More Guns on Campus? | Newsweek National News | Newsweek.com
More Guns on Campus?
By Suzanne Smalley | Newsweek Web Exclusive
It was a sickeningly familiar scene. A student-gunman opened fire Thursday during a lecture at Northern Illinois University, killing five and wounding 15 before turning the gun on himself. The deadly spree was the fifth school shooting this week—and a traumatic reminder that for all the efforts to improve campus security nationwide since the massacre at Virginia Tech last year, students and faculty remain disturbingly vulnerable.
A nonprofit organization called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus would like to change that. The group, whose 12,000 members nationwide include college students, faculty and parents, champions legislation that would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on campus, in the hope that an alert and well-trained citizen could stop a deranged shooter before he or she could do serious damage. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 13 states are currently considering some form of "concealed carry" legislation aimed at campuses. Utah is the group's model; after a state Supreme Court ruling found that the state university had violated a law allowing permit holders to carry concealed weapons, the school agreed that guns could legally be carried on its grounds. Some states, like Colorado, do not explicitly ban licensed students and faculty from carrying hidden weapons onto school grounds, though most universities in such states impose restrictions of their own.