I am turning in this paper today.
It is in no way what I had hoped it would be but I think it will do ok for a grade.
I wanted to let you guys have a look at it.
Hope it is a good read atleast.
Concealed Carry on Campus
Imagine a normal, average day just like any other. You get up, brush your teeth and take a shower. You get to class on time and are waiting for the lesson to start. Then from down the hall you hear something you never expected to hear in a place of learning. The gunshots ring out through the hallways deafening and frightening. You immediately know something is wrong as all of the innate animal parts of your brain begin to take over. Your senses are heightened and time seems to slow down as the adrenalin begins pumping in your veins. Your instinct of fight or flight starts to take over and in this instant you have a choice to run and hide or fight. This is where the story splits into two very different possible endings. If you were not in school or on a college campus, you would have the right and the option to be armed to protect yourself as long as you are not a felon, have taken the proper training and passed the proper background checks. You could be one of the millions of concealed carry permit holders that believe your personal security is in your own responsibility first. But since you are in a â€˜gun freeâ€™ zone, the only one with a weapon is the person who broke the law and is now putting your life in danger. I believe that college campuses would be safer if concealed carry by licensed individuals and teachers were allowed. What are some of the laws that govern the â€˜gun freeâ€™ zones and weapon policies on school campuses? Why is it that most shootings that become known as â€œMassacresâ€ happen in what are known as â€˜gun freeâ€™ zones where the carrying of a gun is prohibited? What are some of the reasons someone would decide to go on a rampage like the Virginia Tech or Columbine shootings? What are some circumstances where lives have been saved by someone with a gun? What steps need to be made so that individuals with the proper training can carry on school campuses?
Schools around the world are considered safe havens for children and any time a death occurs at one it is a tragedy. Unfortunately many schools are made even more dangerous due to measures put in place to try and make them safer. In 1990 Congress passed â€œThe Gun Free School Zone Actâ€ which made it a federal offense to carry a firearm into a school zone. In her book Gun Control and Gun Rights, Constance Emerson Crooker a retired defense lawyer writes about the 1990 bill stating: â€œBut there was a flaw in this law that surfaced after it passed. It made a federal crime out of what had traditionally fallen within the jurisdiction of local and state authorities â€" regulation of conduct on and around school grounds. How could federal authorities possibly claim a legitimate interest in regulating such conduct?â€ (Crooker 94). When this bill was brought before the Supreme Court they found it was unconstitutional since it had nothing to do with interstate commerce. Upon this law being found unconstitutional a new form of the bill was reworded to add the need for interstate commerce to be affected. This in turn only made some things a federal offense pertaining to guns on school campuses. Crooker states that â€œAlthough lawyers frequently point out the tenuous connection between a gun that has, at some point in its history crossed a state line, and interstate commerce, judges are quick to uphold any Commerce Clause connection when it comes to guns.â€ (Crooker 95). This shows that even when there is almost no true connection to interstate commerce being affected a judge is more likely to allow charges to increase to the federal level even when not appropriate. This gun law in effect made it more of a crime to bring a gun onto campus with bad intentions, but also made it more of a risk for the law abiding to bring a firearm for protection. State laws also cover the carrying and possession of a weapon on school campuses and compound upon the federal laws in place. These laws in effect neuter the general publicâ€™s ability to protect themselves. When a girl is walking across campus at night is it not her right to protect herself? Should she fear the repercussions of defending herself more than the possible murderer or rapist? (Crooker 94-95)
The Virginia Tech shootings took place on a â€˜gun freeâ€™ campus. In the book Children and Guns the third volume in the Exploring Gun use in America series written by Mathew Kachur it states â€œOne law school professor stated that â€œby and large, American schools are â€˜gun free.â€™ Thatâ€™s why criminals are free to murder students without fear of opposition.â€ (60). What this statement is saying is when a normal law abiding citizen sees a sign stating something is not allowed they will obey happily. When a criminal sees the same sign they are unlikely to obey it unless there is an immediate threat of punishment that outweighs the profit. With students of all types this same mentality can be present. They know that their intended victims are unarmed so they are more confident that their plans will work. They have already broken the law to obtain the weapon most of the time so what is breaking a few more laws going to matter. Oregon is one of the states that does allow concealed carry on their campuses but does not allow employees of the school to carry. In an article by Katie Ash in Education Week entitled â€œTeacher Gun Rights Fire Up Both Sides In Ore., Michiganâ€ she writes about a teacher who wants to carry in class:
â€œOregon law allows anyone with a concealed-weapons license to carry guns into public buildings, but most school districts have rules barring employees from carrying weapons onto school grounds.
