Fresno State students are focusing on their own protection this week. California is one of 21 states with laws banning guns on college campuses. A Fresno State Senior directed students to line tables promoting self-defense with tools like mace. Fresno is not the safest area, especially in areas around campus. Many students believe if they were able to carry weapons they could deter criminals. Even people who are huge gun supporters admit that an armed student body could create some problems.
Currently there is no federal law that permits or prohibits guns on campus. Many states ban the practice while other states leave the decision to the colleges. California does not allow guns on college campuses. Proponents of having guns on campus believe that without guns students and professors are more vulnerable. They believe that responsible armed faculty and students can make campuses safer and prevent mass shootings. A survivor of the Virginia Tech killings disagrees with this opinion. He believes that if students had been armed the day of the killing it is very likely that more students and others would have been injured or killed in the crossfire.
Many believe that campuses need to focus on prevention and specifically dealing with disturbed or disruptive individuals. We need to focus on healing distressed individuals, providing guides and discussion and training sessions for students and faculty. The Obama administration is beginning to push for new gun control proposals. College presidents are speaking out in opposition. College presidents do not want to be forced to allow guns on their campuses.
Utah is the only state that currently forces colleges to allow concealed handguns on campus. At least 22 state legislatures have considered legislation to permit concealed carry permit holders to take their guns to college classrooms, sporting events and dormitories. In the last year the National Rifle Association announced the launch of NRA U which is a campus recruitment effort. NRA U is a two-hour training seminar for college students interested in learning more about NRA, the Second Amendment, gun safety, legislative threats to gun rights and gun control debate. NRA U’s plan is to recruit the next generation and help build more campus chapters of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
Opinions about gun control are incredibly diverse among college students, but the one consensus is that most, regardless of their concealed carry stance, seem to feel safe on campus.