By CHARLOTTE MACKINNON
I read a brief story on the NBC6 Miami website this morning that spiked a concern that has been resonating with American citizens for a long time, especially this past year. It relates back to the age-old issue of this nation’s gun laws.
Just last month, nine people were killed in a shooting at an Oregon community college. That incident was just one out of many tragic school shootings that have occurred in this country in the past decades, and it brought more attention to an already controversial issue.
This morning, I read that a bill is making its way through Florida state legislature that could legalize the carrying of guns on the campuses of public colleges. It is currently against the law, but the bill recently passed a Senate committee. I was shocked to see that Florida Atlantic University students are actually pushing in support of the bill, especially in the aftermath of the Oregon shooting.
Evidently, the mindset of those who are in support of legalizing the carrying of firearms is aligned with the idea that it will not impact the likelihood of another school shooting. Some students were saying that all the law would do is allow students who already have a concealed carry permit outside of campus to legally carry their guns on campus – and if one were to act violently with their weapons, it would happen regardless of the legality of the situation.
What I don’t understand is why it is necessary to have a firearm on campus in the first place. I do agree that the legality of having a gun on campus wouldn’t alone be a motivating cause for a school shooting – such incidents are completely and utterly senseless, and they occur regardless of what state legislature says.
My concern here can be reduced to one word: access. Having firearms present on a place like a college campus – in classroom buildings, dormitories, or fraternity and sorority houses – adds an immediate element of danger to the environment. We all know how easily things can be stolen or fall into the wrong hands and a college campus is a high-pressure environment. As unfortunate as it is, it’s not rare to see many students at any university struggle with mental health issues or develop violent behavior for whatever reason, and it can never be predicted what any one person is capable of.
Obviously, if a killer is set on shooting students or others on campus for whatever sick reason, they will find a way to make it happen regardless of whether or not guns may already be present on campus. I just think that it is completely unnecessary to approve a law that really has no benefits, yet has the potential to be extremely lethal.
Especially after the shooting in Oregon this year, and the shooting at FSU last year where three were shot, I find it absurd that students are pushing in favor of this law. I try not to be close-minded to anything, but I must say at this point in time I have a very firm position against the possibility of this bill being passed.