As a student at USC, I should feel safe on our campus, which is labeled a “gun free zone.” But, when you look at the history and context of mass shootings, most of the worst ones occurred in locations where firearms were banned.
The fact is, I don’t feel safe on campus. Our campus in Columbia is surrounded by rough neighborhoods and crime, and while we have honorable campus security and the Columbia Police to protect us, there is no possible way they can be everywhere at once.
The solution to the series of recent mass shootings is not to make it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to purchase guns. The Constitution gives us the right to bear arms, and we must arm people that can make a difference and protect themselves against potential attacks on campus.
A recent bill in Texas known as the “Campus Personal Protection Act” has been signed by more than a dozen state senators. The bill would allow CHL [Concealed Handgun Licensing] to bring their weapons onto campus. Senator Brian Birdwell who sponsored the bill said, “This affords CHL holders, one of the most lawful group of citizens in our state, to be able exercise that 2nd amendment right to go on to the campus of higher learning to be able defend themselvesand protect their right to self-preservation, God forbid, some act of evil be perpetrated.”
Under South Carolina Code of Laws section 16-23-420(a) “It is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm of any kind on any premises or property owned, operated, or controlled by a private or public school, college, university, technical college, other post-secondary institution, or in any publicly owned building, without the express permission of the authorities in charge of the premises or property.”
Unfortunately, laws such as these only make students and teachers more vulnerable. As long as we (law abiding citizens) remain unprotected, we’re even more vulnerable to a potential shooting.
Some SC Republican members have also drafted legislation addressing gun rights. Representative Philip Lowe submitted Bill No. 3160, which would allow public education institution employees to carry weapons on school grounds, only after they obtained a concealed weapons permit.
Representative Lowe sums it up well: “Gun free zones should be eliminated by allowing well trained willing school employees to carry a weapon in defense of our children. National Guardsmen can be teachers, why can’t teachers be guards? If you remove my right to defend myself, then you owe me security.”
Editor's Note: Lauren Luxenburg is Chair of the USC College Republicans.