Editorial / Voices

EDITORIAL: Prohibiting concealed carry on campus keeps students safe from gun violence

After recent shootings near three of Michigan’s public universities, it’s important to take a stance on gun control and how legislation affects higher education within the state.

Michigan law lists several “pistol-free” areas for those with concealed weapon permits. Included in that list is “a dorm or classroom of a community college, college or university.”

The law, however, does not specifically prohibit guns in other areas of a college campus. Central Michigan University takes a firm stance against concealed weapons. All areas of campus are “weapon-free zones,” and that’s the way it should stay.

CMU Police Captain Fred Harris said according to the law, CMU has a right to make its own decisions regarding a concealed weapons policy.

The university’s message is clear: weapons are not welcome at CMU.

On Wednesday in Mount Pleasant, shots were fired into a vehicle parked in the strip mall on S. Mission Street that includes J.C. Penney. Last Friday, a Michigan State University student was shot and killed at a nearby apartment complex. The following day, a student was shot at an apartment complex following an event at Ferris State University.

While the motives for these particular cases aren’t clear, neither is there a clear solution to gun violence. But one thing has been made abundantly clear – more guns will never equal less violence.

Gun violence is on the rise. In 2012, Michigan Incident Crime Reporting identified 681 victims of murder or non-negligent homicide within the state. Between 1993 and 2003, firearms were used in 71 percent of Michigan homicides. Of those reported, where a weapon was identified, 85 percent involved handguns.

The response to rising gun violence has been two-fold. In 2013, 19 states introduced legislation to allow the concealed carry of weapons on college campuses. Five introduced legislation to ban these weapons.

Some of the public demands more weapons to defend themselves, while others seek a total weapon ban. In Michigan, lawmakers have favored banning weapons from universities.

That’s exactly the direction we should be heading in.

We support the current law and the university’s decision to keep guns off campus. More guns will not reduce violence. More guns will not help people defend themselves. It seems more guns will always cause more problems.

If someone is set on committing a crime, no legislation or policy is going to prevent them from breaking the law. Guns, by design, are manufactured for killing. It’s impossible to keep them out of the wrong hands.

Guns have a place in society, but not on a college campus. By owning a weapon, you have a responsibility not to use it to harm others. In these recent cases, the gun owners failed that responsibility.

Weapons advocates, including Students for Concealed Carry – which has a chapter at CMU – would cite the old adage “an armed society is a polite society.” However, an armed society also increases the availability of guns to the wrong people.

Some would argue that having armed faculty or students at Virginia Tech would have helped to reduce the carnage. The problem with that idea, however, is that students and faculty, armed or not, do not have time to effectively react before a crime can be committed.

The best option for addressing gun-related violence is to have an effective response plan, not to introduce more weapons to more people.

We need to stop the promotion and glorification of gun violence in our culture. We need to work together as a community to reach out and help people who need it. We need to work closer with law enforcement to report those we believe seek to do harm to others.

Having more guns available creates dangerous situations. It creates increased confrontation and a need for increased responsibility. It sends the wrong message to a community that should be focused on reducing violent crime.

Together, as a community and a university, we can help to reduce gun violence – but more weapons on campus is not the answer.

23 Comments

  1. I hate debating this because 95% of people are unable to communicate their ideas clearly with the ability to look at both sides of this spectrum.
    But, I’ve got to say something.

    “Having more guns available creates dangerous situations.”

    This is a blank statement. It’s not true, nor is it false. Because of that, a statement like this cannot be used on an argument as to whether or not guns create more violence. Most people read these stories with a preconceived notion and read this without thinking critically.

    HOW exactly does having more guns create dangerous situations? Texas is full of guns, what is Austin’s or Midland’s crime rate compared to Chicago’s crime rate (a city that is “gun-free”)? What is the crime rate due to guns in gun-free communities compared to those with open carry laws?
    Is a group of 10 un-armed men more likely to start altercations with each other compared to a group of 10 armed men?
    Etc.

    Go to a bar down in Texas every night for a year, and tell me how many altercations there are.

    I’m just tired of hearing conversations on guns with statements like, “Having more guns available creates dangerous situations.”

