In an unpredictable world, guns are not the enemy on school campuses.
Dixie State University, along with all other universities and colleges in Utah, allows students to carry concealed guns; however, 16 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on campus. As a student, I was relieved to hear that DSU’s campus permits concealed carry.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Utah is one of only 10 states in the U.S. that does not give universities and colleges the authority to ban concealed carry on campus because it is considered a public place.
Because a university is recognized as a public place, a student is no different than the average adult who carries a concealed gun in other public areas.
There are plenty of armed civilians in public places, so how are students on campus any different? Students are still required by law to apply for a concealed carry permit and undergo the same background checks.
Aside from entitling students to the same benefits as the average adult, they also have the right to want to protect themselves and take action if necessary.
According to Students for Concealed Carry, Utah has legalized the use of concealed carry since the 2006 fall semester. It has been over 10 years since this law was enacted, and not one Utah college campus has faced an act of violence as a result; however, there have been 14 school shootings throughout several college campuses in California, where concealed carry is banned. Permitting the use of concealed carry on a college campus gives students and faculty the chance to protect themselves, whereas banning it leaves innocent people vulnerable.
Although campus police carry guns, they won’t always be there to protect students and faculty. With over 8,000 students walking around campus at any given time, only six officers are registered under DSU’s campus police personnel. That roughly translates into one officer per 1,400 students. Students who have concealed carry permits only add to the number of people willing to take down an active shooter or even save lives.
The same can also be said for those who want to feel protected inside student housing. Many people have firearms inside their home in case they need to defend themselves against an intruder. During the school year, students call their dorms home, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to protect themselves?
While some argue pepper spray or a stun gun is just as effective, most people end up hurting themselves instead of the perpetrator. According to Model Mugging, during a stressful situation, ensuring the spray canister is facing the right way could cause life-threatening delays and not checking could result in the person accidentally spraying him or herself in the face. Even if the spray is used correctly, it takes a few minutes to harm the attacker, and the pepper spray can incapacitate the victim as well.
Stun guns can also be just as ineffective during an assault. According to “Tasers often don’t work, review of LAPD incidents finds” by the Tribune News Service, the metal probes that shoot out of a stun gun can miss the target completely or if they do land on the person, sometimes they’re able to rip the probes off their body, rendering the weapon useless. Also, stun guns do not have the same effect on people, especially those who are under the influence of drugs or who are mentally ill.
Both of these weapons are also banned on certain college campuses, along with guns. Rather than leave the college community defenseless, schools should adopt the same policies DSU currently offers students who want to bring a concealed carry on campus.