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Directions1. Print, read and annotate the following pair of articles posted in Unit and General Resources:Assigned Articles for Opposing Viewpoints Assignment PRO:Students Should Have the Right to Carry Guns on College CampusesDavid Burnett (2012)PRO Students Should Have the Right to Carry Guns on College Campuses.pdf CON:Students Should Not Be Allowed to Carry Guns on College CampusesDarby Dickerson (2012)CON Students Should Not Be Allowed to Carry Guns on College Campuses.pdf 2. Write a detailed three paragraph response. Use details from these two assigned articles by Burnett and Dickerson to support your argument.What is each author’s central argument?Identify at least three main supporting details each author uses to back up the main argument.Whose position do you agree with more, any why? Be specific in your response.3. Make sure all references and quotation are clearly cited, using the parenthetical form of citations.4. Also include a works cited. (Review MLA format.)5. Post your paragraphs to the Opposing Viewpoints full class forum.PurposeThis activity provides practice in summarizing the central argument and supporting details for opposing arguments, integrating sources into your writing, and citing your sources. GradingI will grade your writing on your ability to identify and summarize each author’s argument, develop main supporting details, and use accurate MLA citations.


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Students Should Not Be Allowed to Carry Guns
on College Campuses
Guns and Crime, 2012
Darby Dickerson, dean of Texas Tech University School of Law, is an expert in higher education law
and policy and is an elected member of the American Law Institute. Her scholarly articles have
appeared in legal journals across the country.
The shootings that have occurred in recent years at US colleges and universities have
generated passionate debate about how best to prevent such violence and whether persons
should be allowed to carry concealed guns on campuses. Various experts, such as Jesus
Villahermosa, a Washington state SWAT officer and founder of Crisis Reality Training, believe
there is no credible evidence that students or staff carrying guns would reduce crime. In fact,
research has shown that the brains of most college students have not fully developed with
regard to impulse control and judgment; therefore, allowing students access to guns could
actually increase reckless shooting incidents.
Colleges and universities occupy a special place in American society. They are much more than a
series of buildings and collection of individuals. Instead, they are dynamic living and learning
environments where individuals with varying levels of maturity interact, often under stressful
circumstances. While recognizing the right of responsible individuals to possess firearms under other
circumstances, the unique characteristics of a university campus make the presence of firearms
National Context Regarding Guns on Campuses
Currently, 26 states plus the District of Columbia ban concealed weapons on college and university
property. Twenty-three states allow individual campuses to decide. Only Utah allows guns on the
campuses at public institutions; the state allows private institutions to set their own policies.
In November 2008, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities issued a highereducation policy brief titled “Concealed Weapons on State College Campuses: In Pursuit of Individual
Liberty and Collective Security.” The organization aptly framed the issue of guns on campus as
The tragic events at Virginia Tech [April 2007] and Northern Illinois University [February 2008]
have policymakers, campus officials and citizens looking for solutions to prevent future
attacks. Violent shootings that have occurred on a few college campuses in recent years have
provoked a debate over the best ways to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff.
Lawmakers in several states have advanced the idea allowing citizens with concealed
weapons permits to carry their weapons on campus…. These legislative proposals have been
met with considerable controversy, evoking strong emotion on both sides. Thus far, Utah is the
only state to have adopted this policy. All other state legislatures where similar bills have been
introduced have rejected the idea.
The Second Amendment—the right to keep and bear arms as established by the U.S.
Constitution and many state constitutions—is not at issue in this controversy. Rather, this is a
policy debate over how best to ensure public safety, as the Second Amendment is subject to
reasonable restrictions, such as bans on guns in schools. The majority opinion of the U.S.
Supreme Court recently concluded in District of Columbia vs. Heller:
Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the
Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding
prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the
carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings [emphasis
added], or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.
The majority also noted: “We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as
examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.” While striking down the District of
Columbia’s strict ban on handguns, the justices did not call into question any of the existing
gun bans on college campuses.
The most recent published case regarding guns on campus was issued by the Virginia Supreme Court
on January 13, 2011. In Digiacinto v. Rector & Visitors of George Mason University, a visitor to the
public university claimed that the university’s policy prohibiting possession of firearms on campus
violated his constitutional rights. Relying on the conclusion in Heller that the right to keep and bear
arms is not absolute, the court held that the Second Amendment does not prevent the government
from prohibiting firearms in sensitive places, such as George Mason’s campus and events.
