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Saturday, April 20
The Indiana Daily Student

opinion

If it's illegal to carry on campus, don't

An advocate for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus was out in front of Ballantine Hall last week.

There was a small crowd, so I decided to stop and listen. I didn’t have a particularly strong idea of concealed carry on college campuses, and I wanted to learn.

I was paying attention to the responses of the concealed carry advocate, and why it was that they believed students should be allowed to have guns on campus, until a fellow student, upon seeing the topic for discussion, said, “Oh, hell yeah. I’ve got one on me right now.”

That got my attention.

Possession of a firearm on IU property is prohibited, according to IU’s official policy on possession of firearms and weapons.

The prohibition applies regardless of any permit to carry a firearm.

Meaning, while you may have a permit to carry a gun and while you may know how to handle a gun safely, you are not allowed to carry it here at IU.

As the policy states, the ban on firearms on campus is in place to reduce risk and support a safe environment for the university’s academic endeavors.

All 50 states allow citizens to carry concealed weapons as long as they meet state requirements, a ccording to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Twenty states ban carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses.

In 23 states, including Indiana, the decision to allow or bar students from concealed carry is left up to each college or university ?individually.

I’m not going to take a stance on student concealed carry because the man who casually uttered behind the backs of a small group of students that he was armed is all I need to make my point.

I don’t care if you want to own a gun.

If you are properly trained, if you truly want to protect yourself and others around you, then I can’t necessarily fault you.

However, I care if you think owning a gun is a status symbol.

That student behind me didn’t just own a gun, he also wanted people to know he had one, and he wanted to carry it around, even when it is illegal to ?do so.

There are those out there who understand the responsibility that comes with owning a gun, but as my fellow student validated, there are those who are cavalier with their responsibility.

Owning a weapon doesn’t entitle one to bragging rights.

If it reasonably entitles them to anything, it should be discretion because of the nature of a weapon’s purpose: hurting or killing other people.

I am not referring to an issue of self-defense. It is, as with most things, an attitude issue.

Again, there are responsible gun owners. But how many responsible gun owners are there in relationship to those like my boastful fellow student?

And even if the responsible gun owners outnumber the irresponsible folk, would that validate every adult owning a gun?

Indiana Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, is nothing less than adamant about allowing students to carry weapons on campuses across Indiana.

Banks introduced legislation to allow concealed carry on Indiana campuses. Even for those who associate gun ownership with status, it seems he stands behind such enthusiasm.

We live in a shallow society where symbols of status take the form of clothing, cars and appearances.

It seems somewhat alarming to me that a gun has now been given such status.

Let me be very clear: Guns are extremely powerful and effective weapons, but put in the hands of those with the mentality of a 10th-grader, they instantly ?become unsafe.

Let my chance encounter be a reminder for those who share the views of Banks.

Some people are ready to own a gun. Many are not.

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