Presence of guns would trigger anxiety

The Colorado Court of Appeals recently came to a ruling that allows students at the University of Colorado Boulder with concealed gun permits to carry weapons on campus. The decision was reached when the court ruled in favor of a group of students at the university. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus claimed the university’s ban on concealed carry violated state gun laws — in particular the Concealed Carry Act of 2003.

This is a dangerous decision.

After the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Columbine, it is ridiculous that a court would allow students to carry guns on a school campus. This ruling establishes a foundation upon which future judgments can be made, potentially expanding the right to carry a concealed weapon from the University of Colorado Boulder to any other institution of higher learning.

The baggage this decision carries weighs heavily on the future of gun control at universities. What if a similar group of students at USC followed in suit, fighting for the right to carry a gun on our campus?

How would you feel in lecture knowing the student you are sitting next to could very well have a gun in his backpack? Would you buy a gun to protect yourself from him? Would your neighbor buy a gun, too? Would the whole lecture carry guns to class?

If four hundred students in one room have a gun, there is no way anyone can feel safe.

Let’s say a fictional student, Tommy, is having a really bad day: He failed his math test, his girlfriend broke up with him and he might not have the money to attend school next semester. Now we have Mikey, who has no clue what is going on with Tommy, and accidently bumps into the poor sap.

This makes Tommy mad. Tommy has a gun. Tommy decides to shoot Mikey during lecture. Because everyone can legally have a gun on campus, someone shoots Tommy. Someone shoots that someone. Someone shoots that someone. It goes on until the room looks like a scene from a Tarantino film.

Good thing guns were allowed on campus, right?

How would you feel if your roommate had a gun? Could you sleep in your own room?

The slogan of the National Rifle Association is “Gun’s Don’t Kill People, People Kill People” — an idea it has adapted to refute gun control.

This seems only to be an excuse to remove the blame and guilt of the many deaths guns have caused from the people who for some reason believe having a gun on their person is the right thing to do.

The NRA further reference the right to bear arms listed in the Constitution to make their case..

But everyone is aware the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791 as a bastion to form a militia. Madison’s idea behind the amendment was to ensure the formation of a militia to rise up against a government, not the gratuitous possession of firearms.

The idea of gun control, along with many other topics of heated debate in America, is hard to argue over because there is no definite line as to where a gun ban should exist, or even if it should exist in the first place.

However, in the case of the university campus, there should be a ban on firearms. Not only are guns unsafe, but they also create an atmosphere of unease for many.

John Gudenzi is a junior majoring in English.

21 replies
  1. NM
    NM says:


    While I can understand your apprehension let’s not ignore a few missed points in your personal opinion. You mention that Tommy may have a bad day and use his gun to shoot Mickey. Perhaps someone may then shoot Tommy (obviously we are not talking about Tommy Trojan here), and so be it. Your concern it may turn into some sort of scene from a Tarantino film is a bit farfetched and a symptom of Hollywood’s affect on people’s perception of reality.

    The challenge in the Colorado courts is borne out of concern for public safety whether you agree or not. The facts in Virginia Tech cannot be ignored. Had there been someone in a position to stop the killing, many more would have survived. Only one student present in the classroom where the attack began tried to stop the attacker and was killed. That man is a hero and understood it was necessary for someone to act. The other students reacted by hiding behind one another and died that way, giving up their survival in hopes the attacker may suddenly turn benevolent.

    My opinion I that guns are not unsafe in themselves, but are tools to protect oneself and others. I agree with you that concern exists over their place in an educational institution. But don’t ignore the fact that guns have been used by people on campuses where guns were not permitted with tragic outcomes. I believe that students in Colorado take the position that they can defend themselves and their fellow students in a more timely manner, and stop killing before police can arrive.

    If given a choice, I would choose to be the sheep dog over sheep.

  2. yokel
    yokel says:

    Oh my gosh, what a bunch of fallacious arguments these sh*t-kicker wearing; pig-wrasslin’, Skoal in their lips dipping; driving their rusty Chevy truck with the shotgun rack; confederate flag hanging bumpkins come up with. What works in your little “redneckville USA” doesn’t work here in Los Angeles. I understand that in the places you come from, there are miles and miles of open, natural land in which you can shoot a gun and nobody will be hurt. It ain’t like that in Los Angeles. The status quo or societal norm in your little “population 115; great grandma and grandpa lived here for generations; everybody knows each other, etc. etc.” doesn’t apply here. So take your militia-minded; “NRA” and “Bush/Cheney” faded bumper sticker adorning, from underneath that rock you lived under. Step into the 21st century.