In determining that the university was a “sensitive place” under Heller, the court relied on the parties’
stipulation that George Mason has 30,000 students enrolled ranging from age 16 to senior citizens,
that more than 350 incoming freshman would be under 18, that elementary and high school students
attend summer camps on campus, and that children attend an on-campus preschool. All of these
individuals use George Mason’s buildings and attend on-campus events. The court also emphasized
that “[u]nlike a public street or park, a university traditionally has not been open to the general public,
‘but instead is an institute of higher learning that is devoted to its mission of public education.’ …
Moreover, parents who send their children to a university have a reasonable expectation that the
university will maintain a campus free of foreseeable harm.”
In October 2010, the Colorado Supreme Court granted certiorari [review] in Regents of the University
of Colorado v. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, LLC to consider “[w]hether the General
Assembly intended the Concealed Carry Act to divest the Board of Regents of its constitutional and
statutory authority to enact safety and welfare measures for the University of Colorado’s campuses”
and “[w]hether a constitutional challenge to a statute or ordinance regulating the right to bear arms is
governed by the deferential rational basis standard of review or a more stringent reasonable exercise
standard of review.” In the underlying case, a student-interest group sued the university alleging that
its weapons control policy violated Colorado’s Concealed Carry Act (CCA) and the right to bear arms
in self-defense under the Colorado Constitution. Although the trial court dismissed the claims, the
Colorado Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The case does not yet
appear on the state supreme court’s public oral-argument calendar.
Concern About Violence on College Campuses
The tragedies at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Appalachian School of Law [January 2002], and the
University of Alabama in Huntsville [February 2010], among others, illustrate that our campuses are
not immune from violence. Studies reflect that violence on campus is most commonly perpetrated by
students, against students. In response to the Virginia Tech shooting, the U.S. Secret Service,
Department of Education, and F.B.I. studied violence at institutions of higher education. As part of this
study, 272 incidents of targeted violence were identified through a comprehensive search of opensource reports from 1900 to 2008. The incidents include various forms of targeted violence, ranging
from domestic violence to mass murder. Most incidents occurred during the 1990s and 2000s. Across
these 272 incidents, the perpetrators killed 281 people and injured 247 more. The perpetrators used
guns 54% of the time, knives or bladed instruments 21% of the time, and a combination of weapons
10% of the time. Florida had the fourth highest number of incidents in the study.
Concealed carry laws have the potential to dramatically increase violence on college and
university campuses.
In 2008, the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Inc. (IACLEA)
issued a statement in response to various state legislative initiatives to allow persons to carry
concealed weapons on college and university campuses. Below are excerpts from the IACLEA
IACLEA’s Board of Directors believes “concealed carry” initiatives do not make campuses
safer. There is no credible evidence to suggest that the presence of students carrying
concealed weapons would reduce violence on our college campuses.
There is no credible statistical evidence demonstrating that laws allowing the
carrying of concealed firearms reduce crime. In fact, the evidence suggests that
permissive concealed carry laws generally will increase crime….
Use of a gun in self-defense appears to be a rare occurrence. For example, of the
30,694 Americans who died by gunfire in 2005, only 147 were killed by firearms in
justifiable homicides by private citizens….
IACLEA is concerned that concealed carry laws have the potential to dramatically increase
violence on college and university campuses that our Members are empowered to protect.
Among the concerns with concealed carry laws or policies are: the potential for accidental
discharge or misuse of firearms at on-campus or off-campus parties where large numbers of
students are gathered or at student gatherings where alcohol or drugs are being consumed,
as well as the potential for guns to be used as a means to settle disputes between or among
students. There is also a real concern that campus police officers responding to a situation
involving an active shooter may not be able to distinguish between the shooter and others with
Public safety is threatened by student gun owners. One study found that two-thirds
of gun-owning college students engage in binge drinking. Gun-owning students are
more likely than unarmed college students to drink “frequently and excessively” and
then engage in risky activities, such as driving when under the influence of alcohol,
vandalizing property, and getting into trouble with police….
Another study similarly discovered that college student gun owners are more likely
than those who do not own guns to engage in activities that put themselves and
others at risk for severe or life-threatening injuries, including reckless behavior
involving alcohol, driving while intoxicated, and suffering an alcohol-related injury….
Suicides accounted for 55 percent of the nation’s nearly 31,000 firearms deaths in 2005, the
most recent year statistics are available from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention….
Public Health researchers have concluded that in homes where guns are present, the
likelihood that someone in the home will die from suicide or homicide is much greater.
We urge public policy makers to weigh heavily the concerns of IACLEA regarding the
unintended consequences of any proposals to allow college students and any other persons to
carry concealed weapons on campus. We believe that the research we have cited shows that
these unintended consequences include:
1. Likely increase in reckless shooting incidents resulting in injuries and deaths from
firearms on campus;
2. Likely increase in both homicides and suicides;
3. Increased exposure of campus police to injuries;
4. Unfunded mandates resulting from policy changes, including resources necessary
to investigate firearms incidents, thefts of firearms, and checking for
underage/prohibited possessors….
