Photo by Jeremy Leong, staff photographer
Recently, the University of Colorado at Boulder overturned its ban on firearms on campus following a ruling from the State Supreme Court in March. UC Boulder will join the more than 200 colleges and universities nationwide that allow students to carry guns on school property.
The New York Times reports that many students, staff and faculty members have spoken out publicly against the policy change, concerned not just for personal safety, but also for campus safety. Given our nation’s history of violence on college campuses, most recently, the Northern Illinois University (2008) and Oikos University (2012) shootings, these fears may not be totally irrational.
While Drake University has a strict no-firearms policy, many students still feel passionate about gun control on college or university grounds.
“While I feel the right to bear arms is protected by the second amendment, I also feel it is the right of every student to live and learn in a safe environment without weapons,” said first-year Jordan Toschak.
First-year Parker Stinski defended her pro-gun position as a matter of personal safety.
“I come from a conservative family, and I hunt. If someone did pull their weapon out, they should be able to justify it,”
She also pointed out that a select few students would carry a gun anyway, given the restrictions on firearm ownership in Iowa.
To own and carry a gun, Iowans must be 21 years of age, acquire a permit to purchase and own weapons and complete a gun safety-training course.
First-year Logan Potter agreed that weaponry on campus, in responsible hands, could help with personal safety.
“I would feel more safe, because then I could protect myself if I go to KFC,” he said, referencing the recent robbery on 32nd Street and Forest Avenue.
While some argued that guns would make campus safer, many felt extenuating factors, like alcohol, combined with guns, would threaten campus safety.
Students and professors felt that possession of guns could become a major problem at events like parties and worried what would happen when things got too rowdy or out of control.
“It could be a concern with alcohol and poor judgment,” said first-year Brittany Fortunato.
Her sentiments were echoed by first-year Emily Sadecki.
“With Drake Security we don’t need weaponry. Keep guns in the hands of the protectors,” Sadecki said.
“I would feel much more comfortable if students didn’t have weapons,” Joseph Mello, a visiting professor of law, politics and society said. “There are better people to deal with that (guns).”
This appears to be another common theme in the debate — with the majority of students agreeing that Drake Security created a safe campus without a need for additional guns. Drake Security could not be reached for comment on the matter.