Student considers gun carry on campus

Nicholas Parkhill

With more and more shootings occurring on college campuses these days, LTC and NIU being the most current, the question of safety pops up in peoples minds. The state we live in has a law that states anyone who is able to pass an extensive background check (criminal and mental), photographing, fingerprinting, be twenty-one years or older, an eight hour training course, and a minimum of a forty-five day wait can obtain a license to conceal and carry a handgun. The original law stated that such places as schools and universities were off limits but with changes to that law in 2007 it left that decision up to the schools themselves.

I’m sure you all have seen the signs with the handgun with the circle and line though it. So obviously Washburn administrators took the policy that no guns should be allowed to be carried into the buildings. My question is why? I’ve done searches of the Washburn site and the university paper’s website, and I have come up with nothing. I haven’t been able to find a single article, or even a single mention that the university even had this issue up for public debate.

What those signs mean in the broad scheme of things is that Washburn is a “gun-free” zone. Making it so that those few students who have went through the process of obtaining a CCL have to leave their weapons home when they go to class during the day. With events such as Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois University it would seem clear that universities with similar policies as ours does not deter criminals from bringing guns onto campus nor does it stop them from using them. On the flipside it ensures to those individuals that their victims will be defenseless and easy targets.

Now I’m sure some of you are thinking to yourselves “but that’s what the police are for.” Yes they are here to protect us, to an extent. The NIU event lasted two to three minutes. In less than three minutes the perpetrator was able to kill five students, and injured sixteen others. Before the police even entered the building the gunman did what he came to do and killed himself. In the Virginia Tech shooting Cho killed two students shortly after 7am. Cho then left campus sent a package to NBC and returned to campus around 9:05am. Between 9:05 and 9:50 he was able to chain and lock the entrance doors shut and systematically kill 32 people and wounding many more. The shooting lasted somewhere around nine minutes and the police arrived at the building roughly four minutes into the shooting.

A four minute response time may not seem like a long time to some of you, but think about what those students were going through inside of the building, but that’s not where it ends. It then takes police another five minutes to gather and formulate a plan before entering the building by using a shotgun to shoot open the chained doors. It is believed that Cho heard the shotgun blast and that’s when he committed suicide. Those students went through nine minutes of pure hell that day. Here’s the kicker, it all could have been stopped much sooner. Virginia law allows for the concealed carry of handguns on universities, but it was Virginia Tech’s administration that decided to make the campus a “gun-free” zone, for the law-abiding citizens anyway. If Virginia Tech’s administration would not have made it against policy for concealed carry on campus there is a good chance that a student in the building at the time may have been able to take action long before that nine minute entry by the police.

So what does such a thing have to do with Washburn and the safety of the students? We are in the same predicament. The state law allows for the concealed carry of a handgun on university campuses but it is our administration that has made it against campus policy. It also states in the Kansas Bill of Rights Article 4, “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security.” It seems like the administration is willing to possibly pay the price of a few injured or dead students to avoid liability issues. Here is where some interesting facts come into play. In Utah the states public colleges and universities allow concealed carry on campus, and the storage of handguns in dorm rooms. In the time that they have allowed concealed carry on campus there hasn’t been one report of a gun misfiring, of a gun left, or misuse of a weapon on campus.

Statistics have shown that concealed carry license holders are five times less likely to commit a violent crime compared to a regular citizen. So why is it that students who qualify, and have obtained their license are being banned from universities by administrators? Some people may argue that having a gun in class is only going to distract from the students learning. But that’s just it you don’t know who has the guns, it could be anyone. That’s the whole point in the conceal part, you don’t see the gun unless it has to be used. You already walk by concealed carry users everywhere else without wondering “does he/she have a gun?” So what would be any different on a college campus?

Other people argue that college is defined as alcohol and drug abuse and that would just cause more problems with guns in college student’s hands. Once again I’m not talking about every student having a concealed weapon on campus, just those who already qualify and carry in their everyday lives.

So in closing, if a situation like VT, NIU, or LTC arises at Washburn University are a few dead and wounded students really an acceptable price? Are the students really expected to hope and pray that if a gunman comes to our school that he doesn’t come into our classroom? Are we as students fully expected to lie down on the ground, jump out windows, or run down hallways to get away from such an event if it happens here? Is the university fully expecting the police officers on campus to be able to stop such an event in the first minute it happens? Because as it has been proven that’s all the time a person with that kind of intent needs to do serious damage and infringe and every persons right to live.