When Chancellor Rebecca Blank sat down with The Badger Herald editors last week, she emphatically opposed proposed legislation that would allow concealed carry weapons on campus.
“I don’t think there’s anyone on a college campus that doesn’t look at those shootings and say, but for the grace of God, that could happen here at any moment,” Blank said. “This [proposal] is one, I must say, [that] defies common sense.”
Chancellor Rebecca Blank: Concealed carry proposal ‘defies common sense’University of Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank says she would not send her daughter to a college that allows concealed weapons Read…
Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, and Sen. Devin LeMahieu, R-Oostburg, proposed the Campus Carry Act Oct. 12, a bill that if enacted would legalize concealed carry within buildings on public college campuses. Scarier yet, the legislation would apply to dorms and Camp Randall.
Despite a 2011 state law that permits concealed carry on public university campuses, institutions like University of Wisconsin were legally able to ban firearms from campus buildings.
Kremer says the proposal was not in response to the routine shootings seen on college campuses, but is an effort to increase student safety for students who have to travel through dangerous neighborhoods to get to school.
But that sentiment entirely disregards the epidemic of mass shootings on college campuses that only our nation sees.
While we in no way seek to abolish the Second Amendment, nor do we want to curb the rights of gun owners, the idea of injecting firearms into campus to increase safety among the student body is counterintuitive at best.
Lawmakers release bill to allow concealed weapons on UW campusesTwo legislators proposed a bill Monday that would allow concealed firearms to be carried inside buildings on public college campuses. Read…
The proliferation of guns on public campuses, according to the bill’s authors, is necessary for the sake of leveling the playing field between the bad-guy gun-wielders and the good-guy ones. Give the good-guys guns, the argument goes, and instances of violent crime will decrease because they can intervene.
But in reality, this never happens.
Legislation in recent years has made it even easier to carry firearms in public places throughout the nation. But as the Mother Jones investigation shows, it’s uncommon for armed citizens to intervene. Many law enforcement officials don’t support this type of legislation because it makes their job harder.
UW Police Department Chief Susan Riseling agrees.
“More guns is definitely not the answer and it certainly is not the answer in an educational institution. There is absolutely no data that supports that concealed carry makes people safer. It may make those people who carry feel safer, but it doesn’t make the general population feel safer,” Riseling told Upfront with Mike Gousha.
But Kremer told the Wisconsin State Journal that not allowing concealed carry is jeopardizing the safety of students. “We’re basically treating our college students as lesser citizens. We’re disarming them and allowing these thugs free reign over the neighborhood.”
Giving students the means to accidentally — or purposefully — shoot a fellow student within university buildings is reckless and dangerous, and does nothing to stop these so-called “thugs.”
Individuals under age 21 cannot legally obtain handguns, eliminating much of the dorm-age population. But the negative impact of the influx of guns on campus would still be felt by much of the student body — and the surrounding community.
Take, for example, a home football game against a Big Ten rival like Nebraska or Ohio State. In an environment of fans hazy from pre-game parties or bar crawls combined with an antagonistic atmosphere, it’s not unrealistic to imagine the destruction a gun could cause in a stadium which hosts more than 80,000 people.
Proponents argue that gun-free zones leave us as sitting ducks, but it’s actually allowing guns that would have that effect.
“I can’t be the only parent who feels that way about safety on campus particularly given the sort of shooting incidents, combined with the problems that we and every other campus have on alcohol abuse, on large crowds,” Blank said.
Meanwhile, educators are fearful for the future atmosphere of classroom dynamics should this proposal be enacted.
UW professor of public affairs Don Moynihan pointed out that adding firearms will “dramatically change” the relationship between students, staff and faculty. Instead of fostering a situation in which staff and faculty could intervene in the lives of students in a positive way, educators may instead begin to view struggling students as potential threats.
Not only would this bill add strain to student-faculty relations, but also peer relationships on campus. By essentially authorizing students to take out any perceived threat they see in fellow students, rather than offering assistance, the bill skirts around the true issues behind school shootings.
In a perfect world, we would be able to clearly identify “good-guys” and arm them to protect society against these “bad-guys” with guns, but this is not a game of “Cops and Robbers.” Blank is right when she says the proposal defies common sense.