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.”
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.
“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.
“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.