Concealed weapons a divisive campus issue

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SDSU is not a campus that allows guns on the premises, even with a conceal and carry permit. Considering the population of hunters on this campus, it is to be expected that the rule will be broken from time to time.

On one occasion, while in class, a student admitted to being in possession of a gun. Even though this student had a conceal and carry permit, the possession of a firearm on campus violated state law. The University Police Department was called, and the student was detained for a period of time.

The incident turned out not to be dangerous, but nonetheless it might have put SDSU on edge — especially considering the highly publicized campus shootings throughout the country and the movie theater massacre earlier this year.

Some students like Amanda Schindler, a junior communication studies and theater major, say they can see both sides of the issue. Schindler said carrying a weapon on campus just because a person can doesn’t make much sense.

“There’s really no point,” she said. “However, if you’re traveling across campus at night, it can be scary, especially if you’re in an area that’s not well lit.

“I know SDSU is supposed to be a safe campus, but there are always those people out there who want to make it unsafe, such as the case a couple years back in Lot 19. If there’s something like that going around, I think it’s perfectly logical to be carrying around something with you for protection.”

At SDSU, a campus that has a high population of hunters, guns can be a difficult topic to decide on.

Terry Harris, a broadcast journalism professor, said he believes that if teachers were allowed to carry guns with a permit, it would be a good idea. He does not feel that students should be allowed to have a weapon if teachers had not been able to previously.

Some students and faculty have said the student body as a whole may not be responsible enough to have this privilege. Many students do not take responsibility for their homework and therefore may not be responsible with a weapon in their backpack.

Civil engineering student Stevie Underberg, a permit holder, has a slightly different opinion.

“I think that if a student has taken the time to get a permit, it is their right whether to carry or not,” Underberg said.

Underberg said students might want to carry a handgun for self-defense.

“If there is a criminal, they aren’t going to be worried about breaking another law,” she said. “So if being able to carry on campus will help make a person feel safer, I think it should be allowed.”

As the possibility exists that allowing conceal and carry permits might put students at higher risk, there isn’t a confirmed consensus among faculty and staff at SDSU on the issue.

“The topic is a very tricky situation,” Schindler said. “You want to believe in the best of people, but you know you can’t always.”