Bringing guns on campus

Jack Liang, University student

The Feb. 5 Minnesota Daily editorial, titled “Keeping guns off campus,” proposed that the idea of allowing conceal and carry on campus posed “health risks.” I disagree.

Growing up, I was very anti-guns. But on April 16, 2007, my views changed. I lived in a very small, quiet college town called Blacksburg in southwest Virginia, where my father was a professor in the engineering building. On that day, a college student took the lives of 32 other people on the campus of Virginia Tech. I asked myself: Why couldn’t one of the professors carry a gun in his/her class to defend themselves, why couldn’t the community assistants at the dorms carry a gun? He/she could have saved the lives of 30 others, instead he/she was a victim.

The Virginia Tech shooting made me realize two things. First, when you need a cop this very second, they will show up in a minute. Second, when you designate an area a gun-free zone, you make it a killing zone. Those who were killed that day were members of my community. In the recent tragedies, prosecutors discovered that James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, picked his target because it was the only theater in a 30-minute radius where guns were banned. Similar situations occurred in the Sandy Hook and Columbine shootings.

Universities throughout the country, notably Colorado, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin, have allowed permitted students to carry on campus, and this “health risk” has not hurt anyone so far. Turning to Minnesota’s legislation concerning gun law, where currently it is only illegal for students and employees to carry weapons on our campus. I’m a student over the age of 21, and I hold a valid carry permit, but I can’t carry on campus. But the moment I graduate, I’m no longer bound by the student/employee code of conduct, and I can carry on campus where “guns banned on premise” signs are not posted.

When I say I want permit holders with the ability to carry on our campus, I don’t mean someone that can just buy a gun and stick it in their backpack. A permit holder receives both an extensive background check and training. They become more knowledgeable concerning the laws of self-defense and also first aid. They know how to act in an active-shooter situation, and they could be the one to save your life.

While I would like to think I live in a safe bubble, I know I don’t, and I want every student to think about this. Imagine sitting in one of your classes today, and a shooter walks in the room and opens fire. What do you do? Run, hide and hope that you don’t get shot? Someone has the ability and the realization to call the police 10 seconds later. They arrive 30 seconds later. Many lives would be lost before the police could even react to the shooter, as the police rarely stop mass shootings. By the time they do, the coward would have likely killed himself. I’d rather allow students with permits to carry weapons and accept those health risks than to be a defenseless victim.

Don’t dismiss permit holders. Talk to one of us; we are not the gun-nut that most news outlets make us out to be, and don’t dismiss Rep. Tony Cornish’s idea. He just wants to give us — the students — a fighting chance.