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.