Face Off: Guns + campus = more violence

headshot_WEBSchool shootings have unfortunately become a large problem. Many schools had to face the heartbreak gun violence can bring: death of loved ones. Solutions have been presented, such as increased security, metal detectors, counseling services for all students, etc.

But the one “solution” that doesn’t make any sense is the one where we allow more guns on campuses.

Apparently, we are using the logic that having more guns on campus will intimidate those who wish to be the lone gunman. If someone else has a gun, no bad guy would threaten to shoot her because he would fear for his own life, right?

This way of thinking is flawed.

David Hemenway, a professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, explained in a 2001 article in the journal of American College Health that owning guns does not make the public safer. He surveyed scientists with backgrounds related to gun ownership, such as criminology and public health, and 84 percent said having a gun in the home increased the risk of suicide. Another study done in 2014 at the University of California San Francisco stated that the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention from the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General all concluded in 2012 that “firearm access is a risk factor for suicide in the United States.”

When people have the access to guns, they use them in irresponsible ways because of spur-of-the-moment decisions more often than not. Guns can make people feel like they have more power and more control over those around them.

Hemenway’s study continued, stating 72 percent of those questioned believed having guns increases the risk of women being homicide victims. A gun in the home makes the home a more dangerous place, 64 percent said.

The bottom line: the majority of those questioned have confidence that permissive gun laws don’t reduce homicides; according to 71 percent, strong gun laws do. Allowing the right people to have guns to keep others safe would be a better option than allowing everyone to carry guns.

In a 2015 report of concealed handgun licensing by the Texas Department of Public Safety, 73 percent were issued to males. Why does this matter? Because where there are more permissive gun laws, women are at more risk for injury or death.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health concluded, “Hostile gun displays against family members may be more common than gun use in self-defense, and … hostile gun displays are often acts of domestic violence directed against women.”

Can you imagine what could happen on college campuses?

A 2015 study by The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus found in Utah and Colorado, two states where concealed carry on campus was allowed, on-campus crime rates increased. The study used FBI Uniform Crime Statistics and Clery Act data from 2004-2013 to compare these two states with other states that did not allow concealed carry. As crime increased, the student population decreased.

In addition, this study showed an alarming increase of rape on these campuses, an increase higher than the national average. Since Colorado has been allowed to carry concealed guns, the rate of rape increased by 25 percent in 2012 by 36 percent in 2013.

I’m not saying violence will increase exponentially. But I don’t think this is a good thing. More guns do not equate to more safety. If Rider ever had concealed gun carrying laws, I would transfer in a heartbeat. If I were a freshman, I wouldn’t even consider the school.

—Rena Carman 

Junior communication studies major

 

Printed in the 4/20/16 issue.

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