Should we be pleased? Students Oppose Concealed-Carry Gun Policy on Campuses
The Chronicle of Higher Education has a report on a new survey which suggests most students are against the idea of people being allowed to carry concealed guns on campus.
As state legislatures continue to debate whether to allow people to carry concealed firearms on college campuses, a survey shows that most students oppose the idea.
The survey, conducted by Ball State University, found that 78 percent of students at 15 Midwestern colleges were against the carrying of handguns on campuses and would not obtain a permit to do so if it were allowed.
A similar majority, nearly four in five students, said they would not feel safe if students, faculty members, and visitors were allowed to carry guns.
Bringing student voices into the debate over guns on campuses was part of what drove Jagdish Khubchandani, a professor of community health education at Ball State, to conduct the survey. “Most of our laws on campus in regards to guns do not really consider student perspectives,” he said. Now “the students have spoken.”
Most of the 1,649 undergraduates surveyed thought that allowing concealed weapons would increase the rate of suicide and homicide on campuses. Those who supported concealed carry, Mr. Khubchandani said, were far more likely to be male, to own a gun, to have been the victim of a crime, and to binge-drink.
Sixteen percent of respondents reported owning at least one gun, while half admitted that they didn’t know whether their university had a policy concerning firearms on the campus.
I’ve been reflecting on this for a few days now and I’m still finding it really quite difficult to process. I accept, reluctantly, that there are entirely different traditions in the USA and Europe about gun ownership and control which mean that the terms of the debate are different. However, we are talking about university campuses here. Places dedicated to education, knowledge creation, research and dissemination. Institutions where disputes are resolved through rational argument and debate rather than violence. And yet in this US survey, the students have spoken and barely 80% of students think carrying handguns is a bad idea. Only 80%! And 16% already have a gun themselves. I just find it very difficult to understand why the scale of objection is not larger given that we are talking about higher education. What is it that enables some students to reconcile a university environment with the ownership of a firearm?