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What Do U.S. Officials Think?

By: Luke Ross

Firearms on a college campus is becoming an increasingly discussed topic. However, many states have made their decisions on whether or not it’s ok to carry on a campus. Focusing more specifically on the the state of Michigan, the state does not allow students or faculty (not including police officials) to carry on a college campus. In states like Ohio however, the state legislature eaves it’s up to the college campuses to enforce any sort of rule concerning firearms on campus. So who cares and why is this even an issue? Well in 2015 there were 52 US school shootings that left 30 people killed and 53 injured say’s USA today, https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Fusa%2F318169-school-shootings-statistics-year%2F . Out of those 52, 21 were at college campuses, that’s almost half! So no wonder this topic is coming up more and more in news.

Sergeant Delcourt, Michigan national guard and policeman had this to say on the matter when asked about his opinion on whether it is or isn not ok to have guns on campus. “ Personally, as a police officer I believe that only security officials like myself should have the right to carry on campuses, concealed or not concealed. However, just so most people don’t get scared, I also believe that if someone has gone through the proper background checks and is smart enough to use a firearm they should be able to conceal carry on a campus, this is because anything can happen at anytime and the police aren’t always where you need them to be.

Just because the Michigan law says you cannot have a weapon on a college campus doesn’t mean that people do not carry, that is in there car. Eastern Michigan ROTC teachers who wish to be remained un named for the safety of their job, have admitted to keeping their firearms in their car at all times, however, on some occasions, when teaching the cadets they are allowed to bring the weapons in the building but it must be in a supervised area at all times.

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Guns on Campus: The Legalities

by Madeline Reinbolt

“Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state,” is State Constitutional Provision Article 1, Section 6. At the ae of 18 or up, it is legal to buy a pistol with a purchase permit, which can be obtained at the local police station. A CCW, “carrying a concealed weapon”, becomes an option for someone that is at least 21 and takes the required class. This is Michigan state law, and on college campuses, gun laws are a different story.

In Michigan, concealed guns on campus is prohibited by law. Other states, such Texas, Colorado and Utah allow concealed guns on campus by law. Then there are states that leave it up to the universities to decide, whether it [concealed carry] is allowed by state law or not. In 2017, Arkansas and Georgia passed legislation to allow students and faculty to carry guns on college campuses.

With school shootings on the rise in the past decades, states are considering legislation about whether or not to allow guns on campuses. Some people believe these events point to a need to tighten restrictions to keep guns off campuses, and other believe existing firearm regulations should be eased, and allow concealed weapons on campus.

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On August 1st, 2016 the campus carry law went into effect in Texas. On September 14th, 2016 there was the first incident: an accidental discharge in a residence hall at Tarleton State. The student was trained and licensed to carry, and nobody was injured as a result of the incident. The incident was followed by outrage as a reaction to the law campus carry law being passed in the first place, but no other incidents have occurred since.

Ohio laws expanding the concealed carry law went into effect this March. The new law will allow anyone with a concealed carry license to carry their firearms in more places such as daycare facilities and non-secure areas of airports. The law will also allow college campuses to make the decision to allow people or groups to conceal carry on campus. Since the law has passed, no colleges have made the decision to permit conceal carry on campus.

Ohio’s concealed carry laws came into focus after the November 28th attack at Ohio State University. Eleven students were injured after Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a group of students and then got out of the car to knife them. Two minutes into the attack, an OSU police officer shot and killed Artan.

According to a study done by the Citizens Crime Commission, shootings on college campuses have more than doubled in the past five years. The incidents have become more deadly, with three times as many people injured or killed during the most recent five-year period. The increase was found to be the most profound at colleges in states with a greater amount of access to guns.

Geoff Larcom, Executive Director of Media Relations at Eastern Michigan University, does not see any benefits to anyone carrying a gun on campus aside from the campus police. “That’s the problem with guns, trained professionals can use them but they [guns] are killing machines,” said Larcom. Conceal carry is prohibited on college campuses in Michigan by state law, but aside from that Larcom said he does not see Eastern Michigan permitting conceal carry in the future, if it became an option to do so.

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Due to things like the increase in school shootings and a new President, it is hard to predict how things will pan out as for laws pertaining to guns on college campuses. Many Americans have either a strong support or opposition for guns, and new bills are constantly being proposed. For now, it is safe to say that you won’t see student or faculty concealing and carrying on campus anytime soon.

Campus police chiefs speak out about guns on college campuses

Here in Michigan, students are not allowed to carry weapons onto college campuses. Of course, this brings up many arguments and hypothetical situations that could require firearms to be allowed by students. So what do the campus police forces think about allowing guns on campuses?

Chief Leo Mioduszewski of Saginaw Valley State University is against having guns allowed on colleges. There are places where weapons won’t be at all productive and that includes schools and universities. Whether it’s staff members or students who are carrying, Chief Mioduszewski says that guns are best when left to law enforcement.

“They [students and staff] are not trained to take somebody’s life,” Chief Mioduszewski states. In Michigan, only one form of training class is required for citizens to carry concealed weapons, in the chief’s opinion, that is not enough. Taking someone else’s life is mentally draining and sticks with a person forever.

While school shootings definitely do still happen, even at the collegiate level, they don’t happen very often. Most of the time they get a lot of press and that’s why it seems like we hear about these horrific events so much. Chief Leo mentions that the chances of these shootings happening are very slim and that is not a reason to allow firearms to be allowed on college campuses.

