less "okay, and how many times did you do that?". His answer--once. And his prize for the day was taken home, not to his dorm, but to his actual home, which was several hours away.

This brings me to the fact that, as a college student, even though you have the right to hunt, it isn't necessarily a feasible way to spend your time. I get it, college students are supposed to be poor. But if you're starving, there are other alternatives. Studying and socializing should already take up enough time, so why not leave guns at home and hunt from there if you really have that desire?

All I'm saying is that if the loss of hunting is your biggest personal hit to a no-guns-allowed campus, then you'll probably be alright.

#$%@ Happens

It's a very strong way to drive in my last point, but it's accurate and fundamental to the overarching philosophy I have towards firearms, not just in schools, but in the public. Essentially, just in America, there are over 300,000,000 people. Unfortunately, not everyone is guaranteed a satisfactory life, and there is always a chance that a percentage of the population will just end up not being right in the head so to speak. As the number of people have increased over the years, so to have the occurrences in which those unhealthily minded people break some sort of interpersonal barrier and sought to cause harm to others. Around us we see school shootings and bomb threats in the news, and some are audacious enough to claim that there must be some sure-fire way to prevent such "tragedies". I see it from the more pessimistic, but perhaps more pragmatic way-- some people lose their grasp on morality and decide to act out, and there's not a whole lot us other citizens of the world can do about it.

I would argue that this is part of the social contract; that when we allow ourselves to be placed alongside others, and acknowledge that they too are pursuing goals similar to ours, we open ourselves up in a sort of trusting relationship with them. We must inherently give them opportunities to do us harm so that we can all function in a logistical way. Sure, we could all walk around wearing bullet-proof clothing and work/communicate with each other through digital devices and nothing else, but would that reality be preferable to the status quo? I wouldn't think so. To propose any real solution to the rare event in which an already-trusted individual takes it upon themselves to harm another would also be a proposition to limit personal freedom to an uncomfortable and unreasonable degree.

This runs parallel with gun-rights for the most part, but specifically to college campuses, where I have personally heard students jest at their sidearms saying "if anyone pulls a gun out on campus, I'll be there!"

Lets avoid that now shall we?

Please Comment Below

I am very interested in hearing your opinion on this; especially if your opinions are not the same as my own. If I feel we have a possible civilized argument to engage in, I will do so!

Thanks for reading!

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