Tue. Jan 22nd, 2019

Gun demonstration boils down to fear

guns, open carry

guns, open carry

By Nick Amon —

Armed with handguns and assault rifles, over 20 demonstrators – some students – walked around U of L in an advocacy march, hoping to stir the conversation on concealed carry.

“I’m not advocating to carry an AR-15 into a classroom,” student organizer Aaron Spalding said during the march. “It’s to advocate licensed concealed carry holders to be able to protect themselves on campus.”

But protect themselves from what? Students are more likely to be run over at the crosswalk in front of the Ville Grill than be gunned down in the middle of class.

Some of the demonstrators may feel safer bringing their guns on campus, given off-campus crime, lack of ULPD officers and unreliable emergency systems. However, how safe would this make others on campus?

According to research at John Hopkins University, increased gun presence on campus could make common acts more deadly and therefore have a “deleterious” impact on students, faculty and staff.

Drinking and acts of petty theft happen on college campuses across the country. What makes me think more firearms on campus will add to this mix and have a positive outcome? Although it seems this is pretty clear-cut, there’s still a growing advocacy for firearm presence on campuses.

Eight states allow concealed carry at colleges, 18 states prohibit concealed carry and 23 states leave the decision to the school. Kentucky falls under the last category, and U of L prohibits concealed carry.

Maybe instead of putting all of your energy into fighting for concealed carry on campus, you channel this same energy into fighting for what needs to be fixed on campus first. Does ULPD need more manpower? Of course. Do the emergency systems across campus need revitalization? Of course. Does SGA need to fight for more student safety initiatives? Of course.

U of L could provide a safer environment for its students, but ignoring that the current safety measures need to be revamped just because you feel like bringing your gun to class doesn’t solve anything. You’re not helping the problem; you’re making it worse.

If we’re focused on the ideology that students with guns promote a safer learning environment, then maybe the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims should’ve been keeping handguns in their cubbies. Sounds absurd right? The notion that more guns lead to more student safety is equally absurd.

I vaguely understand where these demonstrators are coming from. I’m a strong believer in the second amendment and I think responsible gun ownership is a cornerstone to any good democracy. However, just because someone has their concealed carry license doesn’t mean they’re a responsible gun owner. I’m also not willing to take the chance of putting my life in jeopardy because of someone’s fear of the unknown.

I guess that’s what this boils down to – fear. Once you look beyond the pistol toting and self-defense rhetoric, the only thing left that these demonstrators are armed with is an immense amount of fear. A fear of not only feeling the need to defend themselves at all times, but a fear to actually take on the problem of campus safety in a serious manner that addresses it for the complex situation that it is.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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