Hope for a Compromise
The words “gun” and “concealed weapons” and anything of the sort have become a trigger point for heated arguments and debates, for the polarization of not only citizens on a broad scale, but rather that of family, friends, partners etc. Could there be no common ground, no compromise between the two perspectives that appear so often on the news and the pundit stage?
There are 49 states that have concealed weapon carry laws, and out of those, 21 ban concealed weapons on college campuses, including Michigan (www.ncsl.org). Those laws should make areas of higher education safer for students, should they not? Shouldn’t students feel that they’re protected at their own college? Herein lies one of the problems: do these laws allow that?
There are two sides to every story of course, two viewpoints and many opinions that are constantly categorized under each. We, as a society, seem to deem it necessary to label everything, to label people as being for or against a particular issue, to partition people into groups with certain ideals attached to them for certain matters, such as sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. When that is done, the group is assumed to act as one, leaving no room for individuality, but rather only conformity.
The same applies to the topic of guns on campus. There don’t have to be only two positions – for or against; when it is realized that different opinions are valuable, that will allow for some common ground to be made between not only the extreme ends of the spectrum and those who are stalwartly opposed to and those who are in support of this issue to enter the discussion, but rather people who have opinions from both sides who are stuck in the middle.
A study done in 2001 by the Department of Education found that in 1999, the rate of homicide at colleges and universities was 0.07 per 100,000 students in comparison to 14.1 per 100,000 persons between the ages of 17 and 29 outside campus (www.armedcampuses.org). This might allow one to infer that postsecondary institutions did, at one point at least, offer students protection. Others may argue that metal detectors and armed security should be present to ensure that massacres such as those at Virginia Tech and more recently, Sandy Hook Elementary, will not occur again.
In order for these aspects of society to change towards the better, all sides must be considered. The organizations that are for having concealed weapons on campus, those against it, and those who grasp certain ideals from both groups, should all be considered in this nationwide debate. Solutions may be offered, but should also be, at the very least, considered and taken into account to become part of a new transition.