Gun laws on college campuses

Photo credit: NY Daily News

The mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. has been reported as the 18 time a gun was fired in a school or on school property, in 2018 alone.

According to a tweet by network TV journalist and author Jeff Greenfield, in the last 20 years, there have only been 18 shootings in the rest of the world.

The suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, entered the high school and pulled a fire alarm, causing students to leave the classrooms. During this, Cruz began firing from an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and killed 17 students and faculty members alike in his deadly assault. It is believed that Cruz suffers from a mental illness and has shown signs of autism, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Charles Brown, a freshman industrial engineering student at Florida A&M University (FAMU), who attended high school at nearby Atlantic Technical College and High School in Broward County, was in disbelief.

“The situation made me realize that no school is safe because Parkland is a safe, affluent area. No one would have ever expected for that to happen at that school,” Brown said.

Unfortunately, shootings have occurred on school grounds for many years with cases such as the Columbine High School massacre, and shootings at Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech University, and Sandy Hook Elementary.

Such occurrences garner the question of whether there should be gun control laws on school campuses. The main argument for allowing guns on college campuses comes from the thought that arming faculty and students will allow them to protect themselves in a threatening situation such as a school shooting, according to The Conversation.

Is it possible that school shootings can be contained or possibly avoided if students or professors can legally carry guns with proper credentials? Regarding Tuesday’s shooting, Moises Martinez, a freshman music education student at FAMU, does not think so.

“I don’t think it could have been avoided. It could have been avoided if Congress took different actions and different approaches, because things like this happen a lot, and we still don’t have a solution to stop it,” said Martinez.

In 2013, former President Barack Obama passed a regulation that blocked people with severe mental health problems from buying guns. In February of 2017, President Donald Trump passed the bill, H.J. Res 40, revoking that regulation, according to NBC News.

Currently, only ten states allow students and faculty to carry guns on college campuses. While Florida does allow citizens to carry concealed weapons if they meet certain state requirements, the state has banned the decision to allow concealed weapons on campuses.

Emmanuel Damas, a sophomore actuarial science student at FAMU does not believe that allowing concealed weapons on campus would be safe.

“I wouldn’t feel safer because everyone could be walking around with a gun. Someone could take things out of hand just because they’re mad at me. It just adds more risks,” Damas said.

As the victims of the recent family mourn their losses from last Tuesday's shooting, Cruz is being held without bond, according to CBS Miami.