In light of a string of deadly shootings over the past year at colleges and churches across the nation, some CSU students say they know what will help the trend that has caused the deaths of 41 people, 36 of them college students — students carrying concealed weapons.
After Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at the University of Virginia Tech in April, colleges across the nation scrutinized their protocol in the case of a shooting and many revamped their policies. But Anthony Ryan, a senior art major and campus leader for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, says it might help if students started carrying guns on campus — an activity which is allowed by CSU administration.
“I think it could happen anywhere, and that’s why I think the administration here at CSU and the campus police department allow us to do what we do, because they know it is a possibility,” Ryan said.
Current university policy allows students with a concealed weapons permit to carry anywhere but the residence halls on campus, including classrooms.Some students disagree that concealed weapons should be allowed on campus.
Mark Spowart, a freshman open option major, said he felt uncomfortable with the fact that anyone with a concealed weapons permit was allowed to carry a gun at CSU.
“I think it’s pretty messed up,” Spowart said. “Ten years ago I would have been fine with it, but in light of everything that’s been going on, there’s a lot of f***ed-up people out there . I don’t want them walking around campus with a gun. Some people may have it for self-defense, but that nut who says he has it for self-defense and then starts unloading on a crowd . I’m not cool with it.”
Ericka Taylor, a sophomore chemistry major, said it’s not up to students to worry about a shooting, but that students who could carry guns on campus made her nervous.
“I really don’t like the fact (that concealed carry is allowed) because we really don’t need it here on campus,” she said. “We have police, you should feel safe, so I don’t get why you should feel you need to bring your own weapon here on campus when it’s safe already. It makes me nervous that people can be walking around with (guns).”
But Ryan said people who carry concealed weapons are generally of a more healthy state of mind because they have to qualify for a permit.
“We’re law-abiding citizens; we have to be in order to get approved,” he said.
People who are capable of shootings, Ryan said, don’t conceal their weapons before they go on a rampage because they have no need to hide the weapon.
“I tend to believe some of these people already have what you could call a death wish, so they’re not going to care either way,” he said.
Jenny Romanin, a sophomore agricultural business major and shotgun sports team president, agrees with Ryan.
“The people that do everything by the book .you go through a course that’s taught by the government,” she said. “They teach you safety. It’s not like, ‘Oh I have a gun, I have road rage, I can go shoot some guy because he cut me off’. the intentions aren’t to go out and hurt anybody or kill anybody.”
Ryan said the reason students should be allowed to carry is that a shooter won’t stop shooting if every student is unarmed and unable to fight back.
“(The police) can’t be everywhere,” he said. “Unless they could guarantee that there’s an officer in every room that is armed and ready to take out an individual, then they’re going to be a couple of minutes behind, and that couple of minutes might be 32 lives, as we saw at Virginia Tech.”
The issue, Ryan said, is one that affects all students.
“This isn’t just about active shooters,” he said. “This isn’t just about (Virginia Tech) and (University of Northern Illinois) scenarios. This is about any kind of protection from any kind of an assault. We can’t say that there’s not going to be an active shooter, we can’t say that there isn’t going to be an assault.”
Staff writer Andy Dose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.