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One teacher is dead, and two students were wounded on Monday when another student entered and opened fire at a Nevada middle school.
This tragedy, no doubt, will reignite the debate across America about gun safety, and Weber State University is not immune to it. The questions of whether students should be allowed to carry guns at WSU and whether some who cannot control their mental faculties should be limited in carrying concealed weapons are heated topics.
“I feel like . . . there is not a lot of rational thinking going along with (the debate),” said Francisco Lopez, a junior at WSU.
Utah and WSU laws state students can carry concealed weapons on campus; however, some students, like Lopez and WSU freshman Savannah Moon, feel students should not have them on campus.
“It causes a lot of fear and problems for people,” Moon said.
While Moon and Lopez agreed that students don’t need guns on campus, Lopez said owning a gun is an important right.
The Utah law states, “The individual right to keep and bear arms being a constitutionally protected right . . . local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms.”
WSU by-laws state, “Weber State University enforces state law regulating firearms on campus . . . Accordingly, such a violation is subject to disciplinary action under university disciplinary policies applicable to faculty, students, and staff.”
These laws coincide with the second amendment of the United States Constitution, which says, “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
A WSU professor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, said, “I think if something like Virginia Tech were to happen and I have my gun there, I could protect my students, and I could have deterred that person. I would have done what I could to keep that person away.”
The debate about gun control can often be misunderstood.Utah Parents Against Violence is trying to clear up the confusion about gun safety, the center of the debate.
“We are not trying to take guns away from the people, but there a lot of laws that aren’t enforced for those who should not legally have guns,” said Miriam Walkingshaw, executive and president of UPAV.
Many believe universal background checks would help to alleviate some of the problem, but UPAV expressed concern, because background checks are not done when purchasing firearms from private citizens. Therefore, those who may be considered mentally unstable through universal background checks are still able to purchase guns.
“I see students in all of my classes, and I wonder about their emotional intelligence, and I think, ‘If they have a gun, I would really be scared,’” the anonymous professor said.
WSU anthropology professor Ron Holt said a lot of people are mentally ill. “The bigger question is that we have not done more to deal with someone who is struggling mentally.”
Evidence has shown in most of the cases involving shootings within the last year that the perpetrator was considered mentally unstable.
The tragedy in Nevada marks the 17th mass shooting since December 2012, according to the Huffington Post. There have been a total of 79 deaths from mass shootings in that time.