Rider’s campuses are relatively safe. Public Safety takes a lot of precautions to ensure that students, faculty and staff feel at ease. One of these precautions is not allowing any weapons on campus. Since the shootings that occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007 and at Northern Illinois University in 2008, a gun lobby has called for a legislation that would stop colleges and universities from regulating guns on campuses. This proposal is currently being fought by the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
The proposed legislation would allow students to carry concealed handguns at all school involved activities — including athletic events, speeches, movies and even to dining halls. The idea is to keep students safe, but guns pose an even bigger threat in the hands of inexperienced shooters. There have been countless accidents involving guns, both on and off campus, with both experienced and inexperienced people. Allowing students to carry and possess handguns opens a whole new door of problems that colleges will have to deal with.
In the past few years there have been two reported incidents involving guns on this small campus alone. Recently, in 2006, a student in Hill Hall left his fake AK-47 assault rifle lying on his bed. A woman making a delivery to the dorm saw the weapon and called police, who then evacuated the building and, armed with guns, searched the dorm rooms one by one for what they believed was an armed gunman. Since the pellet gun closely resembled a real gun, the police couldn’t take any chances.
However, in 2003, a real gun was fired, and left two injured. After a party let out of the Cavalla Room in the Bart Luedeke Center, a fight broke out between Tarik Reid, a friend of two Rider students, and another unidentified person. Shortly after the fight was broken up, Reid pulled out his weapon and fired toward the Cavalla Room, hitting and injuring two innocent bystanders. Reid was later arrested, but the damage was already done. Students and guests who come to this school shouldn’t have to worry about someone pulling out a gun after a party or other event on campus.
Although Rider already has strict rules on guns and weapons in general, if the proposed legislation is passed, any current policies could be altered. Although it is important to realize that people are allowed to have rights, a college campus is not an environment that needs its students to be carrying weapons. In the past, there have been injuries and misunderstandings due to guns, and the rules that are set up now are there to make sure that bad things don’t happen to those on Rider’s campuses. Gun control may not be appropriate in all situations, but because there are no real threatening situations on campus, there is no reason for students to keep guns or weapons on their person or in their dorms.
These weekly editorials expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Nadine Tester.