Jessica Mondillo’s Blog

Guns on Campus May Just Save Your Life

17 February 2008

I wrote this as an Op-Ed for a class of mine, but in light of all the recent school shootings, I feel I need to post this on the Internet:

Prior to Virginia Tech, Luby’s Massacre was the deadliest shooting in American history. On a sunny October 16, 1991, shooter George Jo Hennard drove into Luby’s Cafeteria in Texas, which at the time had laws banning the concealed carry of guns that are similar to the laws found today that ban firearms on most college campuses. Hennard shot and killed 23 people and wounded 23 more before killing himself.

Dr. Suzanna Gratia Hupp was in the cafeteria that day with her parents and watched Hennard kill both of them. Hupp, despite not being from a gun owning family, had acquired a firearm and left it in her car due to the state’s restrictions. She later testified to the Texas state congress in favor of concealed carry. Hupp said, “I’m not saying that I could have saved anybody in there, but I would have had a chance… My state has gun control laws. It did not keep Hennard from coming in and killing everybody! What it did do, was keep me from protecting my family!”

Since Luby’s Massacre, many states have adopted some form of concealed carry laws. These laws allow licensed individuals to carry firearms into many locations including restaurants, movie theaters and parks. The one place most states limit or allow the limiting of concealed carry is on college campuses. Yet by allowing concealed carry on campus, state law makers and school officials would be taking a step towards making college campuses safer.

Concealed carry on campus would be restricted by the same laws that are safely and effectively used throughout the state. In Massachusetts, to get a concealed carry permit you must be 21, pass a training course and then go through background checks before you can be approved by your local police department.

I am not saying everyone on campus should have a handgun. If someone does not want a firearm it will cause accidents due to carelessness. But that is no reason that trained college students and professors should have their second amendment right to carry a firearm infringed. Every day these students and teachers, like millions of others in the United States, carry a firearm without incident, yet they are denied the ability to protect themselves on campus if an emergency ever occurs.

Many people claim that with concealed carry on campus more guns would be on campus which would lead to an increase in crime. This is similar to a claim made before many states changed the laws stopping citizens from carrying a firearm to allowing them to carry a concealed firearm. In many cases, crime rates in states actually went down once concealed carry was implemented.

On several college campuses, concealed carry is already a part of everyday life. According to MSNBC, Utah began to allow concealed carry on campus in 2006. According to the crime reports on the University of Utah’s police department’s website, there was no jump in gun related or other violent crimes on campus in 2006.

There was actually a decrease in forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault and burglary, according to the police website. Illegal weapons possession throughout the entire campus totaled zero in 2006.

The claim that firearms on campus would be a distraction was also proved false in Utah. In an MSNBC report, Timmy Allin, an out of state freshman at the University of Utah, had no idea that guns were even allowed on campus. This demonstrates that not only are guns not a problem on campuses that allow them, guns do not detract from the learning process.

According to a report by the state of Virginia, the tragedy that occurred April 16, 2007 on the Virginia Tech (gun free) campus occurred when shooter Seung-Hui Cho went on a 10 to 12 minute rampage that killed 30 people and wounded 17 more. On average Cho shot someone every 13 to 15 seconds.

Boston University’s (where I go to school) police department has an average response time for a crime of three minutes after they receive the phone call according to their website. If there was a massacre style shooting on the BU campus, by the time the BU police arrived onto the scene of the shooting, a shooter like Cho would have shot at least 12 people, that is assuming that he could hit only one person every 15 seconds and that the call time for the emergency was non-existent.

In a situation where every second could mean a lost life, you do not want to wait even 180 seconds (three minutes) for the police to arrive. By having concealed carry on campus it is not a guarantee that someone in the area would have a handgun in an emergency. But if there is just one person with a firearm in the area, there is no 3+ minute wait.

One trained person carrying a firearm concealed in an emergency situation is more effective than a hundred trained cops 10 minutes away. One person carrying a concealed handgun could be the difference between one person being shot and ten or more being shot while the police are on their way.

