Guns on campus will hurt academic community

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The recent shooting accident in the dorms may be a foreshadowing of what to expect when concealed carry becomes legal on campus as of July 1. Kansas State’s president, Gen. Richard B. Myers has been consistently vocal about this issue, saying that he is worried about the safety of the students.

Speaking to a crowd inside Forum Hall after being voted president, Myers said, “I still think it’s not a good idea for campus. I’d be a lot better with it if they said you had to have some sort of training, because in the military we give people weapons, but we train them on how to use those weapons.”

In a survey by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University, 70 percent of faculty and staff at universities in the Kansas Board of Regents system oppose the new law.

Many staff and faculty members worry about the actions that a student who has not been professionally trained to use a gun and who is not required to have a permit for concealed carry, might act on a crowded campus.

Others worry that a student packing heat might accidentally fire off a live-round, injuring him or herself, or others.

This should be a concern to all of us. An analysis by Everytown For Gun Safety, found that between 2013-2015, there were 160 schools shootings in 38 states, approximately 75 of which occurred on college campuses.

“At least 14 shootings on college or university campuses— nearly a quarter of total documented incidents there — occurred after a confrontation or verbal argument intensified to gunfire,” Everytown For Gun Safety reported.

Part of the college experience is challenging your own beliefs and world views with other students and professors. That is how one grows intellectually, whether it happens by forming stronger arguments for your position, or simply admitting that someone else might be right.

If students are afraid they might get shot by having an argument with someone they disagree with, what we will see is fewer constructive conversations and fewer exchanges of ideas, which hinders any academic community.

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