There have been 142 school shootings in the United States since Newtown and 45 this year alone. Of those 45, 16 took place on college campuses. On November 16, Washington College in Maryland was placed on lockdown due to a shooting threat via the social media app “Yik Yak.”
With the influx of mass shootings on college campuses, law officials and state legislation are considering whether to permit guns on college campuses. Though gun laws have always been a controversial topic, the possibility of concealed carry weapons permitted on college campuses directly affects all students and needs to be addressed.
Florida State University is my home away from home, my safe place,. And I don’t want that safety taken away from me.
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, it’s up to each state how they handle and control concealed weapons on college campuses. Currently, Florida is one of the states that bans concealed weapons, but soon that may completely change. B 4005 is the new bill in Florida, also titled as “Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms,” and could possibly pass, allowing concealed weapons onto the school I call my home.
If this bill passes, then the person walking next to you can hold his handy-dandy gun in his backpack right next to his biology textbook. It’s scary that more than half of the states in this country don’t ban this act on college campuses. It’s even scarier that my state might be added to that list where concealed weapons are allowed.
I’ve seen my peers, my school and my surroundings become desensitized to mass shootings in America. As unfortunate and difficult it is to admit that as the truth, as a whole, I see that in us and I don’t know why. Is it because it’s happened so often the shock has been worn down?
Is it because we never think it will happen to us, so it doesn’t feel real? That is, until it happens to you, then it becomes real… November 20, 2015 marked the year anniversary of the shooting at Florida State University.
The FSU community as a whole experienced this shooting in their own way and it left every student shaken up, but the students at Strozier Library, specifically the workers, had a different and daunting experience from anyone else that night. “I think it’s something you can never fully prepare for and it definitely changes your perception and outlook on life,” Strozier Starbucks employee Sarah Scerbo said. “Due to the event, and even before, I do not believe guns should be allowed on campuses. It poses many threats and could get into the hands of the wrong person.”
Even at a university where a shooting has occurred, the feelings and opinions students hold about this bill vary. “There is no logical reason why allowing concealed weapons on campus would be a good idea. It wouldn’t help prevent campus shootings, it would make them more likely. An average gun owner would not be adequately trained to safely handle a shooter, and would most likely make the situation worse,” FSU sophomore Chanterelle Davis said. “The widespread availability of guns could turn a silly drunk argument deadly.”
A student on the complete opposite spectrum of this issue includes FSU senior Caitlin Bullock. “There are individuals who use guns for ill intent, but if individuals intend to do something harmful with their guns, they probably do not care whether or not they are allowed,” Bullock said. “I believe that guns should be allowed on campus. Would the outcome of the shooting last year been different if they had? The fact that they weren’t allowed didn’t stop the gunman last year.”
The general debate of gun control is a constant battle between both sides. However, this bill directly effects me and my safety on campus.
My university is supposed to be a place I can call home, a place I can feel safe. If it is decided that concealed weapons will be allowed on my campus, I won’t feel safe. I never thought I’d have to experience a school shooting, and I never want the reoccurrence of that event to become more likely if students can legally conceal weapons that are potentially right next to me. And as an ambassador, I would face difficulty in honestly sharing my safety with concerned parents and prospective students to this school.