Guns on campus. Regardless of your political stance on guns, those three words are sure to invoke emotion. The inherent presence of strong emotion existent in this subject bars our minds from thinking critically and collaborating with each other in order to find the best solution. It is time that we take a deep breath, shed the political party affiliation and focus on figuring out how to make our campuses safer.
Let us looks at some bare facts. Guns are already legal to have on campus in the state of Florida, however they are only allowed inside of the gun owner’s car. Guns have already been illegally possessed at UCF, which was evident in the recent Tower I incident. Most violent crimes are ended within seconds while police are usually minutes away. Criminals do not care to break an extra law when they already plan on violently assaulting someone. Finally, there is no empirical evidence that banning guns on campus has any effect on the violent crime rate. According to research conducted by Philip Mongan and Robert Walker in “The Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions,” there is no real difference in violent crime rates between campuses that allow guns and those that ban them.
If allowing guns on campus does not put the college community in more danger as a whole, why should we force individuals to be without the means of viable self defense?
This also raises the question, “Why would anybody need a gun to defend themselves?” Guns have always been known as the great equalizers. Before guns were invented, one would need physical strength to be able to defend himself or herself. Now, even a 90-pound girl can defend herself from three large aggressors with the simple pull of a trigger. With the current laws, those who are not as physically capable are at the mercy of those who are larger than them. Beyond that, criminals who intend to attack someone often carry an illegal weapon in order to have an even greater advantage.
So what does the current law do? It does not prevent guns from being carried on campus, it does not keep students from owning guns and it does not reduce the rate of violent crime on campus. All this law does is legally endanger those who are not familiar with the law and physically endanger those who are forced to go to class without the right to protect his or her life.
Austin Wallace is president of the Gun Club at UCF.