Not even a year has passed since the tragic April 16 Virginia Tech shooting and yet two schools have just experienced eerily similar events in the past two weeks. On Feb. 14, an alumnus of Northern Illinois University fired into a lecture hall during class injuring 18 students and killing five before killing himself. Just 10 days before that, a woman shot and killed two female students and then herself at Louisiana Technical College.
Ironically, these crimes are being committed in a place where firearms are legally not permitted for lawfully carrying individuals. School zones are known as “gun-free zones.” Though the assailants of these crimes were neither properly licensed nor mentally unbalanced, would one lawfully carrying individual in any of those classrooms have stopped the shooters from killing so many innocent people?
One group of college students thinks so, called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC). This group, which was started last year in response to the Virginia Tech shootings by a student at George Mason University, claims to have more than 12,000 members nationwide and supports the legalization of concealed carry by licensed individuals on college campuses. SCCC has experienced a lot of publicity in recent weeks due to these two shootings.
In most states, licensed college students (21 and older in Pennsylvania) are allowed to carry almost everywhere else, just not where they attend school. Nationwide, 38 states ban weapons at schools, and 16 of those specifically ban guns on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The state of Utah has allowed licensed students to carry firearms on all college campuses since 2004 and has been without incidents since then. The rest of the states let the colleges decide for themselves. Private colleges are immune to any of these state laws, and school administrations are the ones to determine policies.
It would be an extremely unwise and ruinous choice for Villanova to allow concealed carry. Colleges are notoriously known as hotbeds of drug and alcohol abuse and adding guns to that mix would prove disastrous. Even though it is illegal to carry a firearm while under the influence, those who are intoxicated do not posses the judgment to discern the toilet from the trashcan, let alone right from wrong.
In addition, allowing licensed students to carry concealed weapons on campus would be contradictory to the sentiment of community for which we strive at Villanova. Guns are completely incongruous to a learning environment and would create unnatural hostility should the administration ever sanction their presence on campus.
Though shootings on college campuses have become more of an issue in recent years, inviting more guns to be on college campus seems counterintuitive. We must not perpetuate these notions of violence by outrightly inviting the problem into our community.