Editorial: Guns shouldn’t be part of the college experience

Photo+by+Emmalene+Oysti.

Photo by Emmalene Oysti.

North Wind Staff

The Michigan State Senate recently passed legislation that, if passed in the House, may allow concealed firearms in formerly gun-free zones such as stadiums, day cares, churches, bars, universities, dorms and more, as long as licensed gun holders partake in eight additional hours of training than already required.

NMU’s current gun policy requires students who own guns to register and store their firearms with NMU Public Safety & Police Services. This policy will stay intact despite recent changes in legislation as long as the policy remains in accordance with state law.

We at The North Wind hope NMU is able to keep the current gun policies in place to withhold some of the potential danger that comes with allowing college students to open carry.

Being students at an Upper Peninsula university, we understand that hunting is a great tool for sustenance and that “gun culture” as a whole is not something meant to inspire violence against other human beings.

But, a college campus isn’t the open woods and does not provide the safest environment for concealed weapons. Many of the most recent shootings in our country and some of the largest national tragedies have involved an open shooter on a school campus.

Loose university gun policies may not have provided the impetus for these tragedies, but one commonality amongst college students has and could again—emotional volatility.

A student’s time at a university is one of experimentation, trial and error and also extreme stress. While stress and mental illness are no strangers to students, neither are drinking and drugs. Just as a quickly as decisions to engage with these substances are made, so too could a gun enter a peaceful disagreement and go off. These situations can escalate exponentially by adding firearms into an already perilous cocktail.

Eight plus hours of learning to shoot and carry a firearm does not make one suitable in making rational decisions rapidly in high stress situations. Wielding devices designed with the intention of ending lives on college campuses, bars, churches, etc. can turn one person’s bad day into another person’s last day.