Sheriff believes that allowing concealed weapons at schools would do more harm than good
Recent multiple homicides on college campuses, like those that occurred at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, have inflamed the national community and brought about a call to arms that is at once understandable and dangerous.
Currently, 13 states are considering legislation that would allow individuals with concealed weapons permits to carry weapons on college campuses, Newsweek reported Feb. 15.
The reasoning is that armed individuals will either deter outright or bring to an end a shooting incident on campus.
Arizona is one of the states considering such legislation. Sen. Karen Johnson has proposed SB 1214, which would allow students with concealed weapons permits to carry those weapons on campus.
This Senate bill would not allow school policies to limit permit holders from carrying their weapons on campus.
In the mayhem that ensues when someone begins shooting in a classroom or auditorium, it is unreasonable to think young, inexperienced students will have the presence of mind to quickly and calmly engage an active shooter.
In addition, if more than one student has a concealed weapon, how is it possible to determine which individuals are involved in the attack and which ones are trying to stop it?
The danger of crossfire and unintentional victims is multiplied exponentially.
The danger is further heightened when law enforcement arrives on the scene.
In what are, by their very nature, dynamic and dangerous situations, active shooter scenarios present a challenge to all involved.
Imagine the confusion that will ensue when law enforcement arrives at an active shooter situation, with unconfirmed information about who the suspect is or even how many there are, and these same officers encounter multiple individuals with guns.
There is no doubt that the community is concerned about the safety of students on campus.
I fully support the people’s right to bear arms; however, the problem of violence on campus is much too complex for a simple answer such as “more guns on campus.”
Think back to Oct. 28, 2002, when our own community was rocked by a shooting by University of Arizona College of Nursing student Robert Flores, who shot and killed three nursing professors – Robin Rogers, Barbara Monroe and Cheryl McGaffic – before turning the gun on himself.
Witnesses in the room spoke of the chaos and confusion that ensued when Flores started shooting.
Enacting legislation to allow people to carry concealed weapons on school campuses is not the solution to this problem.
The reality is that such actions will further endanger innocent bystanders in these situations.
Further tragedy will occur when more lives are lost because well-intentioned but unprepared citizens faced these life and death scenarios.
Clarence W. Dupnik is sheriff of Pima County.