No need to pack heat on campus
Published: Sunday, January 30, 2011
Updated: Sunday, January 30, 2011 14:01
Seeing as UCF is a public university, our school is permitted to set up rules and regulations that its students must follow while simultaneously following guidelines for all universities enacted by the state of Florida.
For the most part, we feel that the university's rules are realistic and befitting to the college lifestyle without being too stringent.
One major stipulation that applies to universities across the Sunshine State is the total ban of guns on campus, but it's quite possible that could change in the near future.
In December, Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, filed Senate Bill 0234 and if passed, it would allow students to bring concealed weapons to campus and permit those with a concealed weapon permit to carry their guns openly.
Evers and others who support the bill believe that allowing students to have guns would serve as a protection mechanism against robbers or criminals who target college students knowing that they're unarmed.
Others cite incidents like the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, arguing that the gunman could have been stopped if other students had been armed.
We understand the logic behind these arguments and safety is a huge concern on campuses all across America, but we do not agree.
Guns are extremely dangerous weapons and more than once have we seen incidents where young lives are taken due to carelessness.
It was only a few weeks ago when Florida State University student Ashley Cowie was accidentally shot and killed while a fellow FSU student showed her the accessories he'd recently purchased for his rifle.
On top of that, students aren't trained to handle shooter situations and adding another gun into the mixture could make the situation even more volatile.
A courageous student may step up in that type of situation hoping to be a hero, but instead end up killing innocent bystanders if his or her aim isn't on spot or if they don't know how to properly negotiate with the shooter.
Students shouldn't feel scared while on campus, but there are ways to combat that fear without buying a gun.
UCF offers self-defense classes, which some argue is even more effective than a weapon when it comes to protecting yourself.
There's also the Safety Escort Patrol Service, especially for students who would prefer not to have to walk around campus alone and several emergency buttons located around campus if a student needs police or medical assistance.
With all these measures, we simply don't believe guns are necessary on campus and think that allowing students to carry them into class, at football games or otherwise could cause more harm than good.
Shooting incidents like the one that occurred at Virginia Tech are extremely rare, and we don't believe students should be armed in preparation for rare incidents like that all the time; it can only create paranoia and fear.
In fact, we feel that if students knew several of their classmates had guns it could create uneasiness in the classroom and may even prevent students from coming to class.
Simply put, school is a place for learning, not weapons.
We're not the only ones with this sentiment — currently Utah is the only state that allows guns on campuses and that's the way most campus police and officials prefer.
"You have young people still learning how to be adults, and unfortunately alcohol and drugs are part of that equation on campus," FSU Chief of Police David Perry said in an interview with the Miami Herald. "This is a place of learning and nurturing and you shouldn't be put in a position where you feel intimidated by someone walking around with a gun."
Guns may be able to provide extra safety for those who have the exceptional skill and knowledge pertaining to firearms, but that does not reflect the majority of students on college campuses.
There are many alternative ways to protect yourself without carrying around a loaded weapon.
If, however, the bill is passed, we hope politicians require colleges to have a database of all the students and staff carrying weapons on campus as well as provide them all with gun safety and protection classes.