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For those who know me and this blog, you realize that I usually talk about national issues with the occasional overemphasis on any New Jersey or Pennsylvania elections. The whole point of this blog, after all, is to see an issue and break it down to see how it could possibly affect future elections and politicians.
But now and again, I feel that it’s necessary to showcase something personal and local. To get a better idea of how things are going, you often have to see how things develop at the local level to indicate the issue’s future.
In the case of guns however, its a national issue that just got highly personalized at my own university. I attend Kutztown University (for those who are unaware, its smack dab between Allentown and Reading, PA or 45 minutes west of Philadelphia) and will be graduating (some will say finally!) in December. I’ve grown to love the cornfield and soybean metropolis in which I attend and would love to see it continue to be a great area for meeting new friends and higher education.
But of course, now and then Kutztown finds itself in the news and this time; its for a fairly big reason. Kutztown has kinda, sorta, but definitely, has made guns legal to carry on campus. I say “kinda, sorta” because the university still bans firearms in any dorms, university buildings and I believe at university sponsored events.
Yet Kutztown (and from all indications, the fellow Pennsylvania public universities will follow suit) has a new policy out that will allow students (with permission, more on that later) to carry on the campus itself. The reason for the change which quietly (and to be fair to both sides of the debate, the fact KU stayed mum about a rule change is alarming in itself) went into affect in April is apparently to “constitutionally” make sure the school can’t get sued. In easier to understand terms, KU has legalized guns to not get sued for denying Second Amendment rights to students.
That doesn’t necessarily pass the smell test to me. Granted the national focus on gun reform/control/whatever you intend to call it has made all laws heavily scrutinized. Its also one of the few national topics that probably everyone has an opinion on and both sides claim that their idea is “safest”.
But KU has been in the news, for other reasons, due to the occasional outbreak in crime. There have been several sexual assaults on campus since I first attended in the Fall of 2009 and an ugly incident occurred late last semester when two men (later identified to be associated with the school) broke into one of the dormitories and pistol-whipped a student.
As ugly as the incidents are, unfortunately Kutztown did really nothing to quell students fears over it. As a result, advocacy groups urging KU to legalized concealed carry has sprouted up on social media and apparently did a solid job of coalescing together. Remember too, the new law does NOT legalize “open carry”, just concealed meaning that students can’t walk around brandishing firearms everywhere without punishment.
If anything it appears Kutztown has legalized guns for the sake of student safety moreso than for keeping their hands clean. The whole “good guy with a gun” mentality has decent intentions but seems to be a bit biased. Just because you can conceal carry doesn’t turn you into Rambo and you can save the village by shooting the bad guy.
Now, there have been instances where people have saved people with a gun; I can’t just ignore that topic. But what would happen on a campus if an armed robbery occurred? Would there be a shootout? Would it end quickly? Without proper identification of the perpetrators, the situation could turn even uglier.
Unfortunately we might have a case study in that sooner rather than later. In my opinion, I think the university should be more safer obviously. But why aren’t there cameras in the hallways of dormitories or in the front lobby of all dorms? I can understand not in student’s rooms or in bathrooms but if we are going to catch criminals, shouldn’t we at least be able to identify them at the very least? Criminals will sometimes get away, its a fact of life, but shouldn’t we go through measures to ensure them that they will be caught?
Why are there hardly any emergency beacons on the living side of campus? If a student is assaulted, they have to either hike to public safety or find the nearest emergency light which could take a critical few minutes that could ensure that the perpetrator gets away.
I’m not one to call out any group. If students get to conceal carry and you don’t like it, don’t blame them; blame the administration. The administration is what made this happen.