    • Martin Wills
      Martin Wills says:

      Sorry, I am not a sh*t-kicker etc. I am a USC graduate and lived in the USC/LA area for 16 years (I was also born in Orange County). I have done my duty for the USA in the US Navy as both enlisted and as an officer. I am a licensed and instrument rated Pilot. I am also a certified Dive Master. I have been a Police Officer in La Habra, CA and attended the police academy at Rio Hondo, CC. I currently am working as a Software Architect in Memphis TN. Population 1,700,000 with approximately the same population density as LA. So please take your opinionated, small-minded, racist remarks to your Klu-Klux Klan meetings or have your parents lock up your computer and go to bed at 9:00 pm like all the other kids.

      • dfgdfg
        dfgdfg says:

        So what was your major at USC? “Condescending and arrogant remarks”? And seriously, the fact that most of your professional experience has involved guns, weapons, and the violence monopoly doesnt make you seem like a rational, not-emotionall-guided and thoughtfull commentator on the subject of guns and gun control. In fact, it makes you seem like a gun-fetishist.Second, who cares if you are a pilot and dive instructor?! Good for you.

  3. Heinrich
    Heinrich says:

    What on earth do you need a gun for these days? I am so sick of this American fantasy that we still live in the era of cowboys and a sidearm is essential for protection. Protection from what?!? The Trojan Dining golf carts? Crazy homeless people? Paddle wielding frat bros? It’s so easy to sit back from a distance and fantasize about gun ownership, but I can tell you right now, if USC ever allowed students to carry firearms on campus or in student housing, I would transfer in a heartbeat and never look back. If my roommate had a gun, I would promptly find a new place to live, even if the guy was Mohandas Gandhi. I do not want to live or go to school in an area where gun use is trusted to the greater population. Sorry, but my faith in people handling firearms responsibility is not as strong as others’.

  4. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    I think everyone should be allowed to carry rocket launchers, big machine guns and flamethrowers on campus. And drive to school in an Abrams tank, and perhaps not even get out of the tank for lecture. I mean, I do have the right to defend myself according to the second ammendment. Besides, how else am I going to feel safe when everyone else is carrying guns unless I have some sort of armored transport to take me around. I mean, sersiouly, I need to be able to carry heave military grade weapons to school in order to feel safe and protect myself against everyone else with guns.

  5. David
    David says:

    The board of trustees would not decide on such a rule over state schools, it would be the Board of Regents who are in a sense all state officers. Generally bans on guns on public school property are decided by the state legislature though so for something like this to change a legal challenge would be made against the state, constitution, or past legislative rulings on gun bans on public school property.

    In response to your question to what would stop an 18 year old from bringing a concealed shotgun on campus if a ban was lifted, what is to stop them from doing that now? Absolutely nothing. It is rather foolish to make to try to make this argument as there isn’t any evidence to use to show that gun violence went up on college campuses after bans were lifted. Also, is there any statistical data showing gun violence went *down* after a ban was placed on guns on college campuses? I can’t think of a state that allows gun on public college campuses where data like this might be available.

    • Thomas
      Thomas says:

      Yeah, absolutely nothing will stop them from doing that…except this thing called…uhhhnmmm.. “The law”. But if you believe the law is not enough to stop anyone from doing anything, why not abolish completely as well as any ineffective bans on guns?

      • David
        David says:

        What I was trying to get at is that any individual who is emotionally deranged enough to maliciously bring a weapon onto campus certainly isn’t going to consider the legal ramifications of their actions. The law does not stop those individuals because they could care less about the law as history has unfortunately proven.

