Opinion on guns on campus: We protect students in football stadiums. Why not classrooms?

Writer Rick Diguette, a frequent Get Schooled contributor, teaches at a local college. In this column today, he discusses guns on campus in the wake of the massacre at a college in Oregon.

By Rick Diguette

In the wake of the shooting rampage at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, I’ve been giving some thought to classroom safety.  Although there’s a fairly robust security presence on the metro Atlanta campus where I teach, it would be easy for anyone ― student or otherwise ― to gain access to one of my classrooms and open fire.  To make matters even worse, all of my classrooms have only one way in and the same way out.

Whitehead-Caitlin-Fal14-ILLU410-Burns-A1-AJC_Marching Into the SThe debate about allowing guns on this country’s college campuses divides along a recognizable fault line.  In one camp are those arguing that colleges have been targeted by shooters for one obvious reason:  deranged gunmen know they will encounter little armed resistance until well after they’ve started killing people.

And this, so the reasoning goes, is why guns should be allowed not only on our campuses but in our classrooms as well.

On the other side of this fault line are people like me. I don’t agree more guns in more hands in more places will reduce or effectively address the problem of gun violence. Instead, I think we should do more to prevent people from having guns where they can inflict maximum damage in a minimum amount of time.

Has this ever been tried? Indeed it has. Where? Inside college football stadiums packed on Saturday afternoons with thousands of screaming fans.

Sometimes a fool goes “wild west” while tailgating outside a football stadium, but fans don’t have to worry about that once they’ve moved inside and found their seats. What would happen though if the University of Georgia, for example, allowed fans to carry loaded weapons inside Sanford Stadium?

How long before a deranged person armed with a semi-automatic weapon decided to spray the crowd with bullets? Or how long before two armed and unruly fans decided to settle their differences and ended up shooting each other as well as innocent bystanders?

In either scenario, can you imagine the ensuing carnage when massive numbers of frightened fans made for the exits all at once?

Would attendance drop at a place like Sanford Stadium? I don’t think there’s any question it would, and that in turn would adversely affect Georgia’s football program, which now derives about $20 million each year from football ticket revenue alone.  In other words, there’s a compelling reason for keeping guns out of the stadium and screaming Georgia fans in their seats.

Lots and lots of money.

Is there an equally compelling reason for keeping guns out of our college classrooms?

I think there is, especially when you consider how much college costs these days. Ask parents paying for their children’s education at Georgia, Georgia Tech, or Georgia State. Better yet, ask students who graduate from our public colleges and universities with tens of thousands of dollars in loans they must repay.

I’ll bet they wonder why some of that money couldn’t be used to prevent a deranged gunman from entering their classroom. And why so many of Georgia’s legislators, who support concealed carry on campus laws, think students ought to bear the burden of their own defense.

Even though the NRA and the gun lobby are well heeled and always on blast, let’s hope that one day soon the only screams heard on a college campus will be fans cheering for the home team.

 

Reader Comments 0

70 comments
jerryeads
jerryeads

Whew. Thanx Rick. This one's a struggle. One of the problems with Georgia laws is you can get a CCW permit without even knowing what end to point as long as you haven't exposed yourself to school children or robbed banks. Although I'm not military, I've been really, really, really well trained. And stay that way. But the VAST majority of folks who can legally carry are not, so opening up campuses to carry permits (much less open carry) would be phenomenally stupid. Even police, ALL THE TIME, do stupendously stupid things with weapons. Even returning military are not necessarily well trained (the kid who steered a drone around likely couldn't hit the broad side of the proverbial barn much less know when to do so).

Do I think chickens--t crazies would be less likely to murder totally defenseless innocents if they knew there might be a few of me facing them? Yes. But most folks with carry permits don't even know to take the safety off. Georgia legislators might ponder requiring extensive training to earn AND KEEP a permit. But I think they're far too stupid - and afraid of the NRA - to do so. And it's our fault. We elect them.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@jerryeads

I would rather take my chances with a law abiding gun owner doing something "stupid" than a criminal who is intent on malicious bodily harm to myself and my family.


