Photo Credit: Tim Dobbelaere
[dropcap style=”inverted”]A[/dropcap]s a disclaimer, I would like to openly state that I have no intention of standing on the grave of Andrew Boldt in order to push a political agenda. What happened that Tuesday was a tragedy, and should be respectfully left alone. That being said, after such an emotionally jarring event I feel that it is purely in the interests of Purdue University’s students and staff to carefully consider the best course of action to attempt to avoid future violent altercations. Indiana State law allows licensed citizens to carry a handgun for personal protection, but Purdue policy strictly prohibits students from carrying personal firearms while on Campus. I am not alone in saying that plenty of credible evidence suggests that allowing licensed students to carry a weapon while on campus may lower our violent crime rates considerably. Here are three reasons why changes in this policy make sense.
FBI statistics provide evidence that areas with more guns typically have less violent crime.
Recent history has established that so-called “gun free zones” do not work. In fact, they are counter intuitive; recent FBI crime statistics show the general trend that areas with more gun owners have less crime. The common denominator of what happened Virginia Tech, Columbine, Newtown, Purdue, and even the Naval Yard massacre (yes, a military institution) is that they all occurred in gun free zones. Guns are usually not allowed in most universities – save for a few in Texas. A sign or sticker that says “no guns allowed!” does nothing to deter a violent criminal who already intends to break the law. If anything it encourages them. Frankly, the idea of gun free zones is absurd, and their only function is disarming law abiding citizens, rendering them incapable of defending themselves and fellow bystanders.
Not just ANYONE is legally allowed to carry a weapon.
One of the biggest roadblocks hindering progress in the Students for Concealed Carry movement is the well-meaning but misguided resistance from lawmakers and administrators who believe that allowing students to carry will ultimately lead to more accidents due to the reckless nature of college students. This should be treated as a legitimate concern. However, the licensed students that would be carrying firearms on campus would not typically be the types that ordinarily display “reckless” behavior. When I got my Indiana permit, I was required to have a federal background check, be fingerprinted, pay a fee and wait several months for approval. Citizens with a history of violent crime, substance abuse, or “reckless behavior” are legally barred from carrying a weapon in the first place; therefore there is absolutely no reason to assume that the behavioral trends of licensed carriers would change simply because students would now be carrying in a different location (In this case, a college campus).
We do not give up any other rights when we step onto a college campus. Why should this be different?
At Purdue University students have every right ensured to us by the U.S. constitution–except our right to bear arms. Our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion, our freedom of assembly, etc.: none of these are barred, yet we are denied our constitutional right to defend ourselves.
At the hour of the shooting last week I sat huddled in a small room of unarmed students, praying to God that the shooter was not going to come through the door and murder us all. That is not a thought we as college students should even have to concern ourselves with, yet it remains a tragic reality in this world. Self-defense is a natural right, and on behalf of all students like me that believe administrators and lawmakers have no business intruding on that right: Don’t Tread on Me!