When it comes down to it, guns on campus are not be as bad as many people assume. So many people seem to feel as though guns do all the killing and choose to forget they do so much saving.
Between January 2009 and July 2015, there have been 134 mass shootings in the U.S.
Due to TN House Bill 1736 being enacted, APSU’s full-time employees are now able to have carry licenses in order to carry concealed handguns.
The bill states that full-time employees of public state colleges and universities who have carry licenses may have concealed handguns on the college or university property when requirements are met, and is currently active on campuses in Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Tennessee.
“I’m not really in favor of guns on campus in general. On a policy level, it’s a really interesting question because it makes you wonder how it might open up opportunities for other members of campus to potentially carry weapons,” said assistant politcal science professor Kate Hunt. “I think that the police do a really good job on campus.”
In lieu of old and recent school shootings, many people believe the bill could be more of a danger than an improvement, that guns will always be a bad thing. However, there are those who believe in the right hands guns could be good.
“Being the professors and not students, I feel like I trust them. I think the chances of a school shooting are less likely to happen with the professors having concealed weapons. I really don’t mind them having guns,” Anthony Warren, freshman foreign language major said.
According to a report at everytownresearch.org, many school shootings seem to come from bullied or distressed students under the age of 21, the earliest age at which someone can obtain a carry permit.
Others often come from older citizens who view a school as a “soft target” which is unlikely to retaliate.
Knowing that any full-time employee might have a concealed handgun would likely deter potential aggressors; that sounds like a pretty good deal.
“If adult civilians are allowed to carry guns in the wider community, they should be allowed on campus,” said assistant political science professor John Phillips.
Phillips said there should be consistency in gun laws.
“You can ban them all the way or you can allow them all the way. It seems to me that a certain level of training would be desirable [for someone who is going to carry a gun], and it can be the case that a trained person might make a positive difference in a situation like a mass shooting event,” Phillips said. “It would certainly save lives if someone were to happen to be armed and trained to use it.”
The process to get a carry permit is extensive and makes it so that anyone who wants to carry or purchase a gun must first get through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).
In order to get a carry permit, a person must go through a background check done by the TBI. If approved, that person must attend an eight-hour class to learn laws, safety, when and when not to shoot and the fact that, if the weapon is fired, they have a responsibility for that bullet.
At the end of the course there is a written exam that must be passed in order to continue.
The next step is a trip to a firing range to prove said person knows how to handle the weapon and shoot it accurately. If they have proven that they know how to use the weapon, their results will be sent to the TBI and they will receive their permit later on in the mail.
This shows just how safe having a carry permit can be. It is comforting to know not just anybody can carry a gun, let alone on a school campus, and it is even more comforting to know that if an aggressor tried to harm someone at APSU, there could be an employee with the ability to defend and protect students while the police were on their way.
Guns are always a subject of controversy, as they can be used for crime and acts of terror. There are bad apples in every crowd, but many crimes committed with guns are committed by people who have stolen or borrowed a weapon, not by those who have carry permits. In fact, according to cato.org, crime seems to be lower in states that have right-to-carry laws.
“As long as they’re registered and they’ve gone through the courses, I don’t think it should matter. As long as they’ve had their background checks and none of them are unstable to carry a gun, I think it should be perfectly fine,” said freshman computer science major Olivia Douglas.
Overall, having full time employees with guns on campus seems to be safe. If an employee feels the need to unholster their weapon, had the gun and know how to use it, they know when and when not to pull the trigger. Most people who carry guns to defend themselves and others, not to attack other people.
When in trained and licensed hands, guns are often in a very safe place indeed.