When I was in high school, we had a rifle team that competed in .22 caliber target shooting.  We had a gun range set up in the basement of one of the school buildings.  Nowadays, a student merely draws a picture of a gun and they get suspended.

Seems to me, the "crazies" are in the front office of the school and in the legislature who concocts these "gun free zones" that do absolutely nothing to deter the criminal.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@redweather

A perfect example why laws that expressly prohibit the ownership of guns will not work.  Prohibition didn't work.  The "War on Drugs" is not working.  A ban on firearms will be doomed to failure as well.  Banning ANY object or substance only serves to create a Black Market for the item -  which the criminal element is all too happy to supply.

cmcwilli
cmcwilli

@Lee_CPA2 @redweather No one has ever asked for gun prohibition. People are asking for laws similar to those required for driving a car - background check (to show that you are not already guilty of poor judgment or misuse of equipment), training/education, and harsher penalties for people who illegally traffic guns. Licensing and safety training has greatly reduced the number of auto death and injury - which if current trends continue will become second to gun deaths in this country in the next few years.


The NRA and open carry organizations consider gun safety training to be anti-gun. How is that even possible? 

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@cmcwilli

"The NRA and open carry organizations consider gun safety training to be anti-gun. How is that even possible?"

-----------------------

Not true.  The NRA is one of the premier gun safety training organizations around and have rigorous standards and requirements to become an NRA Certified Instructor.  

Furthermore, the NRA has developed a gun safety training program for young children called the "Eddie Eagle" gun safety program.  But yet, elementary schools will not allow their literature or instruction on campus.  Why is that?


As far as your "no one has asked for gun prohibition" comment, Diane Feinstein has repeated said that if she could, she would ban all guns.  Hillary Clinton has opined that she is in favor of an Australian styled gun confiscation scheme.  These are prime examples of why the NRA can never agree to so-called "sensible gun regulations".  They correctly interpret them as merely the first step toward more and more onerous forms of gun control

cmcwilli
cmcwilli

@Lee_CPA2 @cmcwilli The NRA and all open carry open organizations state on their sites that they are opposed to any law requiring training - not that they are opposed to people getting training if they choose. No one can drive a car without passing written AND physical tests.


As for Eddie Eagle - if the training is limited to "Stop. Don't Touch, run away and get a grown-up" as indicated on the website (as opposed to indoctrination into the joys of carrying AK-47s to the mall) then I am all for it.


Wascatlady
Wascatlady

I will be okay with open carry everywhere when our lawmakers, governor, and judges are also subject to open carry in the places they work.  Until then--no! Why is it not a violation of the Second Amendment to restrict it in the Georgia House and Senate?

straker
straker

Are guns allowed in the Statehouse when the politicians are in session?


If not, why not?

redweather
redweather

@straker Because they know they need real protection from the crazy people out there?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@redweather What "out there"?  Have you met some of our legislators??

DrProudBlackMan
DrProudBlackMan

"they cling to their guns and religion"


Instruments of violence coupled with a superstitious populace makes for a deadly combination doesn't it? These mass shootings will continue because the politicians are too G.D. cowardly to do anything about it.

Looking4truth
Looking4truth

Today's politicians want people scared away from public schools.  Plus, football wins over academics every time!

liberal4life
liberal4life

I am not crazy about the carry law, but if some people are so insecure that they have to carry one, I understand that. I am, however, wondering about if there is any requirement that the person be sober when he/she is carrying one. Is there something like "carry under the influence" law? I feel much safer in a church even when I know that some people may be carrying their guns than in a football stadium where many people consume too much alcohol.

