The Virginia Tech Massacre was one of the deadliest shooting incidents by a single gunman (MSNC). With a bright future ahead, Reema Samaha was an 18 year-old freshman on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Physically beautiful, excellent academic performance, proud of her Lebanese culture, future graduate of international studies and a minor in French, talented contemporary dancer, full of life, but a killer decided to end her life on April 16, 2007 (“We Remember: biographies”). She was murdered among 32 other students and staff. She was trapped in her French class with no gun with which to protect herself. Guns on campus should be allowed based on “the right to bear arms” authorized in the United States Constitution, the increasing violence on campus, the impossible mission to protect all the students by campus police, and the “Gun-Free Zone” sticker that attracts the killers. The second amendment under the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution has protected the right of the people to keep and bear arms since 1791 (Head).
It protects an individual’s right to possess and use a firearm for lawful purposes, such as self-defense. It is unlawful to bear arms to participate in a militia or to use for unlawful purposes. If somebody enters my property without invitation, it is my right, under the second amendment, to use a gun against a trespasser. One of the foundations that you acquire when you are a mother is to protect your loved ones at any cost if somebody attacks them. In the face of economic distress and the resulting risk for violence, the ability to protect oneself as allowed under the Constitution is increasingly important and must not be abridged. One example of that violence is sexual assaults on college campuses where nine occur each day. Also, there were 16 sniper victims at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, 32 at Virginia Tech in 2007, five at Northern Illinois University in 2008, one at Virginia Tech in 2011, and three at San Jose State University in 2011 (“Infoplease”)… What protection did the schools offer? The only option for the victim is to play dead or huddle under a desk hoping that the killer will not shoot them.
Unfortunately, there is currently no alternative to simply hiding and praying that the bad guy will give you grace. Protecting all the students is an impossible mission for universities. Campus officials have introduced several responses to the problem of campus crime. Campus police, text message alerts and cameras are all excellent ideas that improve responsiveness, but responsiveness is not the same as readiness. Text messages are unsuccessful, police are spread out across huge campuses and cameras have proven ineffective. Universities are open environments with indiscernible boundaries and few procedures to prevent or deal with a calamitous event. Colleges cannot guarantee protection or eliminate armed assaults. It is unrealistic to expect colleges to provide airport-like security with perimeter enforcement, metal detectors, armed guards, bag inspections and pat downs. Therefore, any institutions that cannot provide protection for their visitors must not deprive students of the ability to protect themselves. The “Free-Gun Zone” does not achieve its desired purpose. In fact, “Gun-Free Zone” sign attracts killers. Congress adopted the Gun-Free School Zones Act in 1990, prohibiting the possession of firearms in posted areas (“School Law”).
Laws have never influenced criminal behavior because criminals, by their characters, do not respect laws. So a sticker on the campus doors stating “No guns allowed” is merely ironic in the face of tragedy. To the criminal, it means that this campus is a safe zone where victims are unable to protect themselves — a paradise zone for a killer! He is sure to succeed in his mission to kill with little risk to himself! The “Gun-Free Zone” sticker screams “Easy Targets Here.” One basis of opposition to guns on campus focuses on the presumed danger of young people, who are less mature, possessing guns. Some fear that during a party, a quarrel with friends could lead to use of a gun to resolve a disagreement. However, a student would be required to apply for a license in order to carry a gun, which requires a comprehensive FBI criminal background check, fingerprinting, classroom instruction and live-fire certification (“eHow”). The training is designed, in part, to cause the student with a concealed weapon to be careful. Licensing is available to applicants who are 21 years of age or older, thus more mature.
Another argument of opposition emphasizes the possibility of violence increasing with concealed weapons on campus, as if the mere presence of a weapon will increase violence. However, the benefit of having concealed weapons allowed on campus is proven by the fact that 26 colleges and universities, in Utah and in Colorado, a total70 campuses, currently allowing concealed carry on campus have not been a single report of shootouts, accidents or heated conflicts. In fact, rather than causing crime as feared, Colorado State University’s crime rate has declined steadily since allowing concealed carry weapons. Allowing concealed weapons does not increase risk. To the contrary, it presents an advantage; it reduces crime and violence. Statistics and fact repudiate the fallacy that concealed weapons on campus will increase violence.
In fact, guns should be permitted on campus due to the constitutional right to bear arms, growing violence on campus, the unmanageable job for the campus police to protect the students and staff, and the attractiveness of the Gun-free zone to malefactors. It should not stop there. High school teachers should be allowed to carry a weapon. As a future French teacher, I don’t want to die as a victim, but as a brave little soldier who will fight for my life and those of my students whom I would have in my charge.
No one has the right to end a life of a living being for nothing. But many lives will be terminated before a policy is put in place to stop the rampage. The campus and other public places shouldn’t allow us to revoke our right as citizens to protect ourselves. Reema Ramage’s parents would have loved to see her graduate from Virginia Tech, to be there for her wedding day, to hold her first child. But, a foolish man decided to kill these dreams. Sadly, no one was allowed to stop him. Reema has the right to live.
.MSNC, “Worst U.S. shooting ever kills 33 on Va. campus.” (2007): n. page. Print. .
.”Virginia Tech.” We Remember: biographies. N.p., 2007. Web. 3 Apr 2012. .
.Head, Tom. “The Second Amendment.” About.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Apr 2012. .
.”Time Line of Worldwide School Shootings.” Infoplease. Pearson Education, 2012. Web. 3 Apr 2012. .
.”California’s Gun-Free School Zone Act .” School Law. N.p., 2012. Web. 3 Apr 2012. .
. “How to Get a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Texas.” eHow. N.p., 2012. Web. 3 Apr 2012. .
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