Staff Editorial 4/14

The gun agenda has made its way back into the legislature. Some advocates have persistentantly argued for college students to legally pack a handgun with their notebooks and pencils.

Two weeks ago, Arizona passed a measure that could allow licensed students and staff members to carry firearms in open view while walking or driving through campus. Meanwhile, a bill permitting concealed handguns on Texas college campuses won a second round of approval by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Up next is a vote by the Texas Senate and a similar bill is awaiting a vote in the House, where it is likely to pass.

The bill prohibits universities from banning concealed handgun license holders from carrying their weapons into college classrooms. Authors of this legislation say they are trying to protect students and faculty from incidents like the devastating Virginia Tech massacre, and that it is a crucial self-defense measure.

However, the horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech was a tremendously rare occurrence, and it is not logical to enable college students to possess a glock based on that level of danger.

Moreover, how could knowing that there are guns on campus make students and faculty feel safer? Inviting weaponry on campuses,  places of learning and knowledge, can only increase risks. Amid alcohol abuse, drugs and hazing, universities are constantly wrestling with ways to protect their students. Gun ownership begs the need for cultivating and teaching students how to be responsible and exercise gun safety. Isn’t that a bit much to ask the school administration?

If students our age can be dumb enough to text and drive, how can they be expected use a firearm responsibly? Furthermore, young adults are more likely to struggle with social  and emotional developmental difficulties, which can often result in depression and substance abuse. For these reasons, making guns easily accessible on a college campus is a rash and unwise idea.

We must understand that this new risky legislation does not promise safety- it compromises it. Carrying a firearm on campus puts countless students and faculty at risk. It’s not a gun rights issue or a critical self-defense measure. Instead, the law itself creates a heavy burden for the state. Colleges and universities can find better ways to improve security.

How long until this law is enacted in Florida? Imagine people walking around on our campus with guns. What an awful thought. We need to stand up and say no to the reckless idea of mixing college students and guns.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.