Do guns make campuses safer or more dangerous?

States are reevaluating the need for guns on college campuses, whether or not they protect or threaten to students

Within the history of college campus shootings, there are a few that are more highly publicized than others. The Virginia Tech shooting of 2007 is considered one of the most infamous, killing 32 people. The Umpqua Community College shooting from last October, which killed nine people, also garnered substantial media attention.

There are many less publicized ones, as this Time article shows. But regardless of politics, there is a pattern of shootings on American college campuses that happen as frequently as several times a month.

The debate regarding how to fix this problem is controversial.

In 2015 and into 2016, state legislation has been addressing carrying laws on college campuses. Texas is by far the loudest pro-carry state and, as such, recently passed a law allowing concealed guns on campus.

The argument Texas framed is thus: due to the saturation of gun violence on college campuses, students have a right to carry firearms to defend themselves in the case of a shooting. This argument is fairly consistent among gun-positive right wing states such as a Utah (the first state to pass legislation allowing guns on campus), Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas and Wisconsin.

The argument is reversed in states such as California, Illinois and Michigan, which have state laws prohibiting guns on college campuses. They argue that adding more guns to the mix doesn’t make college campuses safer but rather makes it easier for shooters to obtain guns.

Missouri’s conceal and carry laws for college campuses are highly contested as well, and a bill was recently introduced to the state senate to allow students to carry guns. But the fine print here is important.

As it stands, guns are banned from Missouri college campuses. But in this new bill, written by state senators Brian Munzlinger and Bob Dixon, colleges would be required to allow concealed guns unless they comply with additional security measures such as metal detectors and armed security guards posted at every entrance.

The bill is expected to go to a vote sometime this year.

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