PITTFAN
PITTFAN

@Astropig @liberal4life 

Exactly!  I would be all for carrying in a stadium except stupid people can't control their alcohol intake.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@liberal4life

Here you go:


"It is against the law to be in possession of firearm while engaged in hunting and fishing activities or discharge a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or any drug or any combination of alcohol and any drug to the extent that it is unsafe for the person to discharge such firearm except in the defense of life, health, and property;

It is also against the law to discharge a firearm while engaged in any shooting activity while under the influence of alcohol or any drug or any combination of alcohol and any drug.

It is NO defense to violation of this law even if you are legally entitled to use such a drug (prescription). (16-11-13427-3-7)"

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

Too much gun violence by criminals and the brilliant solution pushed by liberals and their politicians is to .....get this... drum roll.... disarm even more law abiding citizens.  If the folks who push this idea were guarding buffalo, they'd decide that the solution to wolf attacks was to cut off the buffalo's horns.


I'm sure poor law abiding folks who live in rough neighborhoods will be just fine calling 911...and having the police show up an hour later to put them in the hearse.


Like I've said before, the inability for many liberals to see the actual, real world (and easily predictable) results of their so called "caring and rational" policies is stunning.  

redweather
redweather

@dcdcdc You have way too much faith in the average student's ability to react effectively in response to an active shooter. Our college campuses and classrooms need more effective security. It will cost money but it will also save lives.

dcdcdc
dcdcdc

@redweather @dcdcdc I do have faith in the ability of normal American citizens to do the right thing - in general.  That's probably the biggest difference between someone who identifies as conservative, vs liberal.  (cue the sputtering "well what about xxxx who shot up yyy... because as Rahm Emmanual said, a liberal should never waste the oppty to use a crisis to control others).


Our citizens have proven time and time again that they are way more capable as a group to effectively deal with issues than our Federal govt has.  Simply because they are on the ground, dealing with things every day/hour - and understand the issues much better than some politician on high.


Disarming them (whether students, or just folks living their lives - i.e. trying to use MARTA to get to work and back) and making them even easier prey to criminals is truly an insane strategy.

RichardKPE
RichardKPE

Pretty dumb...


So you're saying the solution to kids shot in a classroom is to not allow guns in the classroom?  Why didn't anyone else think of that?  


No, just get the shooter to listen to you.  I'll wait.

John Galt 47
John Galt 47

So your solution is what? There are police all around at football games. If someone decided to open fire, it wouldn't take long for them to be taken down by an officer or overwhelmed by the crowds around them, which is why it doesn't happen, despite the fact that there are many targets there. They go to these schools for the precise reason that they know that there won't be armed people and that they will be able to take out a lot of people before police can respond to the incident. Your position is just a bunch of feel-good-ism. Ban guns at colleges and there won't be any. Allowing licensed concealed-carry permit holders to carry would help to prevent many of these mass-shooting deaths on campus.

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @John Galt 47


"Our college campuses and classrooms need more effective security."


Couldn't agree more.Especially urban campuses and not just in Atlanta.


But "more effective security" will still rely on armed officers, well trained. Otherwise, they're just uniformed victims.

John Galt 47
John Galt 47

@redweather @John Galt 47 According to the Virginia Tech PD's website, they had 49 officers and eight security guards. They had security. Having armed concealed-carry permit holders in the buildings would have prevented many of those deaths that occurred in that situation. Crime against students on Georgia Tech's campus here in Atlanta is rampant. There are cops all over campus and that doesn't prevent it. People go to these campuses to commit crimes precisely because they know that none of their targets will be armed.

redweather
redweather

@John Galt 47 @redweather You assume that allowing "concealed carry on campus" will automatically mean there will be students ready and able to thwart an armed attack.  Did it ever occur to you that students might not want that burden?

John Galt 47
John Galt 47

@redweather @John Galt 47 Then they don't have to bring their guns. I didn't say to force anyone to bring them. I imagine most of the people who would actually end up carrying in that scenario would be professors, not students. And why would they have gone through the process of getting a concealed-carry permit if they don't want that responsibility in the first place?

redweather
redweather

@John Galt 47 @redweather Professors? You're comfortable with leaving this up to pointy-headed liberals?  Now I've heard everything. As for students, I'm assuming most wouldn't get a permit in the first place because they don't think this should be their responsibility.

