On April 16th 2007 at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, a student with psychological problems began a two hour killing spree that left 33 dead (Reader). The massacre that occurred at this school is now the worst recorded incident in the history of the United States and eclipses the University of Texas massacre of 1966. In the wake of tragedies like these, students, teachers and administrators propose more measures to make us feel safe on campus. But why weren't these measures in place before? School administrators and police have a responsibility to protect their students and faculty on campus, and these instances clearly shown a lack of fulfilling that responsibility. And yet several campus' refuse to allow law-abiding and responsible students exercise their constitutionally granted right to defend themselves by carrying a concealed weapon.
I myself am a law-abiding student here at North Idaho College. I have been an active member of the National Rifle Association since 1990, and a concealed carry permit holder for the last 10 years. I grew up with my father and grandfather teaching me firearm safety, and I increased my skills in firearm training serving in the United States Marine Corps, qualifying as an expert in both pistol and rifle marksmanship. I served as a primary marksmanship instructor for my battalion, and won medals in two inter-service shooting competitions. Like me, there are students and faculty that are completely qualified, capable and responsible enough to carry a concealed firearm to defend themselves in an extreme emergency, and should be allowed to do so.
I find that there are three main issues involved with the responsible carrying of concealed weapons on campus. First, individuals that have concealed carry permits are responsible, and must have proper training to do so safely. Second, allowing students and faculty to carry concealed weapons would help to reduce crime on campus. Third, any campus that does not allow students and faculty to protect themselves, violates their constitutional right to do so and leaves their institution open to litigation in the event that a crime is committed against a student or faculty member while on campus.
Concealed carry permits are not easy to get. Every state that offers concealed carry permits requires that each person first pass a background investigation. These investigations usually take about one month to complete, and require fingerprint, criminal, and psychological background checks to find if an individual has a history of mental illness, criminal record, or fingerprints involved in a crime. After the background investigation is complete, the individual must complete a firearm safety and concealed firearm training course. This course covers not only the safe handling of firearms, but also covers the legal aspects of a persons right to use a weapon in their own defense. Students and faculty already in possession of these permits, have demonstrated they...