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  1. * kavetvjunkie says:

    I agree. If someone is going to shoot down students on a school campus, they’ll find a way to get guns- it doesn’t matter if there’s laws against it or not. The problem with gun laws is that they only really work for honest people. Having someone there who is already trained to stop the bad guy is much more effective than police who need the time to arrive on the scene.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 4 months ago
  2. * Jessica Mondillo says:

    That is so true. If an armed citizen is being shot at, they are going to shoot back. And they really don’t have to worry about hitting other people, since all the people being shot at are probablly lying on the floor trying t make it harde to get it

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 4 months ago
  3. * says:

    Hi Jessica,

    You built your case and support it nicely. I hesitantly tend to agree with you because I fully support a person’s right to defend themself. My hesitance is from accidental or misuse of firearms. For instance I generally have approved of guns in homes but have only had a few for a former stepson that liked to target shoot. I was big on gun safety at that time as I was very concerned that a kid might find the guns and ammo and have an “accident.”

    I knew a kid in junior high that was killed by a firearms accident. I also once was scared when my parents were coming home late one night and talked the baby sitter into getting the shotgun… luckily I could not find the shells but you should have seen the looks on my mom and dad’s faces as they were staring down the barrel of a 4-10 shotgun! You should have seen my red butt! 🙂

    I also experienced the fear of a parent when my son was attending Santana High School in Santee when that crazy kid snapped! I was glad I had given my son a cell phone and was able to find him quickly after the incident. It was an overwhelming emotion knowing he could have been killed that day.

    So on balance I think the needs of the people/college students outweigh the fears of the public and normal people that pass a background check, should get a concealed weapons permit.

    Here is a post on the same topic you may be interest you:

    Kind regards,

    John W. Zimmer

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago
  4. * Jessica Mondillo says:

    I know guns can be dangerous, but trained, law-abiding citizens are no threat to the common good. Criminals, in many cases, do not want to die and an armed citizen is a good deterant. Afterall, if a criminal is going to do a home invasion, he will pick the house where he knows they don’t have guns before he takes the house where there is a chance he could get shot.

    I competitively shoot, and have been for four years. One day I went to play laser tag and another memeber of my team was there. Although we both had fun, we were really bad at it. Neither of us could get over pointing a gun at a person, even though it was a fake gun.

    There are two ways to avoid accidents, which most people use. With children (and this is how I was taught) if you teach them gun safety at a young age and make them familiar with guns they no longer find them a curiosity. Therefore they will know not to pick up a gun when they see it and not think it is a toy. The other thing is locking up the guns and ammo, which is what would have to be done on a college campus. Thefts and fooling around happen in colleges but not when things are properly put away in a safe.

    Also, I must say your son is lucky. Where I went to high school that would never have been an option. We had long straight hallways with very few corners.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago
  5. * musingsofagirlobsessed says:

    Nice paper. One commenter noted that accidents are the concern. In 2005, there were 789 “accidental” deaths related to firearms. In that same year, 864 people died choking on food, another 19,656 people died from falling down and 607 died by drowning in swiming pools. There is no outcry to ban pools, mandate walkers, or require everyone to carry a self-heimlich device.

    Many people would like to control legally owned firearms because they “feel” that they are dangerous. It’s a misconception from lack of knowledge on the subject. While many people even feel strongly, usually they are misinformed. There is a lot of crime committed with guns (about 17,000 in 2005), but conservative estimates published by the Clinton Administration estimate over 1 million incidences of crimes being stopped by the use of a self-defense firearm. That says a lot to me.

    The argument that concealed carry would be harmful or distracting is also untrue. There are millions of permit holders in the country and by FBI statistics they are more law-abiding as a group than the population at large. They don’t show their guns and usually nobody even knows they have them. I bet everyone in a carry state is routinely in proximity to a legally permitted and law abiding individual and has no idea.

    Sure, in the wrong hands guns are dangerous. People have a responsibility to be careful with all of their dangerous posessions – not just guns.

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 2 months ago
  6. * Jessica Mondillo says:

    I am truly impressed with your ability to find statistics (something that at times is difficult). One note to anyone who is unconvinced, or still slightly unsure about the statistics accuracy: Being in favor of gun bans, the Clinton administration would have been more likely to claim the number of crimes stopped was lower (rather than higher) than the actual number. The reason this number is an estimate is because although some people call the police when they thwart a criminal, many prefer to not call because it is easier and less time consuming for them to not report it rather than to inform the police of a crime which almost happened but did not.

    The other statistic that many people forget is that cars are more dangerous overall than guns are to the people (as is falling down the stairs).

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 2 months ago
  7. * EE says:

    Excellent post! I am a strong advocate for concealed carry on campus!

    | Reply Posted 10 years ago

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