PITTFAN
PITTFAN

@redweather 

Of course not.  Why should anyone take responsibility for themselves?  Always push it to someone else.  

 

redweather
redweather

@PITTFAN @redweather What other responsibilities do you think students should take on?  Maintenance of the HVAC system?  Plumbing? 

redweather
redweather

@John Galt 47 You have way too much faith in the average student's ability to react effectively in response to an active shooter. Our college campuses and classrooms need more effective security. It will cost money but it will also save lives.

northernneighbor
northernneighbor

@John Galt 47 @redweather  You are wrong.  Crime ON CAMPUS at Georgia Tech is very low!  Crime around the perimeter of Georgia Tech is a problem.  Those areas are under the jurisdiction of APD.  GT and APD continue to work together with some success. 

But - it is safe on the GT campus, and getting safer.  http://www.police.gatech.edu/crimeinfo/  You can access all the data here.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Why not allow non-lethal protective measures for teachers - such as bear mace.  Something that would incapacitate a shooter if necessary, but if turned upon students, would not be lethal.  Perhaps in a break and use box like a fire alarm - inside the classroom away from the door.  At least you would have SOME recourse.

PITTFAN
PITTFAN

@class80olddog 

My daughter carries pepper spray with her.  I like your suggestions though but then again, the teachers would have to be trained to shoot accurately.

GB101
GB101

Are guns really banned at Sanford Stadium?  Are there metal detectors?   Are people's bags searched?  Are steps taken to stop people from entering with concealed guns or is there only signage that anyone can ignore?

John Galt 47
John Galt 47

@GB101 You are correct in that nothing really stops people from bringing in guns to football games. Searches at the gates are generally a joke. The thing that prevents mass shootings there is that there are usually hundreds of police officers nearby that will take down a shooter in short order, and even if they didn't, the thousands of people in the crowd would probably quickly overwhelm the shooter.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@GB101

It's been a few years since I've been to Sanford Stadium, but I would guess that there are signs at the gate prohibiting weapons on the premises.  Fans entering the stadium are required to open their bags and containers, but the "search" is more form than substance.  You have to remember they are trying to herd 92,000 people into the gates in a short period of time.

The_Fury
The_Fury

I attended GSU for evening classes. The criminals would lurk across the street and follow students to their cars, the MARTA station, wherever. The only option available to me was to try to always travel as part of a group. It would have been a relief if I were legally allowed to be armed. Yes, I felt safe ON CAMPUS. Cross the street and my safety is my own responsibility. At the time, I was 40+ and well versed in firearm use & safety. Creating a safe zone for criminals is ludicrous.

redweather
redweather

@The_Fury Off campus is an entirely different issue.  I'm glad you felt safe on campus.  

PITTFAN
PITTFAN

@redweather 

You're having a comprehension problem today.  Sure he felt safe on campus, but take 3 steps off campus and he didn't.  So where is one to stash a gun so they can quickly grab it while walking off campus?  Good grief.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@redweather @The_Fury 

GSU buildings are right on the street without any demarcation or areas separating them from the street. The campus buildings are spread all over the lower downtown area.There is nothing to prevent someone who is not a student or professor from walking in and entering classrooms. "On campus" means little or nothing.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@redweather @OriginalProf @The_Fury 

Nope. Nothing. I can still remember walking into my classroom after break in a building that fronted the street, and finding a street dude in a long white t-shirt sitting at my desk and trying to stuff my textbook into his waist-bag. The class sat petrified.  I went into auto-pilot, and started shouting at him in my old NYC accent: "Hey! Whaddaya doin? Get ouda here before I pull the fire alarm!"  Etc.  He got out.  But my students said--"I thought he had a gun!" It hadn't even occurred to me--then. Now it sure would.