The Great Debate the Pros and Cons of Guns in the Classroom

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The Great Debate The Pros and Cons of Guns in the Classroom

Throughout its history, the United States has had a fascination with guns. Americans have used guns in times of war, for protection, and for hunting. Americans also use guns when they are intent on killing people. When violence happens in school shootings, drive-by shootings, assassination of public officials, or in the workplace and shopping malls, Americans demand something be done. This demand fuels the debate between gun rights and gun control activists. It fuels the debate over the interpretation of the Second Amendment. It fuels the debate on allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons in gun-free zones. This makes us ask the question: Should guns be banned from college campuses? Two recent college campus massacres have triggered a renewed interest in this debate. On the morning of April 16, 2007, a deeply troubled young man named Seung Hui Cho used two pistols to murder thirty-two students and faculty members, as well as killing himself, at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia (Feldman 284). The second incident happened on February 14, 2008 at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. The twenty-seven year old gunman, Steven Kazmierczak, walked into a lecture hall with three handguns and a shotgun and fired fifty-four rounds from the weapons. He fatally shot five students and himself and wounded sixteen others (Goldman). These two incidents have brought the gun control vs. the gun rights debate back to the college campuses. The heart of the debate focuses on whether allowing concealed weapons in a college classroom setting can save lives if a similar catastrophe happens again. Activists across the United States are joining forces to make their voices heard. One such group, Students for

Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) advocate that students who are concealed handgun license holders should have the right to carry these concealed handguns into university buildings. In opposition, a group called Protest Easy Guns believes that students should not have guns on college campuses (Bella). Students for Concealed Carry On Campus (SCCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization with over thirty-five thousand college students, professors, college employees, and parents of college students that was formed after the Virginia Tech tragedy. SCCC has members in all fifty states and the District of Columbia and has two main functions. First, they want to dispel the myths and misconceptions about concealed carry on campus. They point to studies that agree that concealed handgun license holders are five times less likely than non-license holders to commit violent crimes. The second function is to push state legislators and school administrators to grant concealed handgun license holders the same rights on college campuses that those licensees currently enjoy in most other unsecured locations ( The SCCC sponsored an empty holster protest on October 22 through October 26, 2007. The protest took place in almost all of the one-hundred-eleven universities and colleges represented in the group. Students wore empty gun holsters around their campuses (Bella). Protest Easy Guns is a grassroots movement focused on protesting lax United States gun laws. They feel these lax laws provide criminals and dangerous individuals easy access to guns. They believe that students should not have guns on college campuses. Compelled by the tragic murders committed on the Virginia Tech campus, thirty-two members of the group staged a demonstration on April 22, 2007 by lying on the ground in front of City Hall in Alexandria, Virginia for several minutes. It was a symbolic protest remembering the thirty-two people killed and the amount of time it took for Seung Hui Cho to obtain his guns (“What We Want”). This

group encourages Americans to write their congressmen to vote for a bill that will close the gun show loophole. The present law...