Guns on Campus and the 2nd Amendment: a Renewed Debate

By Neetal Parekh on October 06, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Arizona raised a few eyebrows this month by legally permitting concealed guns in bars.  And while alcohol and ammo may be a potentially-dangerous combination, the state law also allows those licensed to carry concealed weapons the right to keep loaded guns in locked cars at work or state college campuses.  The move unearths the debate of guns on campus, with vocal supporters on either side.

It is a grisly scene.   A lone gunman with a loaded weapon enters a college campus and approaches a lecture hall, opening fire and inflicting injury, destruction, and fatality.  Unfortunately, in the past few years a version of this scene has repeated itself on college campuses including Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, and Delaware State University.

Responses are swift and disparate.  While some cite the instances as proof of additional controls and regulations needed on gun licensing and use in colleges, others use the same calamities to support the argument for broadening the U.S. Constitution's 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.   While the former trace how the gunmen were able to purchase and be licensed to own and carry a weapon, the latter point out an inherent deterrent that could be established if other students or staff had access to guns to stop any breakout of violence.

And though Arizona has taken center stage in the renewed debate many of these questions have already been answered for the state by the recent legislation.  The Arizona law, although permitting storage of loaded weapons in locked cars, does not go so far to allow the carrying of loaded guns on to campus or into lecture halls. 

However, the debates continue marked with passionate voices on either side, and in hopes that thinking critically about the issue from all angles will help safeguard college students and faculty today and in the future. 


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