Vassar campus needs open carry policy for protection

There has been a rash of crime on Vassar’ex campus over the last month. Someone was robbed of their cell phone after one of the thieves threatened to use a handgun, reports have come in about the firing of BB or pellet guns in front of the Deece and a student was shot with a BB gun after discovering intruders in their TA. Additionally, there was a slew of crimes on campus last semester, including sev­eral TH break-ins and thefts.

Imagine the outcome if the victims had guns on their persons.

The Supreme Court ruled in District of Co­lumbia v. Heller that people as individuals have the right to keep and bear arms. In Texas, stu­dents are allowed to possess firearms on public college and university campuses, affording them protection in the face of danger. Currently no one has died from gun violence on these campuses since the law went into effect over the summer and any other incidences of gun violence have not increased, so any fears of constant shootings on campuses are thereby unrealized.

An armed citizenry is a protected citizenry. People who own firearms and know how to use them can stop crime and save lives, as well as prevent mass shootings and even saving their own lives. Statistics show an inverse relation­ship between gun ownership and gun violence.

Vassar College’s restrictions on firearms puts its students at risk, especially those whose iden­tities are socially marginalized, who are statisti­cally more likely to experience violence. Down­town Poughkeepsie, like most cities, including my hometown of Newburgh, NY, experiences higher rates of criminal activity, especially vio­lence, including stabbings, shootings, rape and murders than the surrounding area. Vassar is not far from downtown, so that violence could easily strike here, which may very well end in trage­dy. We’ve already seen violence on this campus with the BB gun shootings; should we wait for actual bullets to fly before taking action?

The College Administration has a responsibil­ity to ensure the safety of students on campus. The VSA Senate has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the students it governs. Safety and Security cannot be everywhere at one time, and many students walk considerable distances at night, especially from the residence halls to Skinner Hall, and sometimes in poorly lit areas of campus. We should be allowed to possess firearms in case the sudden need to protect our­selves arises.

I hereby ask the College Administration to amend its policy and allow students to carry guns on campus. The VSA and the Adminis­tration should then work together to come up with training sessions so that students can learn how to effectively use their firearms. After all, their presence only increases the danger if their owner is incompetent. A lack of training defeats the purpose of owning guns and could have fa­tal consequences. Therefore I have no problem with the College requiring firearms training be­fore permission to carry guns on campus, but I do have a problem with the current restrictions that potentially place students in grave danger. These restrictions must be changed immedi­ately, lest we risk inviting avoidable tragedy to campus.



  1. Not sure if this is satirical. While most studies comparing rates of gun ownership and violent gun-related crimes are purely correlative in nature, the direction of the relationship cited here is highly disputed, thus any recommendation to arm a given population based on these data is ideological and reckless at best. Please refer to Monuteaux et al., 2015 in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine

  2. Does the writer, who says he grew up in New York, know that New York is not an open-carry state? These aren’t “Vassar’s restrictions on firearms,” these are the state government’s.

    There are many more things to say about this piece, but I think that will do for now.

    • Marie,
      Where does the author reference open carry? The author is writing about concealed carry. It seems you do not know the difference.

    • Yes, I am aware of that. The title of this article was not the title I wrote, but one the editor chose. The title I wrote is “Students Should be Allowed to have Guns on Campus”.

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