Panic or Protection

April 20, 2017

Panic erupts through the school, although we all know it’s only a drill. Locked in a closet, pressed to the back, my teacher hears the mock-invaders jiggle the door handle, imitating the all-too-real danger of school shooters. She jumps. We look around the closet. We know this is just a drill. Why are we scared?

In a study conducted by Everytown, nearly 47 percent of school shootings took place on college or university campuses. In less than fifty days, the class of students, some of whom I have gone through kindergarten and soon will end school with, will receive a diploma, and many will continue on to further education. The kids who saw the same “Prohibited Items” sign as I did walking into elementary school every day from my first day to my 5th grade graduation. The kids who experienced the same bomb threat I experienced during middle school. The kids who learned about gun safety in 9th grade health class.

We will all walk across the stage, administrators will tell us “congratulations,” and thanks to our Arkansas legislature, we will go to a college campus where concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry throughout campus, including in sports arenas, dorms and classrooms.

But I must wonder, where is the safety increasing? Where is the amount of freedom increasing? Colleges have had the option to allow concealed carry, yet have chosen not to. According to Everytown, since 2013, crime on campus has dropped by twenty percent. There have been no homicides on Arkansas campuses, and crimes like burglary and robbery have decreased by about forty percent.

Having guns on campus puts a target on the faculty’s backs, increases the chance of gun violence, and creates the issue of increased insurance and security measures. Every student I have spoken to opposes the idea of increasing guns in a place of learning. Ninety-five percent of college presidents and 94% of college faculty nationwide oppose the bill. This isn’t an issue of protection of gun rights or freedom. This is an issue of protection of our students.

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