Firestorm over Gun Safety on College Campuses

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Police search students following the Oct 1 shooting at Umpqua Community college.  Photo courtesy of  People.com

Police search students following the Oct 1 shooting at Umpqua Community college. Photo courtesy of People.com

After a recent shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, a nationwide debate has occurred on the issue of gun control, and more specifically, firearms on community college campuses. This is an issue especially pertinent to Snow College students and faculty.

If you don’t have a record, pass a background check, and complete a concealed weapons course, you can get a concealed weapons permit, explains Officer Bob Wright. “Snow complies with the state law (in regards to concealed weapons allowed in public places.)”

Some support allowing concealed carry on campus: “If they pass the class, they should be able to have one [concealed weapons permit]” says Marissa Nelson, a Snow College sophomore. Nelson says that having concealed weapons on campus make us safer.

McCall Chappell, a freshman at Snow, agrees. She says that it should be allowed, “as long as the person who has the gun is safe.”

However, others expressed their opposition to concealed carry on campus. Professor Lisa Fay Coutley says that “I do not think that any college campus can prevent school shootings by allowing students, staff, or faculty to carry weapons (we are learners and educators, not police officers), but I do think that allowing people to conceal weapons makes it that much easier for them to harm others.”

Professor Coutley says that the law doesn’t disrupt the learning environment of her classroom: “I will continue to teach as I do because I believe that in this or any learning environment it is my job to promote growth and critical thinking and to ask students to grapple with difficult questions and concepts. I also believe that my silence is more dangerous than my voice.”

Regardless of your position on this issue, Officer Wright says that it is best to leave firearms at home. There is so much going on at college, and distractions cause issues. “People get hurt when they are doing high risk things at low frequency. That’s a recipe for a potential incident.”

If a student does have a concealed weapons permit, Wright warns: “A concealed weapons law allows just that: concealed weapons.” Wright says that with a concealed weapon permit there is “a greater liability.”

Even in situations where the firearm owner may feel that they are protecting safety of students, “they’re just as accountable as I am for where that bullet goes.”

For the general public at Snow, Officer Wright strongly suggest: “If you see or hear something: say something. Many incidents have signs.”

He also offers a strong caution for Social Media. “Many people think Social Media is anonymous, but it’s not.” He also says that anything threatening or dangerous on social media sites should also be reported.

President Gary Carlston, president of Snow College, echoed Wright’s words in an email to faculty: “Be vigilant about noticing and reporting unusual or threatening behaviors on campus so there can be early intervention.”

Kyle Friant is from Monroe, Utah, and he is majoring in Journalism. When Kyle has finished his two years at Snow College, he wants to transfer to BYU and get his masters in Journalism. He wants to become a journalist and work for Fox News as a political analyst. At Snow College, Kyle has founded a club called “Snow College Republicans”. Not only does politics interest Kyle, he is also working for a charity organization called Haitian Roots, in which he helps out with receipts for people who donate to the charity.

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