Gun debate important to campus

ReAnne Utemark

I am conflicted about the raging gun debate on the Review Web site, on campus and across the country. Having been raised in a household that never owned guns, talked about guns or much less used guns, they were never an integral part of my everyday life. Having gone to a rural high school, I am sure that many of my schoolmates used guns on a regular basis, but I did not hang out with those students; I did debate.

Not that debaters do not use guns. I know a former debater who holds guns and his Second Amendment right near and dear to his heart.

I am not familiar with guns, how they work or really much more than the end with the hole goes away from my face, or any other part of my body for that matter. When I got to college, I made friends with people who shot guns regularly and were careful about teaching me the basics. Currently, I have shot a variety of shotguns and pistols under careful monitoring by more seasoned shooters.

Being able to shoot a gun effectively is empowering. It makes one’s self-defense at least somewhat better than they would have with a fist or screaming and running away. As a supporter of the Second Amendment as a vital right, I believe private people should be able to own guns. When Katrina devastated New Orleans, guns were confiscated to try and stem the outbreak of crime in the city. So, they took away guns from innocent homeowners, who were left defenseless and dependent upon overworked and overstretched local and federal law enforcers? The confiscation of guns from citizens is a violation of the Constitution anyway, but to do so in situations like that is counterintuitive and fascist. If someone wanted to rob your house, they are probably a lot less likely to do it if you present a gun.

I am not entirely convinced, however, that guns belong on a university campus. The advocates for guns on campuses have good arguments that make a lot of sense, and the people who would carry guns on campus would have been required to take an extensive test and subjected to a background check. I would also feel better if there was someone in my class who could take down the guy picking my classmates off from the front of the room because unless the Washburn University Police Department acquires a supersonic vehicle, they will not physically be able to make it in time to do much. This is assuming that the police department would get word the instant the shooting began. Someone in the class has to have the Washburn University police department phone number on speed dial and have to have enough wits about them to actually make the call.

Despite all of the convincing evidence for guns on campus, I think my lack of gun knowledge and familiarity with guns feeds into a vague fear of not knowing which one of my classmates has a gun and which ones are going to use the gun for purposes that result in massive media coverage and everyone asking why it had to happen. I doubt that two students with legal concealed carry licenses and guns are going to get in a shootout on the Memorial Union. The fact that the kid next to me could have a gun and I have no idea if they have gone through the proper legal channels makes me nervous.

I trust the people I know that have guns, but I do not know if I can trust everybody with a gun.

This is an important issue for all students. Is it a violation of the Second Amendment or is it safe policy for the university?