Keep guns off campus

By Editorial Board

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill into law on July 8 that allows licensed citizens to carry a concealed gun anywhere except a few public places, such as hospitals, police stations and prisons. Beginning on Nov. 1, the Wisconsin Department of Justice will issue weapons permits for $50 that are good for five years.

One place that is noticeably absent from the off-limits list is college campuses. It is understandable if a person wishes to own a firearm and keep it safely in his or her own home. Allowing students to carry guns around college campuses, however, should be of huge concern.

The University of Wisconsin system is one of the largest in the Midwest. The Madison campus alone has more than 40,000 enrolled students. Allowing such a large number of students to tote around loaded guns seems like an extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment.

People certainly have a right to own a firearm. That being acknowledged, this law raises more than a few serious questions that haven’t been adequately answered by Walker.

A university campus is a place for learning, and this should be the focus. Guns and the threat of violence are major distractions that stressed-out college students don’t need added to their lives.

While the majority of students who choose to carry a gun will most likely do so safely, there are always exceptions. Even if one student takes advantage of the new privilege, there could be a disaster.

Colleges, especially big schools like UW, are havens for binge-drinking. It’s not hard to imagine what could go wrong when a fight breaks out at a fraternity house party if guns are added into the equation. Drunken people, especially younger ones, make stupid mistakes. Don’t give them another tool to do that with.

With the recent string of college shootings, it’s odd to go in the other direction and increase the availability of firearms on campus. Student suicides are on the rise, and an abundance of guns on campus won’t make things safer.

Arguments have been made for generations on whether gun ownership reduces or increases crime, and there

are statistics to back up both sides. In this instance, these are irrelevant. There are too many nightmare scenarios that could occur.

There are lines—blurry ones, but lines nonetheless—when it comes to citizens’ rights. If a student cannot practice his or her freedom of speech by yelling “fire” in a crowded lecture hall, then that student should not be allowed to practice his or her right to bear arms when the overriding concern is the safety of a large