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Opposing Viewpoints Discussion on the Right to Carry Guns on College Campuses
David Burnett argues that, because of concealed carry bans, armed killers do not meet any resistance from their unarmed victims in shootings sprees that occur on university and college campuses; had the victims been armed, more people could have survived. Therefore, handguns should be allowed on campus because “students and teachers have the right to defend themselves.” (David Burnett). Darby Dickerson, on the other hand, argues that “there is no credible evidence that students or staff carrying guns would reduce crime.” According to her, students are not yet responsible enough to control their impulses and behavior, and allowing concealed or open carry may result in more violence. Therefore, guns should not be allowed on college and university campuses.
David Burnett uses the following supporting details: 1) most mass murders take place on campuses that are mandated as gun-free zones, making the killer’s task easier; 2) allowing concealed carry at the Colorado State University helped reduce crime by 61 percent in the last five years, while concealed carry ban at the University of Colorado increased crime by 47 percent, hence, “data show that concealed carry works as deterrent on a college campus;” 3) since young people are responsible enough to drive cars, get married, and serve in the military, they are responsible enough to safely handle guns and defend themselves. Darby Dickerson, on the other hand, uses the following details to support her argument: 1) while Americans have the right to possess guns, university and college campuses have unique characteristics that make concealed carry on campus problematic: 2) guns on campus are not conducive to open discussion among students and professors; 3) as students are too young to control their impulses and make judgements, they are likely to engage in violent activities, therefore, “accessibility to guns and other weapons… is likely to lead to additional incidents of self-injury, accidental shooting, and homicides.” (Darby Dickerson).
I think that both authors have valid arguments. I do agree that concealed carry may prevent mass murders from happening or progressing. I can’t start to imagine the sheer horror of looking into the barrel of a mass killer’s gun that the victims of all those campus shootings might have experienced before they died, their last thought being, “If only I had a gun to defend myself and my friends.” On the other hand, allowing guns on campuses may indeed increase violence among students as students are all young people and some of them may even seek handgun possession for reasons other than self-defense, for instance, to assert themselves over other students. It is a tough choice to make. Until recently, mass murders on campuses, horrible as they are, have been statistical outliers, while possession of guns in student environment may cause statistically certain incident-prone environment. The bitter truth is that it’s about time for schools, colleges, and universities to come up with a routine to follow in the case of a shooting spree, similar to what once was a routine to follow in the case of a nuclear war.
Guns On campus
In the article by David Burnett, the central argument discussed is that although many incidents related to gun violence have occurred on campuses, students should have the right to carry guns on college campuses. This central argument is supported by following the examples illustrating evidence that 1) absence of guns on campuses do not necessarily create a safer environment; 2) presence of gun’s can provide students with the ability to fight back and defend themselves in situations of attack; 3) college students are young adults with driving privileges and the ability to defend the country by serving in the military, therefore should have the freedom to carry a weapon on campus. Additionally, the author provides excellent statistical evidence that Colorado State University had a significant reduction in crime rate after removal of ban from carrying concealed weapons whereas University of Colorado faced an increase in crime rate.
Darby Dickerson, on the other hand, argues that college campuses are possessed of individuals with poor behavior and impulse control, therefore, guns should not be allowed on college campuses. The author discusses the multiple ideas to support her central argument. Firstly, students are too young and often display impulsive behaviors such as binge drinking, causing the possession of a gun to be a threat for the collegians. Secondly, the author presents multiple brain developmental studies that show adults in their teenage years tend to have an underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex creating difficulty in understanding the severity and consequences of actions. “Therefore, the conduct that most adults perceive as dangerous or risky, young adults perceive as fun.” (Darby Dickerson). Lastly, law enforcement agencies such as IACLEA provide statistical evidence that although permissive concealed carry laws are not necessarily harmful; the evidence supports that majority of the deaths related to gun fire were not a result of an act committed during self defense.
Gun laws on campus are highly arguable issue’s with valid concerns from both viewpoints as described above. In my opinion, Guns should not be permitted on campus. I agree with Darby Dickerson’s discussion of youth’s lacking brain development and willingness to participate in impulsive behavior’s. College environment’ are life changing for students coming transitioning from high school, and in the presence of guns; this transition will become more challenging as students will feel more closed off andunwelcomed. Additionally, as a part of college learning, young adults learn to deal with a plethora of emotions and frustrations in their academic and social lives which can produce dramatic actions in the presence of guns. Lastly, alcohol and drugs play a major role on college campuses which distort an individual’s ability to make valid decisions. Therefore, allowing these young adults to have access to guns during these circumstances can cause significant pain and suffering to the surrounding public as well as put a burden on society.
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