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Dangers of an armed campus

Some universities are motioning for guns on campus to protect against sexual assault

Ten states across the country currently have lawmakers working to create bills that would allow the carrying of firearms on campus. Having guns on campuses could lead to accidents and an uncomfortable student body.

College campuses are supposed to be safe areas where students can feel comfortable and stress-free among their fellow classmates. Bringing guns on campus, as some in the nation are wont to do, wouldn’t help with that environment.

Yet there are currently ten states that have lawmakers working on bills that would allow college campuses to permit the carrying of firearms, including Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming.

Having firearms on campus would be an absolute disaster. Not only would it make students feel uncomfortable at their home away from home, but it would create high-risk situations between students.

For many students, college campuses may also go hand in hand with drinking alcohol. Students that are under the influence of alcohol would not be responsible candidates to carry a gun around with them for protection.

“I don’t think it’s right,” said freshman geography major Alice Taylor, “if I know people are walking around armed then it would make me feel less safe and more wary of people.”

The supporters of firearms on campus argue that female students who arm themselves are better protected from sexual assault attacks.

“If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them,” said Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, the sponsor of a bill in Nevada, “the sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”

Aside from Fiore’s offensive language when she refers to women on college campuses as “hot little girls,” her point does not make a strong case for itself. Many times, sexual assault comes from someone the victim knew, a friend, or with someone where it begins as a consensual situation.

“If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to noncensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun,” said John D. Foubert, and Oklahoma State University professor and the national president of One in Four, an education program on sexual assault on college campus.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) reported that in 80-90% of rape cases on campus, the victim and assailant know one another. It is doubtful that the victim would be sitting armed while he or she believes that they are in the presence of a friend, so carrying a gun for protection in this situation would be pointless.

Arming college students is a poor solution to the problem with sexual assault on campus, and only promotes a violent student body and the possibility of escalating situations. College programs and campus safety should instead work to keep their universities safe so the risk of assaults are low.

UMBC has a police station right on campus, and it has blue light emergency phones located along the sidewalks and buildings. One touch directly connects students to the department. The university also has bicycle patrols, student marshals, patrol vehicles, segway patrols and security officers.

Universities should not want their students to feel victimized to a point where their only source of protection is arming themselves with weapons. College campuses are meant to be safe places for students to feel at ease, focus on their studies and create memories with friends.

Sexual assaults on college campuses are a major issue and need to be dealt with, but arming the student body is not the solution. It is a slippery slope, and could potentially lead to accidental injuries, and even death. College campuses are not meant to be home to firearms.