Guns Should Not Be Allowed On College Campuses

Tuesday, March 8, 2022 1:55:34 AM

Guns Should Not Be Allowed On College Campuses

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Could not load trending articles. An ASU spokesperson declined to comment on the campus carry effort, deferring to the response provided by the Board of Regents. Bolick said change from the university is unlikely, so the most plausible way to get guns on campus is through the Legislature, and lawmakers could soon have a timely opening for lawmakers to reconsider the issue. The U. A gun policy expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy expects that decision could have implications on the public carry and use of guns, which may shape conversations on campus carry.

State lawmakers have several times tried — and failed — to allow guns on Arizona's university and community college campuses. Students think they may have a window by starting discussions now and advocating for the inclusion of campus carry in the Republican-majority agenda when the legislative session starts in January, Pitts said. An early push at the state Capitol came in , the year after the Virginia Tech shooting that left 32 people dead and 17 wounded and became the deadliest school shooting in the nation.

The event sparked national debates on gun violence and campus safety, including support for campus carry. Arizona lawmakers at the time discussed a bill that would allow those 21 and older with concealed carry permits to have guns at public colleges and universities, with the argument they could help limit violent crime or shootings on campus. The bill did not make it through.

Jan Brewer vetoed it, saying it was poorly written and had confusing wording. Brewer previously had signed bills to permit people to carry concealed weapons without a permit and to allow guns in bars and in restaurants that serve alcohol. Before the campus carry bill made it to Brewer, the three university presidents, faculty organizations and campus police chiefs came out in opposition to guns on campus because of the potential for dangerous situations.

And the push was renewed again in early , three months after the shooting on the NAU campus. Sonny Borrelli, R-Bullhead City, introduced a bill then to allow students and faculty at public universities and colleges to carry concealed weapons on campus after getting carry permits from the Department of Public Safety. He said at the time people should be able to defend themselves if needed.

Some states also have blanket bans on guns on college campuses altogether, and others explicitly say guns are legal on campuses, said Alex McCourt, director of legal research for the Johns Hopkins center. There are not a lot of studies on campus carry specifically, McCourt said, but there is a growing body of research on the effects of carrying guns in public places more generally as gun laws have relaxed in recent decades. A handful of states allow people to carry guns on campus, but often with stipulations that they are concealed or that owners have a permit. The Texas law coincidentally took effect on campuses on the 50th anniversary of the University of Texas Tower shooting in , one of the first mass shootings, when a student fired from the iconic campus tower before students and others grabbed their own rifles and helped police fire back.

More than a dozen people were killed, and dozens more were injured. In Arizona, individuals 18 and older can purchase and carry guns, so depending on how a campus carry law is written, many students may be eligible to carry. McCourt said a big concern about campus carry is the unique nature of college environments. He said while people push for guns on campus to be able to defend against mass shootings, those events are rare. The bigger concern on college campuses relates to acts of aggression, interpersonal conflicts and most importantly, suicide or self-harm attempts, he said. The worry about more accidental discharge or misuse of guns is something people pushing the initiative will need to continue to debate, Pitts of College Republicans said.

But since Arizona decided guns are not too dangerous to have everywhere off campus, that same right should extend on campus, he said.

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