“The chances of a university having something like that [active shooter] are pretty slim. But the chances of somebody having an accidental discharge and hurting somebody are much higher,” Chief Mioduszewski says. The negative outcomes of having firearms allowed on campuses outweigh the positive outcomes that could go hand-in-hand with guns on campuses.

Allowing guns in colleges, either carried by students or staff, also puts campus police forces in a tough position. Should someone come onto a college campus with intent to do harm, the officers are trained to handle these sorts of situations. Students and staff are not. In addition, if an officer responds to an active shooter situation, they can’t fully depend on eyewitness descriptions to be accurate. The officers will have to make that split second decision when they get to the locations of the situation and see more than one person with a gun. If an officer were to take down the wrong person he or she could be sued or even worse, in addition to the actual active shooter getting away.

Police Chief Robert Heighes Jr. of Eastern Michigan University feels the same way as Chief Mioduszewski.

“We have a full time police force who are trained with firearms and therefore it is not necessary for students to carry their own,” Chief Heighes states. He also agrees that staff members wouldn’t be able to mentally handle taking someone’s life. In addition, Chief Heighes agrees that situations involving guns should be left to the campus police forces, as they have gone through extensive training in that sort of thing.

 

It’s clear that firearms won’t benefit universities in the eyes of trained professionals. If there’s an active police force on college campuses, there is no reason for students to carry their own weapons. If a situation should call for firearms, it should be left up to the police officers who are trained more than any average citizen. When wondering why students/staff are not allowed to carry on campuses in Michigan, take into consideration the position police forces are put in when guns are brought to places where they are not productive.

EMU Student Advocates for Open and Concealed Carry on Campus

By: Rebekah Kakos

           Most students and staff at Eastern Michigan University agree that guns do not have a place on campus, however, Sydney Nimeth is one of the few people that believe open and concealed carry should be allowed at universities and everywhere.

“I believe the right to bear arms is the most important amendment because it protects the rights of other amendments in the sense that you can defend yourself from the government,” Nimeth said.

Sydney Nimeth, 21, is a senior at EMU with a double major in Journalism and Apparel, Textile, and Merchandising from Carleton, Mich. Nimeth is also the editor in chief of the Eastern Echo. She disagrees with the Michigan state law that bans concealed carry on all universities’ campuses.

“I do not agree with this policy, and feel the state of Michigan should lift these laws- which this is actually in circulation again through Gov. Snyder,” Nimeth said. “At the same time, I don’t think each university should have their own rules because knowing EMU, they wouldn’t allow it – just like they don’t allow smoking.”

Nimeth argues that allowing students to carry on campus will allow them to protect themselves and to stop mass shootings. Students would be able stop the gunman and ultimately help decrease the fatalities in school shootings.

“Imagines what the death toll would have been at Sandy Hook if a teacher was carrying. Herding students in an area deemed as a ‘gun free zone’ and expecting nothing bad to happen is like leaving a million dollars in an unlocked car and being surprised when the money is gone,” Nimeth said.

Nimeth feels so strongly about being allowed to carry her firearm because she went through thorough training and spent a lot of money to acquire her CPL, which allows her to carry a concealed firearm in Mich.

“These instances [school shootings] happen with or without carrying a firearm everyday – yet, even though I went through the legal process of owning and carrying a firearm I can’t defend myself if this situation were to happen?” Nimeth said. “One way I look at conceal carry is that I spent over $600 to get this privilege – why would I go through all that time and money if in the end I end up shooting somebody out of rage. Also, if I really wanted to kill somebody, I could do it with an everyday object.”

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Nimeth also points out that allowing teachers to carry and properly training them to operate a firearm could help save lives in a school shooting.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think having staff or students carry will stop these shootings from occurring, but I do think these people can help the situation. Also, if a school was known for having teachers carry, would a shooter really want to come to that school?” Nimeth said.

Nimeth feels safer as a young female and as a journalist while carrying her Rugar LC9, a pistol that holds 9-millimeter bullets.

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“Being a girl, I also feel I am more susceptible to attacks because a perpetrator would think I am weak,” Nimeth said. “As a journalist, I also do many one-on-one meetings with strangers and I have run into countless situations where I did not feel comfortable being with a stranger – even in a public place.”

Nimeth has earned her CPL, which allows her to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Michigan. To earn this license she had to go through many steps, such as filling out paperwork about personal information, mental health, and substance abuse. Next, Nimeth had to have a background check and fill out “firearm registration” cards that stay with the store where the firearm is purchased, the police, and with the firearm at all times. Nimeth also had to complete a conceal carry class that lasts about nine hours and costs $130.

The first section of the class goes over the legal circumstances where you can carry and use your firearm. After the legal portion, each person has to take a test on the material and if they fail they cannot continue the class. The second part of the class consists of practical training to “familiarize” themselves with the firearm. The class is concluded with a firing test, and you must hit a target area with 20 of the 30 bullets. If you pass the firing test you then get the CPL that costs $120 to file with the local courthouse and get your fingerprints taken.

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“Ultimately, I think it is up to the person who owns the firearm to understand the proper uses of the concealed weapon and know the consequences of using the privilege of conceal carry, because it is a privilege not everybody has the right to use,” Nimeth said.