"It is absolutely legal for her to carry a gun," said Kevin Starrett, the executive director of the Canby, Ore.-based Oregon Firearms Federation, which is paying for the teacher's lawsuit. The education establishmentâ€¦ is eager to protect anyone from sexual harassment, but when a teacher wants to protect herself they're willing to throw her under a bus." (20).
This teacher is trying to protect herself from a violent ex-husband. Is this not something she has a right to instead of having to choose between her job and her safety? (Kauhur 60) (Ash 20)
R. Murray Thomas a University of California retired psychology professor writes about some of the reasons violence can happen inside a school in his book Violence in Americaâ€™s Schools; Understanding, Prevention and Responses. Thomas list gang warfare, bullying, affairs of the heart, showing off or boasting and rebelling against authority. Thomas quotes Ted Feinberg who, when talking about school shootings said â€œOne of the common areas that binds all of the school shooters together is all of them were the victim of bullying are some of the common factors in school violence. Their lives were made miserable. What we have also found is many of them felt there is no other recourse to stop this behavior other than going home and getting a weaponâ€ (qtd. In Thomas 24). When a student is picked on and finally pushed to the limit if there is no one there to stop the internal rage it could end up in disaster. This is basically what happened in the Columbine shootings. These two boys were pushed to the point that it seemed murder was their only option. With their common plight and goal they planned and executed one of the worst school shootings in United States history. Thomas also states later in the text that â€œLove triangles and the rejection of lovers are sometimes blamed for deadly weapons violenceâ€ (25). With adolescents who are new to the feelings of love they may react harshly without thinking when things go wrong in a relationship. They may decide that if they cannot have someone then no one else can have them either. Sometimes there can be many reasons that build upon each other. Donald K. Pumroy in an article entitled "What Caused the Tragedy at Virginia Tech?" in Behavior Analysis Digest International talks about Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter in the Virginia Tech case. Pumroy says Cho was said to have had family problems growing up due to a lack of communication, had a hard time learning the language when he came to America and was bullied in school due to his lack of communication. Pomroy in talking about Choâ€™s problem with communication states â€œIt is likely that he relied more and more upon his imagination. He told others that he had a girlfriend, which we now understand to have been untrue. He tried to make contact with girls but was so inept that he failed.â€ and â€œIt is reported that his peers made fun of his way of speaking and that he was bullied in school. By the time he had graduated from high school his behavior had been shaped in two ways. First, he had learned not to talk to or trust others and second, he was very angry at those who had made fun of him.â€ (6). It seems that out of all the factors that contribute to a shooting bullying is the main culprit that pushes most assailants over the line. (Thomas 24-25) (Pumroy 6)
You may ask if there is any proof of a legal gun on a campus saving lives. In a book edited by Bryan J. Grapes entitled School violence and article titled â€œTeachers Should Be Armedâ€ written by Massad Ayoob the director of the Lethal Force Institute states when writing about legal carry in schools â€œTo many people, that suggestion sounds absurd; gentle molders of young minds should not carry lethal weapons. Yet there is good precedent for the idea. In Israel armed teachers are common, and the terrorist attacks at schools nonexistent.â€ (142). Ayoob goes on to talk about many shootings in America that have been halted or thwarted by legal weapons. He also states that the Columbine killers were slowed by the truant officer who exchanged fire with them and then the killers committed suicide when they realized they were about to be assaulted by the SWAT team. Ayoobâ€™s article goes on to write about the benefits that could be gained by allowing trained teachers the option of carrying a concealed weapon on school grounds. Criminals of all types are less likely to try to rob or assault someone they believe is armed. So is it wrong to assume that students would be less likely to try to attack a class if there is a higher chance that they will be shot or killed before they can complete their task. If even one student was saved by a teacher being trained and armed would it not be worth the time and expense? Even if these trained teachers do not neutralize the shooter they may detain them long enough for police or SWAT members to get on the scene to deal with the threat. He goes on to recommend proper training and examinations of each teacher to provide the safest possible way to protect the children.