Many students at Northern took part in the Concealed Campus Empty Holster Protest last week, showing their support for carrying concealed weapons on campus. Every time I saw an empty holster, I cringed.
I remember weapons coming up during my orientation this past summer. Our student guide explained how guns, knives –– basically anything that wouldn’t be allowed in a high school –– would have to be stored at Public Safety. They also said, however, that arrows were permitted in the dorms. It seemed like a consolation prize to all of those hunters who’d miss their rifles outside hunting season. I found it a little unsettling.
Northern’s policy on weapons states, “It is a violation of Northern Michigan University ordinance to bring any lethal or dangerous weapon on the NMU campus … You are not allowed to use, carry, transport, store or possess lethal or dangerous weapons or explosives anywhere on the NMU campus.”
Northern students, through the Empty Holster Protest, are now showing their support for protective weapons to be carried for defense purposes in case of emergency situations, such as the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007.
According to ConcealedCampus.org, the Empty Holster Protest is “a peaceful demonstration that involves students wearing empty holsters to class, distributing literature, and holding debates or speaking events.”
Participants were trying to make everyone feel campus would be a better, more protected place if a law gets passed allowing NMU students to pack heat. All I have to say to that is seeing all those potential concealed carry students walking past me turned my stomach in knots. I wouldn’t even consider carrying a gun, and I have an even harder time accepting the idea that my classmates might be able to in the future.
An article on ConcealedCampus.org commented about signs banning guns from particular buildings or schools, saying, “What these signs actually do is create (and advertise) a defense-free zone, removing legal guns and forcibly disarming victims. This is exactly what makes colleges most attractive to killers who seek easy targets.”
While I can understand the logic, especially after our close-to-home shooting threat this semester, I still have a hard time adjusting to the idea that someday the boy sitting next to me in class could be toying with a gun in his pocket, not just reaching for his cell phone.
Just this last week in Phoenix, the Arizona House passed a campus gun bill along to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for approval. The bill would allow students the option to carry concealed weapons while walking or driving through state university and community college campuses, but would not allow those weapons inside campus buildings.
Currently, Colorado and Utah allow concealed weapons on college campuses, and Texas is undergoing legislation leading toward allowing concealed weapons.
Regardless of the extensive background checks, applications and approvals citizens have to go through before they are allowed to carry handguns, I still maintain allowing any kind of dangerous weapon on campus is asking for trouble.
According to an article by CBS News, Arizona “State Rep. Bob Robson said guns on campuses are a bad idea because students and others experience such emotional highs and lows due to grades, exams and other circumstances.”
College is a frustrating place for almost every student. From freshmen new to college to seniors close to graduating, and from transfer students adjusting to a new campus to non-traditional students learning how to use laptops for the first time, every student has their own set of stressors. Said stressors may lead to outbursts that could potentially be dangerous, and I sure wouldn’t want that guy who gets worked up over every “C” grade expressing his anger with a semi-automatic pistol.