It grinds my gears when someone who is against campus carry says that they are uncomfortable around guns and that is the reason we shouldn’t have them. People who only see one side of the argument should not be able to make decisions that limit the rights of people who see both sides. In the words of Devin Gatton, ex-Marine and UWM student, “My right to be safe trumps everybody’s right to feel safe.”
This is a truth we can all understand. Gun-shy or not, we should all be able to be safe at school. Sure, there are police and public safety officers, but that hasn’t stopped a steady stream of armed robberies and sexual assaults on/near campus. There are a lot of us who believe that there is an inherent right, a human right, and responsibility for each of us to defend ourselves.
In the last two weeks alone, we’ve seen four different armed robberies on campus. Who knows what will happen this week. Gun-free zone signs don’t stop people who don’t follow the law. They create areas of law-abiding citizens that are defenseless against an attack. UWM can’t guarantee my safety or yours. There are about 28,000 students at UWM and around 40 dedicated campus police; that leaves roughly 700 students for each officer. If you call 911 on campus, it will take them at least a few minutes for them to get to you. Do you really think a bad guy is going to let you call the police and wait for them to arrive? That gap in timing and in security is your responsibility to fill. In that time you could be robbed, raped, murdered or shot.
Luckily, no one has been shot or seriously hurt during robberies on/near campus this year. On the UWM campus, passing campus carry might be enough to change would-be criminals’ minds from trying to harm someone.
There are many of us who are trained to defuse situations like active shooters or a robbery in progress. Limiting our ability to respond to those threats hinders the safety of us all. If the bill passed, it’s not like people who don’t have guns or concealed permits are going to rush out to get them. It’s not like people will be brandishing weapons all over campus and getting in shootouts in the halls. Nothing will change except that some responsible, trained people will be carrying safe, hidden weapons. Passing the campus carry law will change nothing for wimps who don’t want to protect themselves in a hostile situation.
Bottom line: if I’m sitting in a lecture and someone comes in and starts shooting people, my only current defense is a hope and a prayer. Please think about where your security comes from and what security actually means. You are all so eager to enjoy the blanket of freedom without thinking about the costly price that has been paid to secure it. Campus carry is not the solution, but it is part of it.