Jennifer R. Brashers
Southwest Baptist University
The right to bear arms has been on ongoing debate of individuals all over the United States for many years. Now this battle hits closer to home for all post-secondary education institutions. The main question is should students and faculty who have concealed carry license be allowed to carry concealed on college campuses or not? There has been an exponential amount of research done in this area ranging from gun ownership attitudes to mass shootings and campus violence. There are numerous diverse aspects of the foremost subject in question here including the rights of individuals covered by the second amendment, the impacts on the learning/living environment and self-defense/professional sufficiency. A number of persons hold altered principles about all of these facets that significantly impact the comprehensive conclusion of this discussion on each distinct campus. This reviews objective is to present numerous diverse pros and cons of the argument in a collective layout.
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The ongoing battle of the right to bear arms has been brought to the home front of college campuses country wide since the most recent school shooting at Virginia Tech. This situation has had many effects on people’s outlooks as to whether guns should be allowed on college campuses or not. “In the wake of the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, many states reconsidered their stance concerning the acceptance, or lack thereof, of concealed handguns on campus for students, staff, and faculty.” Everything from societal outlooks and legislations have been affected by this debate. According to the FBI (2014) “Crime in schools and colleges is…one of the most troublesome social problems in the nation today. Not only does it affect those involved in the criminal incident, but it also hinders societal growth and stability.”(2014) Due to this particular outlook several government organizations have combined resources and set up committees to address this problem and reduce negative impacts on everyone involved.
There are three main arguments in the debate of concealed weapons on campuses that entail personal rights, campus safety in regards to learning and living environment and professional sufficiency. Individuals who have obtained the legal responsibility to carry concealed weapons in other public areas do not feel that authority should be restricted by universities. Research has shown attitudes towards gun rights are immense since (Branscombe, Weir, & Crosby, 1991) “Guns are powerful symbols. For some individuals they represent independence, individual rights, and other traditional American values; for others they symbolize dominance, aggression, and violence.”(1991) On the contrary some attitudes reflect that guns are no longer a necessity according to (Stell) “As the story runs, firearms were a necessary part of the frontier experience. They provided needed protection from wild beasts, from an occasionally hostile, native population, were useful in securing sustenance. However, the society became more civilized; the necessity of self-help withered. No longer needed tools, guns became symbols in a romantic fantasy with America’s past.” However due to Supreme Court rulings it is hard to restrict the right to bear arms from individuals demonstrated by (Domenech, 2013) “…the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller-which affirmed that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individuals to possess firearms-has already dramatically restricted what can be done when it comes to limiting the gun-owning rights of American citizens.”
Protection is another major point that many either lobby for or against concealed firearms on campus. This point is established by (Branscombe, Weir, & Crosby, 1991) “Protection against crime is on possible rationale for gun ownership….Pro gun