(Ayoob 142-44) In an article by Lyndsey Lewis titled â€œNevada Considers Arming Professorsâ€ in the Chronicle of Higher Education talking about a proposal to arm professors in Nevada: â€œOne board member, Stavros S. Anthony, proposed a framework for the police chiefs' plan, which would authorize faculty and staff members at the eight institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education to become reserve police officers on the campuses. After undergoing psychological and background screenings, college employees would receive 21 weeks of police training at a cost of about $3,500 per person, which would probably be paid for by the colleges. Eventually, the trainees would return to their campuses armed and ready to take on potential dangers.â€(Lewis A20). This article shows that now after the Virginia Tech shooting and others like it that have happened recently many feel it is better to have armed and trained teachers and citizens on campus. How could the events in Blacksburg, Virginia have been changed if just one law abiding citizen or a teacher had been armed to face Cho? If one officer could hold up the two Columbine killers what could two or three teachers have accomplished? (Ayoob 142) (Lewis A20)
Students across the country are showing their support for concealed carry on college campuses. The group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus at (http://concealedcampus.org
) is a group that began after the events at Virginia Tech to show there are students who want their given right to protect themselves while on or off a college campus. This group of students numbers more than 22,000 and is growing. They have organized â€˜empty holsterâ€™ protests at memberâ€™s colleges to openly show their support for concealed carry on campuses across the US. Groups like the National Rifle Association (http://www.nra.org/
) and Gun Owners of America (http://www.gunowners.org/
) lobby for carry rights in Washington, D.C., at the state level and even locally. Groups like these are the backbone of the political fight against rampant gun control. The group Grass Roots North Carolina is a true grassroots group dedicated to keeping the 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms alive in North Carolina. Many of these groups believe that armed citizens are the best defense against crime and tyranny. Is it not a crime to leave children guarded only by unarmed adults when they may be faced with well armed assailants? It will take a unified effort from groups like the ones mentioned above as well as students, teachers and other faculty in order to make headway in the fight towards concealed carry on college campuses. Lawmakers will have to be shown that there is a general interest before they will risk looking bad to do what is right.
While the topic of concealed carry on a college campus is touchy it is one that has become more vocal since the Virginia Tech shootings. In order to get a concealed carry permit in the state of North Carolina you must first take a course that includes 8 hours or more of training as well as being fingerprinted and having a background check completed by the local Sheriffâ€™s office. This course covers concealed carry laws, firearms safety, gun care and actual shooting to show you are proficient with your weapon. With classes costing from $60 all the way into the multiple hundreds of dollars and state fees from $90 or more it is evident people want to protect themselves. Even if there were more requirements or training for someone to be able to carry on campus I am sure there would be a waiting list for the classes. Most concealed carry classes I have looked into have waiting list due to the increasing number of people interested in carrying concealed. Even with my military training I am required to take the concealed carry class and will be taking the concealed carry course in the next few weeks and applying for my permit. I know that I would happily take extra classes and training if they were offered so that I may carry a firearm on campus. I would do this not only for my own protection from the Choâ€™s of the world but also to protect the lives of everyone else trying to gain an education and educate me.