As the bill to allow guns on college campuses, also known as Bill 68, moves forward, it is more important than ever for students to get involved and learn the facts of the matter.
A few weeks ago Austin Wallace wrote to the Future, arguing for guns on campus. A few weeks before that Lauren Konkol did the same thing. Both of these articles argued, based on a few main premises, that guns create a safer environment, that banning guns does not prevent violent crime and that mass shootings can be prevented by arming more students. Both Konkol and Wallace claim there is no empirical evidence to suggest banning guns is helpful, but they also failed to offer any empirical evidence for their case.
However, the data is overwhelming in favor that owning a gun actually makes you less safe. A study based on information by the Center for Injury Control detailed that, “For every time a gun is used in self-defense in the home, there are 7 assaults or murders, 11 suicide attempts and 4 accidents involving guns in or around a home.”
In a separate 10-year study based on information from the National Center for Health and Statistics, it was found that women living in states with more guns were almost five times more likely to be murdered by a gun than women in states with fewer guns.
There is also evidence that suggests that more guns may lead to more violent crimes. A study based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a strong correlation between states with higher-percentage gun ownership and higher gun deaths per population. In fact, the people living in the states with the highest gun ownership rate have a 114 percent higher chance of being murdered by a gun, than people living in states with the lowest gun ownership rate. Most important, states with tighter gun laws have a direct relationship with fewer gun deaths.
The final argument, based on an investigation by the website MotherJones, concluded that no mass shootings have been prevented in the last 30 years by an armed civilian. Even by the NRA’s own admission, the likelihood of using a gun for self-defense is comparable to a number so large it is roughly equal to number of atoms in our galaxy.
Oftentimes pro-gun supporters get caught up in the ideal of a fictional world where armed citizens are expert shots and ready to save the day. Pro-gun supporters claim there is no empirical evidence, but the majority of studies seem to support the idea that fewer guns are good for the general population. It is also worth noting that those against campus-carry are not necessarily against guns in general.
As for college students, if there is one issue to get behind it’s this one. Especially considering that a USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey found that 73 percent of Floridians oppose guns on campus, as well as many university presidents and campus police chiefs. The Council of Presidents has already estimated that guns on campus could cost $74 million to increase security. The purpose of concealed-carry is to prevent crime, so one must ask why sexual assault cases have risen in Colorado, where concealed-carry on campus is legal.
Ultimately, if you are in support of having a safe environment and a lower tuition, then you should be against guns on campus.
If you want to get involved, please contact your local legislators and let them know what you think.
Micheal Hodapp is the Vice President of College Democrats at UCF.