As public mass shootings become more prevalent in the United States, the current debate has been cast in the direction of our schools and universities. In the wake of the mass school shooting that recently took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, many of the student survivors have galvanized a movement advocating for stricter gun regulations.
This movement, acknowledged as #NeverAgain, is sweeping the nation and catalyzed the March for Our Lives, where students and advocates alike protested in Washington, D.C., for their cause. As much of the country remains entrenched in controversy, one of the most relevant discussions has concerned allowing the concealed carry of a firearm on college campuses as a safety precaution.
To some it may seem as though this response would help ensure the safety of students and faculty members. However, a closer analysis of the relevant factors reveals just how counterintuitive such a measure could actually be, in addition to the virulence of its possible consequences.
There is no evidence to suggest that possessing a firearm will make you any safer on a college campus. Quite the contrary, if you increase the amount of weapons in the vicinity, you could possibly be increasing the likelihood that these weapons will be used.
This becomes markedly more frightful and unsettling when one considers the hands in which these weapons will be employed and the minds from which their use will be commanded. We are talking about college-aged students, most of whose cerebrums have not yet had the time to properly develop, being granted the use of a device capable of ending the life of whomever it may be pointed towards.
Even if faculty members may be better cognitively equipped than the prior to handle this responsibility, both parties are still not required to receive any formal training on the proper use of a firearm, training that takes skilled police officers and soldiers years to master.
In the event of an actual emergency, we would be relying on other students and faculty to properly assess the situation, discharge a firearm without injuring any bystanders and subdue an intruder. More harm than good stands to result from such an O.K. Corral-style firefight between untrained intellectuals and an active shooter.
Perhaps most disturbing of all is that this provision gives students and faculty members the ethical authority to choose when it would be appropriate to operate their weapons. This is a power reserved only for police officers and soldiers who must undergo years of compulsory ethical and legal training to achieve such a status.
It would be discomforting at best to attend class with the knowledge that my classmates or instructor may be in possession of a firearm and, if so, has the ability to implement its use whenever they may feel threatened or deem necessary.
Though there are currently some states that allow the concealed carry of a firearm on college campuses, Kentucky colleges or universities are given the opportunity to choose whether or not to ban this provision.
At Eastern Kentucky University, current policies prohibit the possession of any deadly weapon on university property. As students and faculty at EKU who are concerned with ensuring the safety of ourselves and our peers, we must stand firmly together in opposition of any legislation or policy reform that would bring concealed carrying on college campuses.
Alex Castle is a senior from Paintsville, Kentucky, graduating with a degree in occupational science. Castle is also a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.