Happiness is a gun-free campus

Welcome to the year 2007.

Though we don’t have flying cars, jetpacks or colonies on the moon or Mars, we are far from frontier times and the Wild West. The idea of having people walking around Kent State, let alone in public, with concealed firearms is rather frightening.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is, obviously, an advocate for the right of students and professors to carry concealed guns on campus. The group recently held protests on college campuses, asking student supporters to wear empty holsters.

One of the group’s main reasons behind their argument for the right to have concealed carry on campuses is last year’s shooting at Virginia Tech. If even one student or professor had a licensed firearm that day, they argue, the shooting would have ended sooner with fewer deaths.

That is entirely possible. It really could happen. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s also entirely possible any student or professor with a gun would only have added to the mayhem.

Is that a risk you’re willing to take?

We’re not.

The Second Amendment exists to protect people’s right to own a firearm. Whether this needs change is not the point here. The issue is whether students and professors have the right to carry concealed guns in class, in the dorms and every other place on campus.

We’ve gone through the group’s Web site. We’ve read each of the counters to the arguments against concealed carry on campus. While they are well thought out, we’re not convinced.

Obviously anyone who applies for a gun should receive extensive training on proper and legal use. The requirements should be even higher for concealed carry, whether in public or just on campus. There are already such restrictions in place, but when it comes to public safety, there must be more.

Having a gun in your home is one thing. That’s your own private residence. It’s up to you if you think you need a gun to feel safe and you have enough training to make sure the gun won’t make a dangerous situation worse.

Having a gun on campus is a completely different matter. There are more people around. The chances of something going wrong and people getting hurt increase exponentially. It’s no longer a matter of risking the lives of just your family. By carrying a gun around campus, you are making yourself responsible for the lives and safety of everyone you encounter.

That doesn’t mean you need to turn into the hero from some action movie and save the day. This means you are liable for anything that should result from you carrying a concealed weapon on campus.

Yes, you’d be licensed. Yes, you’d have training. Yes, you’d know the laws. But, in a real life situation such as Virginia Tech, can you guarantee that you wouldn’t give in to emotions or lose your nerve? That doesn’t make you any less of a man or woman. It’s just a question of would every person who had a concealed firearm be capable of remembering their training to act properly and not add to the chaos?

It all seems to work well in theory, but when it comes to the actual application, that doesn’t sound like a risk worth taking.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.