    The idea of this article is to say that if I were to walk into an armed, enclosed, locked area, in which every person entering is patted down and sent through a backscatter machine, then yes, only at that point (where every single person is checked for a gun) does it make a difference.
    Unfortunately, putting up a sign doesn’t do a single thing in terms of preventing guns from being brought into a certain area.

    • United Kingdom (cops can’t even carry guns) .25 gun related deaths per 100,000 people

      United States 10.3 gun related deaths per 100,000 people.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

      • I mean, it’s a true statistic.
        However, it’s not a good one to use in this argument because the circumstances aren’t the same.
        Keep in mind, the USA was created because the founding fathers wanted to break away from England.
        Are you trying to be like them once again?

        You can’t just all of a sudden make guns disappear. This article was about creating a gun-free zone by the use of signs. Bringing up the fact that the UK basically has no guns and comparing gun related crime makes no sense.

      • Andree from MSU says:

        What you fail to recognize (or at least cite) is that England has a much greater violent crime rate. They have less access to firearms, pistols in particular, so their homicides and violent crime rates when firearms are involved are significantly lower. However, the US has lower violent crime rates overall. As the author of this article mentions, if somebody is set on violently committing a crime, they will do so (or try). Firearms simple even tje playing field. Bad guys will always find guns. Even if we could erase the existence of guns, violent crimes would still occur. Guns allow, to give a polarized example, a 110 pound female to have the opportunity to defend herself against a 250 pound man with a knife, bat, rifle, or pistol. They also allow the chance at self-preservation for a 120 pound male against an attacking 210 pound female with any given weapon (anf everything in between). I’m happy that MSU has agreed to follow the laws of the general State of Michigan and not declare their own laws (as they are allowed to do). And to the author: Virginia Tech may still have happened had more people on campus been carrying, but there would have been a significantly greater chance for less lives to have been stolen. If it was well-established that an unknown number of licensed (thus trained) individuals on campus were carrying, it is a no-brainer that the shooter would have had less incentive to attack.

    • anonymous says:

      Indeed.

      What’s the violent crime rate in Switzerland, where every able-bodied adult male is required by law to keep a modern infantry rifle in his home and qualify at a range with it four times a year?

      Guns aren’t the problem.

      What’s the violent crime rate in Japan, where all manner of bizarre pornography and hyper-violent video games are everywhere, not to mention sexually explicit, ultra-violent “anime” on television?

      Porn isn’t the problem. Violent video games aren’t the problem. TV isn’t the problem.

      The US has a problem with violent crime, but all the idiot busybody politicians can do is bring up red herrings, take cheap shots, and try to change the subject.

  2. Irving Plodmore says:

    National Justice Dept. statistics in 2013 show that “gun violence”in the US has DECREASED by 70% since the mid 1990s.The current Federal administration, the most anti-gun in US history, released these statistics that undermine the premise of your entire article.

    Statistics also show that 90% of all crime (including gun related crime) in Michigan,Illinois and Ohio is “gang related”and occurs primarily in African American and Hispanic communities (statistics are often “politically incorrect” and therefore not reported on in the agenda driven media).

    The same statistics show that 68% of ALL CRIME in the US is gang related.

    Statistics in the book “More Guns Less Crime”demonstrate county by county throughout the USA the book title is accurate.

    How is making schools such as in Columbine,Sandy Hook,and at Virginia Tech gun free zones working for you? Are you aware that close to 50% of “school shooters”were stopped by armed citizens?

    I will direct you to the Constitution (specifically the 2nd amendment in the Bill of Rights),the Federalist Papers,and writings of the Founding Fathers regarding the necessity of an armed citizenry to protect their LIBERTY!

  3. Plus, if you don’t let people carry guns, how are we supposed to shoot people? This is America. We can’t just not shoot people. Commie.

  4. Hopefully people are educated enough to research the violent crime stats posted on the FBI website. There they will find that the “facts” within this article are false and this is just some “no named” author’s opinion. This reads like a high school level essay and I’m guessing the author isn’t much older than that. Meanwhile back in the real world, carrying a firearm would have helped that poor girl who was kidnapped from a CMU parking lot last year.

