Should Firearms Be Permitted On Campus?

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Aidan Khelil, Writer

On Tuesday, January 17, the Senate Hearing for Donald Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education was carried out. Betsy DeVos, the 59-year-old nominee, was outspoken in her opinion on whether or not firearms should be kept in schools to protect the students, teachers, and administration inside.

Firearms in schools have been a taboo topic for quite some time now, and it’s easy to understand why. In the USA, there have been 213 school shootings since 2013. One proposed solution to the problem is the permission for teachers and administration to carry concealed firearms in school. In the event of an attack against the school, these weapons could be used for the defense of the students. It seems logical enough, but how good of an idea is it really?

“Campus carry” laws have been gaining ground in recent years due to the rulings of the Supreme Court in cases such as McDonald v. Chicago (08-1521) and DC v. Heller (07-290). The results of these cases have strengthened the argument for the observation of the Second Amendment even on school grounds. As of January 26, 2017, eight states have provisions allowing for the carrying of concealed handguns: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.

Despite the seemingly widespread support for campus carry laws, having large numbers of students bearing firearms on campus may not be effective in stopping violent crime. In 2013, the FBI published an investigation titled A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013. The study reports that in only 3.1% of school shooting incidents did the shooting end due to the intervention of armed civilians engaging the shooter.

Furthermore, statistics point to a lower number of gun-related deaths when gun restriction laws are in place. In 2012, the U.S. recorded a total of 8,813 murders involving guns. Canada, a country with roughly 11% of the U.S. population, only had about 2% of that number, with 172 in total in 2012. The lower rate of homicide can be explained by the fact that Canada has much stricter gun laws compared to those of the U.S.A.

From these numbers, it can be argued that, rather than putting a greater number of guns into the classroom to protect students from firearm-related homicides, a better strategy to limit the number of injuries due to firearms would be to implement stricter gun-control laws nationwide. In doing this, the United States would have the best chance of minimizing gun-related threats while also preserving the much-revered Second Amendment.