Column: Allowing concealed carry of firearms on MU’s campus puts lives in danger

As Missouri’s legislature debates a bill that would require MU to allow concealed carry, safety must be the top priority.

Bryce Kolk is a freshman journalism major at MU. He is an opinion columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

Guns don’t belong in school. Can we all just agree on this?

As it stands, possession of firearms on university property is a violation of MU regulations. Missouri lawmakers, however, are looking into loosening this regulation.

A Missouri House committee has been debating House Bill 258, which would require universities to allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to possess firearms on campus.

MU should have the right to regulate MU property. It’s not a second amendment issue, it’s an issue of government overreach.

Universities know their own needs better than politicians in Jefferson City. Maintaining a safe, secure campus is a top priority.

The Associated Students of the University of Missouri, an advocacy group for students in the UM System, takes the same stance on campus carry laws. They cite concerns from campus law enforcement “on the grounds they encourage individuals with inadequate training to take matters into their own hands.”

Advocates for campus carry often cite worst-case scenarios. In the event of a mass shooting, they argue, a “good guy” gun owner could subdue the threat.

This, however, is a fantasy.

Campus carry would allow individuals to possess guns on university property, regardless of competency.

New York Police Department officers, who are professionally trained to handle firearms for a living, had a hit rate of just 18 percent in gunfights, between 1998 and 2006, according to a study by Rand Corporation. For every five shots, less than one hits the intended target. Assuming the “good guy” is no better trained than the average NYPD officer, that’s a lot of stray bullets. Mitigating casualties should be the sole focus in a crisis situation. Adding more guns to the mix would only add to the casualty count.

As of August 2018, Missouri is one of 16 states that ban concealed weapon carry on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 23 states allow each institution to regulate themselves. Should the bill pass, Missouri would be the 11th state to require universities to allow concealed carry on campuses. Tennessee is an outlier that allows faculty to carry, but not students or the general public.

Among the 10 states where campus carry is a reality is Kansas.

In 2017, the Kansas government required KU to allow concealed carry on campus. In an effort to keep campus safe, KU hired six additional officers to beef up security. Not only does concealed carry make campuses more dangerous, it also costs universities more money.

We should take a lesson from our rival and steer clear of any changes to the current concealed carry standards.

Despite the majority of the nation favoring increased gun control regulation, according to Gallup, state legislatures keep forcing the issue of campus carry.

In the wake of numerous school shootings, we need to keep our priorities clear. We need to listen to the advice of university law enforcement and keep safety at the forefront. Allowing concealed carry at MU would put student lives in danger.

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