In response to more than 20 deaths in school shootings during this year alone, 19 states have introduced legislation to allow students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Along with the NRA and the usual pro-gun enthusiasts, an organization called Students for Concealed Carry has arisen and has managed to garner 31,000 fans on their Facebook page.
These organizations espouse arming students and teachers as a way to circumvent shootings on campus. With slogans like “Guns Save Lives” and “Gun-free = Defense-free,” they are protesting what they refer to as the “Empty Holster” laws.
Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin already have provisions in the law for students to carry weapons on campus and Georgia will follow suit on July 1 with similar legislation.
However, an overwhelming majority of college students are vehemently against these laws. A recent study by the Journal of American College Health showed that 78 percent of students are opposed to weapons on campus.
This issue has been a topic of discussion dating to the mid-1870s. On Sept. 11, 1874, the Los Angeles Herald published the following article:
Boys and Pistols: Yesterday at noon a boy sixteen years of age shot himself, or was shot by his brother. It matters not who fired the fatal shot. No criminal act was intended or committed, and the boy is dead. He was a member of the High School of this city and was, we are told, something over the average good boy of Los Angeles. This boy lost his life through the too common habit among boys of carrying deadly weapons. We do not know that this habit can be broken up. We do not know that schoolteachers have the right, or would exercise it if they had, of searching the pockets of their pupils, but it seems almost a necessity that some such rule be enforced. The hills west of town are not safe for pedestrians after school hours. Nearly every school-boy carries a pistol, and the power of these pistols range from the harmless six-bit auction concern to the deadly Colt’s six-shooter.
The NRA and supporters would be happy to take the country back 150 years. Guns didn’t protect students then, and guns are not the solution now. Proponents of concealed carry feel that good guys with guns always trump bad guys with guns, but there is no way to distinguish between the two. A good student may develop emotional problems and decide suicide is the only solution. A child tormented by bullies may reach the breaking point and take revenge.
Luckily, these laws will never pass here in California, but for the red states — only time will tell.