  5. What happened to responsible journalism that’s based on facts backed by credible, unbiased research rather than opinion? Abusing your position to influence the student body with your opinion. People like you are exactly what is wrong with today’s news and media. I only hope that the students of our university act less sheep-like than most of the rest of our nation and explore to find their own opinion rather than adoption yours.

  6. There is one important issue that always gets overlooked in stories like this. Of the three gun related crimes mentioned in the article, how many of them involved LEGALLY owned and carried firearms, versus ILLEGALLY owned and carried firearms?

    • Bob owns a gun.
      Suzy steals the gun and shoots George.

      If Bob didn’t own the gun Suzy stole then George might still be alive.

      • So we ban guns. Bob abides the law and doesn’t have one.
        Jonny doesn’t intent to follow that law and keeps or steals a gun.
        Jonny shoots Bob and his co-workers.
        If Bob had a gun, he and most of his co-workers might still be alive.

        • simply owning a gun does not imply the training needed to use it in such a situation. during the batman movie shootings several of the movie patrons were carrying guns and none of them did anything to stop the killings. having a gun does not mean you’re safe.

          • You do not understand this thing in its complexity. You are making insanely general assumptions without any knowledge or idea of how it would actually work.

            You say, “having a gun does not mean you’re safe”…but that’s not the point we are talking about here. Nobody said you’re automatically safer with a gun.

            I started these comments with the fear that there would be a lot of people like you trying to make an argument, and I’m wondering if you’re just a troll.

            However, all things aside, just answer me this…do you think putting up a sign that says, “gun-free community” will make everyone safer? You still won’t answer that.

          • Where do you get your facts? The shooting in Aurora was done at the ONLY theater in the area that prohibited the carrying of firearms. This was stated and it was even in the court case of why he chose that theater. Stop drinking the kool aid.

          • You are wrong, there were no people in that theater carrying any weapons except the shooter. The theater(the only one in the area that has a no guns allowed policy) was not even the closest one to the shooters residence.

      • So, putting up a sign that says, “no guns allowed” would have kept Bob from owning a gun?
        That’s the point here…

        • John: No, putting up a sign would do nothing. I’m saying that places that have higher availability of guns have higher usage of guns. that increased usage includes criminal activity.

          The website I presented earlier does state that countries with fewer gun owners, have fewer gun related deaths. You seem unwilling to consider that.

          here it is again:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

          • Seriously? Wiki is your backing? I could understand how you would be so nieve as to think that but Switzerland disproves your hypothesis. There, guns are highly available. In fact, most are required to have guns. They have the lowest homicide rate in the world!

          • I am willing. I understand the statistic. Yes, good job. Keep throwing statistics out there.
            I wasn’t saying your facts are wrong, but you can’t throw me stats from Lichtenstein and Azerbaijan and expect to be taken seriously.

            I would suggest spending the next couple of years reading history books. Old ones. The fact you want to compare all these countries in one bowl suggests you have an incredibly low understanding of the context of this “debate.”
            I’m pretty sure you have never traveled out of the state. That’s the context you’re able to see this whole thing from.

            No offense, but your poor ability to lay an argument is an embarrassment to CMU. Please stop posting statistics.

  7. I would venture to say that the person that wrote this article did not do very much homework.
    Case in point, most gun violence happens by non law abiding people that could care less about having a CPL.
    The theater shooting happened in a “Gun Free Zone” because the shooter new he couldn’t get shot. He drove quite a ways to make this happen.
    The Sandy Hook shooting was not a CPL holder who went through the proper channels to aquire legal carry. Also, note media reported a assault weapon was used it wasn’t and they made a short apology for falsely reporting this.
    Most colleges are of democratic background therefore will push false propaganda about gun control. So do not be fooled by non fact reporting.

  8. Using statistics from the UK or Australia (Both of which have strong anti gun laws) are not applicable. To compare a nation with 300+ million people to that of the United Kingdom (63 Million) and Australia (23 Million) is not even worthwhile. Of course our numbers of violent crimes will be higher. It’s due simply to our shear amount of people living here.

    Using either country as a arguable point is not a firm platform.

  9. The response to this article written by CMU Students for Concealed Carry can be found here:

    http://www.cm-life.com/2014/02/18/letter-to-the-editor-response-from-the-cmu-chapter-of-students-for-concealed-carry/

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