Sticking to the gun policy

Since 2007, 462 people have been killed by people carrying concealed weapons, according to a study conducted by the Violence Policy Center. Some believe allowing guns on campus will increase safety, while others think it will decrease.

In response to the surge of public shooting sprees in recent weeks and school shootings in recent years —such as the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre— many school officials nationwide are reevaluating campus gun control policy.

Officials at UNA, however, are not.

UNA has a strict no-tolerance policy toward possession of weapons of any kind, concealed or not, according to the student handbook. UNA Chief of Police Robert Pastula indicated no consideration to revisit it.

“Whenever you put a weapon into the hands of a larger number of people, I believe the potential for crime increases,” he said. “It has always been a rule because we do not want to increase the chance of violence.”

A gun-friendly campus is also unlikely, considering that UNA is part of the nationwide Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, which defends the right of the state institutions to regulate gun possession.

Other institutions, such as the University of Colorado Boulder and at least 25 others, permit gun possession. The state of Colorado has drawn much attention in recent weeks due to the Aurora movie theater shooting.

Beginning this fall, permit-holding students at UCB will be allowed to carry concealed weapons, according to a CBS news release.

What if UNA were to join the pro-gun movement and this policy were to take effect? Student and faculty opinion on the matter varies.

Proponents of concealed carry argue that criminals would be less likely to attack a person who could potentially be armed.

Criminal justice major Jessica Capers sees benefits of carrying a gun from a self-defense standpoint.

“Would you try to eliminate someone in a crowd that you knew could eliminate you first?” Capers said.

UNA junior Travis Green said he would feel safer on campus if there were more responsible gun holders.

“You don’t see criminals at a shooting range,” Green said. “If criminals knew students were carrying guns to defend themselves, I don’t think we’d see as many school shootings.”

On the other hand, opponents of concealed carry warn against the dangers of crime and accidents within the student body.

The Violence Policy Center has documented that, since 2007, 462 lives have been taken by concealed-carry shooters.

UNA sophomore Jessica Staples does not believe using a gun on another person is a right students should have.

“If you allow people to have guns, you’re allowing them to use it when they feel necessary,” Staples said. “That could mean self-defense, but it could also mean spite.”

Jeff Bibbee is a UNA political science professor and gun owner. He said he believes a gun has no place in the classroom. He also said he is confident in campus police to handle crime.

“They put their efforts into safety, I put my efforts into teaching and, ideally, students can put their efforts into learning,” Bibbee said.