        The point I was attempting to make is that gun bans or lack thereof do not stop those sort of incidents from occurring. Metal detectors or preventative social/suicidal counseling? perhaps…

        • Thomas
          Thomas says:

          The same can be said for just about anything that is illegal. Murder is illegal, yet it still happens. Does that automatically mean that murder should be legalized? What should be considered is that school shootings and such are as a rule extended suicides. The person who commits these things are very depressed and suffering from a long line of problem. They plan on killing themselves and taking as many as possible with them. In almost every case these people have bought their guns legally. Because deranged lunatics like Cho wouldnt have the street smarts or people skills to establish a connection with an illegal weapons dealer. These are crazies who just happen to have guns available to them.

        • Thomas
          Thomas says:

          Also, what I meant was not that they will stop because of their consideration for the law (they are planning to commit suicide anyways). But the law will allow authorities to take action against them for carrying guns on campus. As a law student I think I view the law a bit differently. Also suggesting that everyone should have a gun to defend agains these crazies invites to a armaments race, where the crazies will probably start getting bullet-proof vets and bigger guns to take out anyone who might shoot back. Hardly the ideal situation. And what if the guy who shoots back is not the best shot and shoots someone else? Just because u are awesome at the gun range doesnt mean that you will perform as well when u are under pressure in a life-or-death situation.

  6. Hick
    Hick says:

    Some of you comment that this article is a “straw man,” “slippery slope” argument and the likes. I personally, think it’s scary to know that someone in his/her early 20’s or younger, has a firearm on them. I don’t think most people will snap and pull a Columbine or Virginia Tech because he/she is having a bad day, or their personal lives are in disarray; but Columbine, Virginia Tech and the likes should have taught us a lesson. These tragedies aren’t too far back in the past.

    What do you need a gun for? Why do you feel compelled to carry it on your person? Just like your counter arguments, that…you wouldn’t be afraid to fall asleep if your room mate or fellow student in a lecture hall has a gun on his/her person.

    Then me ask you this. Are there gun ranges on campus? Do you strongly believe that someone on campus or off campus will cause you bodily harm?

    Carrying a gun around is pretty “wild wild West” if you ask me. We’re not a bunch of crude neanderthals who need to carry “big clubs so to fight off threatening tribes.”

  7. John
    John says:

    This is an op-ed piece, one I feel rather strongly about, so I would like to respond to the comments thus far.
    Casey – I could not sleep in my room with a stranger owning a gun.
    Joe – I hope that I have not given you the idea to start a suit, that would be the opposite effect of what I wanted.
    David – State schools and private universities is something I looked into. Of course private universities have the right to ban firearms, I believe state schools do as well as there are a board of trustees appointed to run the schools (to change their ruling would negate their presence). Also if state schools did allow guns on college campuses, what is to stop 18 year old high school students from carrying shotguns in their bags (a lacrosse bag can fit a shotgun)?
    Not Sure – The article is more to make a point than anything. Many people can pass tests, but it only takes one accident or one fleeting thought to end up in a bad situation with a gun.
    Mr. Wills – You bring up many interesting points I would like to address. First, you claim the number of homicides decreased as firearm carrying was legalized more freely in your town in Tennessee. I’m going to take your word for it, regardless though, do you not think the amount of deaths in relation to gun control can be relative to the context? Living in Los Angeles can be frightening at times, especially where USC is located, and as I said above, it only takes one accident from the permanent death of a being.
    Also, you are worried about students like me sitting in the class room for what reason? Giving my opinion, in an opinion piece? This is illogical. If I believe that guns are unsafe and pointless, I’m going to factor that opinion into my article. Its not an insecurity to wish that everyone could put down weapons, I feel as though it is the opposite, and it is the insecure who cling to their guns. Why do you need them? Also I am aware of the trials of owning a gun, but are you aware many people can walk into a gun show without all of these things you listed and purchase a firearm? I would like to point out, in addition, that for some reason you found the need to point out that women pass a familiarization test more often than men and call this fact odd. What is the oddity about this?

  8. Casey
    Casey says:

    How would you feel if your roommate had a gun?

    I have no problem with him/her owning a gun provided the gun was obtained legally.

    Could you sleep in your own room?

    Sure, why not? Like I am going to lose sleep because someone legally owns a gun? Are you serious?

    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
    — Robert A. Heinlein, “Beyond This Horizon”, 1942

    • Hick
      Hick says:

      You’re taking Heinlein’s comment out of context, and you need to consider it was written about 70 years ago when the status quo was vastly different then.

