We had quite a debate Monday evening in the newsroom about what our stance would be regarding conceal and carry on campus. What it came down to, though, was that while there were valid points on both sides of the issue, we all agreed that any thoughts of having discussions regarding conceal and carry on college campuses, and Washburn in specific, shouldn’t even be on the table until Kansas requires gun owners to go through thorough background checks and receive proficient training in the use of firearms.
Some argue that individuals armed with concealed weapons would make the campus safer in the event of an active shooter, while others argue it is much more likely that accidental shootings would be much more likely than a brave hero taking down an active shooter.
The fact is, it is absolutely much more likely that there would be accidental shootings if the people with the firearms had no training in how to handle them. If you give someone a tool they don’t know how to use, they’re bound to use it the wrong way.
And then the other facet: With no background checks, people who come to Washburn on a daily basis with felonious backgrounds, substance abuse problems and severe mental illness—and it would be naive to think none of those exist on any given college campus—would all have unchecked access to firearms.
So instead of worrying about stopping conceal and carry, we should be focusing our efforts, social moments and votes on reinstating background checks and training for anyone wishing to purchase a gun. Not only would that make conceal and carry safer on campus, which does have its benefits, but it would make it safer for society as a whole.