Second Amendment rights war against safety concerns

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

Allowing guns on campus: is it supporting students’ second amendment rights or is it just an accident waiting to happen?

While the South Dakota State Senate failed to pass a bill that would have allowed students to carry guns on South Dakota college campuses, the legislation could be reconsidered if “smoked out”-when the Senate votes to bring the bill out of committee-or if “hog housed”-when another bill is gutted and the language of the gun bill replaces the original language.

“I am upset by the fact that they are even considering allowing guns on campus,” said Ellen Huelou, a freshman biology major. “The entire principle of it is ridiculous.”

According to Section 1 of House Bill 1261, “No public institution of higher education may regulate or restrict the right to carry or possess a firearm in accordance with state law.” The bill applies to any public postsecondary educational institute or postsecondary technical institute in South Dakota.

“I have mixed feelings on the topic because it would make it easier for students to go hunting,” said Alison Lemke, a freshman pre-pharmacy major. “I do, however, realize that it could become dangerous because of all the alcohol use on campus.”

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that citizens may have the right to legally keep and bear arms. In the state of South Dakota, people 18-years-old or older are legally allowed to own a gun.

“I think the bill should pass because this is such a popular ag school, and so there are a lot of people who like to hunt,” said Jay Wells, a sophomore wildlife and fisheries major. “I just think it would be easier to make it legal than to have hunters hiding their guns in their cars in the dorms’ parking lot.”

Within the past year, there have been multiple shooting attacks on college campuses. Because weapons are not allowed on most college campuses, the students at the shootings were unarmed. Allowing weapons on campus could factor in a form of self-defense if a student were to be put in a life-threatening situation.

“If random students are going to be carrying guns and there is a shooting, how do we know if we’re supposed to hide or if is it just another kid with a gun?” said Kami Wooldrig, a freshman pre-pharmacy major. “When you really think about it, it could get kind of confusing.”

“I think it’s ridiculous to make something that so many people have insecurities about legal and bring into dorms and on campus,” said Jamison Lamp, a freshman journalism major. “It’s just not safe.”

A failed smoke out on Feb. 15 was the last action taken on HB 1261. Legally, the last day the legislature can pass bills is Feb. 26, but the legislature is likely to vote to suspend the rules and pass bills through the 34th legislative day, Feb. 29.