      The Virginia Tech perpetrator also obtained a gun LEGALLY…but I’m not saying that all people who obtain guns legally will blow your brains out when you’re asleep.

      Stop using weak fallacious arguments.

  9. Joe
    Joe says:

    “What if a similar group of students at USC followed in suit, fighting for the right to carry a gun on our campus?”

    That is a VERY INTERESTING idea.

  10. David
    David says:

    I can understand how this could be legally challenged regarding conceal carry on public property such as CU Boulder’s campus however would the same right to carry apply when trying to conceal carry on private university property such as with a school like USC? Isn’t USC located on private property and as such can deny the right to carry a gun on-site like most other private property owners? Forgive my ignorance on this matter, I am not for or against conceal carry on school property but just curious how it would apply to a private university versus state schools.

  11. Not Sure
    Not Sure says:

    Personally, I think we will be surprised how this turns out. It seems bad, but after researching it my guess is that we won’t see any new shootings as a result of this. The article implies that anyone can now carry a gun at CU, but that isn’t the case. The people who will be allowed to carry must have CCW permits, which means (according to CRS 18-12-203) that they have proven competency with a gun (via military, police, or other training), are at least 21 years old, have not been convicted of a felony, are not alcoholics, are not drug users, have passed a background check, and have no restraining orders against them. In addition, the county sheriff must approve the permit, and can deny someone a permit for pretty much any reason, including past behavior, mental instability, age, etc. It is actually quite difficult to get a CCW permit. I am not saying I am ready to bring this to USC, I’m saying I am not convinced it will turn out badly for CU. Maybe this will precipitate a shooting at CU, or maybe it will prevent or stop one? What would have happened if someone at Virginia Tech had been carrying a concealed weapon?

  12. Martin Wills
    Martin Wills says:

    What a pile of adolescent naiveness. There was an article on this very website, not to long ago, where someone was claiming that allowing weapons in to a restaurant where alcohol is being served would cause untold loss of life. Well, where is this large number of deaths promised? I live in Tennessee. Last year this state removed the prohibition of weapons where alcohol was served (They did this simply to maintain the their reciprocity agreements with other states ). Everybody went running and shouting to the State Legislature claiming the same argument. They even went so far as to provide statistics of the number homicides performed outside of alcohol serving establishments. Guess what THE NUMBER OF HOMICIDES WENT DOWN outside of alcohol serving establishments after the law went into effect. What really worries me is having 400 kids like the author sitting in class. It really speaks to the demise of education and journalism when the people doing the publishing fail to do any research and rather share their own insecurities with the rest of world and try to pass them off fact. Please seek psychological help for your insecurities or just simply grow up and look at the facts.

    The facts are: To possess a weapon in any state that allows it your are required by federal law 1) Be of appropriate age. 2) Take an appropriate class to learn the laws and liabilities of carrying a weapon. 3) Pass a weapon familiarization class (more women pass this the first time than men oddly enough). 4) Submit a completed certificate along with a fee (in my state it is $300.00) to cover the costs of a background check at the state and federal levels (in my case it took 135 days – 4 1/2 months).

    I can assure you that after approximately 5 1/2 months of waiting, I don’t think anyone would be of the same mindset to do a columbine or a VT massacre. I also might point out that the criminals in these cases would never have been allowed to own/carry a weapon in either state if they would have gone through this process. The columbine kids were too young, and the VT person wouldn’t have been able to pass the state background check because of his previous record.

    So make decisions on facts and not on adolescent angst.

    • dfgdfg
      dfgdfg says:

      I suggest then that you take your own advice and check up the facts. First of all, what is the source for these statistics concering number of homicides in tennesse? Pulling random obscure number out of your ass can hardly be called sticking to the facts. Second the VT shooter, Cho, did in fact purchase his guns legally. Third, as you assured, I am sure that YOU think that anyone would not be of the mindset ot commit a massacre after waiting for X months. But you know what? It happened. Not surprisingly, your unproffessional opinion of a school shooters psychology does not carry far. Ironically, you seem to be more motivated to *proving* that guns are “good”, then to looking at the facts.

      If I was as unserious a debator as you, I would simply point out that Europe has much less gun possesion than the united states and much fewer homicides.

      Guns dont kill people, people with guns kill people.

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