Restricting Guns on Campus
The work of Jesus Villahermosa, founder of Crisis Realty Training and a S.W.A.T. officer in
Washington State, also reflects the wisdom of restricting guns on campus. Officer Villahermosa has
first-hand experience responding to gun-related violence in schools. In an essay published in the
Chronicle of Higher Education, he concluded:
I have been a deputy sheriff for more than 26 years and was the first certified master
defensive-tactics instructor for law-enforcement personnel in the state of Washington. In
addition, I have been a firearms instructor and for several decades have served on my county
sheriff’s SWAT team, where I am now point man on the entry team. Given my extensive
experience dealing with violence in the workplace and at schools and colleges, I do not think
professors and administrators, let alone students, should carry guns….
Adding a weapon … into the mix can quickly turn a constructive meeting into one filled with
fear and intimidation.
Many universities with policies prohibiting guns on campus also realize that at least some of their
students may own and want to use guns for club sports or recreational hunting; these universities have
developed policies and procedures to allow students to register and store rifles and other weapons
traditionally used in sport in a locked vault maintained by campus police….
Universities that otherwise prohibit weapons on campus have also developed policies to account for
R.O.T.C. programs and law-enforcement officers taking courses or attending programs on campus….
Although legislation to permit open-carry of weapons is or recently has been pending in a few states,
including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah, no legislature to date has authorized opencarry on college or university campuses. In states where open-carry legislation has been debated,
university faculty and presidents have expressed concerns for their own safety and the nature of the
academic environment. This fear is understandable, especially since faculty members must often
interact with students who may be disappointed in their evaluations and grades. Engaging in difficult,
but necessary, conversations with students to help them develop professionally and personally can be
challenging under normal circumstances, but adding a weapon—especially one displayed
openly—into the mix can quickly turn a constructive meeting into one filled with fear and intimidation.
Brain Development Studies
Although most traditional-age college students appear to be physically mature, their brains are still
developing. Over the past decade, researchers have discovered that the human brain changes
significantly during adolescence—often defined as the second decade of life—and is not fully
developed until about 24.
The areas of the brain that develop last include the pre-frontal cortex. Described as the “CEO of the
body,” this area “allows us to prioritize thoughts, imagine, think in the abstract anticipate
consequences, plan, and control impulses.” Because the brain develops back to front, “judgment” is
last to mature. As Dr. Ken Winters of the University of Minnesota has explained, “By age 18, the
adolescent’s judgment for structured challenges is roughly equal to that of adults. But judgment that
involves resisting impulses or delaying gratification is still under construction during late adolescence
and early adulthood.”
From these new studies, we have learned that, as a general rule, individuals in their late teens and
early 20s:
prefer physical activities;
prefer high-excitement and low-effort activities;
prefer novelty;
exhibit poor planning and judgment;
often fail to consider negative consequences of their actions; and
seek riskier, impulsive behaviors.
Therefore, conduct most adults perceive as dangerous and risky, they perceive as fun. In addition,
some evidence exists that “being in a group accentuates risk taking,” which has tremendous
implications for student affairs professionals. Moreover, the research underscores that alcohol and
other drug use not only impedes brain development, but can have long-term negative consequences
on brain structure.
Accessibility to guns and other weapons … is likely to lead to additional incidents of self-injury,
accidental shootings, and homicides.
High-risk alcohol and other drug use among our student populations represent the number one risk for
our students. This is true even for students who do not drink or take drugs, as they can—and
frequently are—the victims of others’ abuse. The grim statistics include:
1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related
unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the
influence of alcohol.
More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another
student who has been drinking.
More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related
sexual assault or date rape.
As IACLEA has predicted, adding accessibility to guns and other weapons to this mix is likely to lead
to additional incidents of self-injury, accidental shootings, and homicides.
Our collective goal should be to make our college and university campuses as safe as possible.
Allowing guns and other weapons on campus will not advance that goal; indeed, it will have the
opposite effect and lead to additional deaths and injuries. The best way to keep our campuses safe is
to retain colleges and universities on the list of places where individuals may not bring firearms.
Further Readings
Ben Agger There Is a Gunman on Campus: Tragedy and Terror at Virginia Tech. Lanham, MD:
Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.
Pjeter D. Baldridge, editor Gun Ownership and the Second Amendment. Hauppauge, NY: Nova
Science Publishers, 2009.
Chris Bird Thank God I Had a Gun: True Accounts of Self-Defense. San Antonio, TX: Privateer
Publications, 2006.
Joan Burbick Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy. New York: New Press,
Brian Doherty Gun Control on Trial: Inside the Supreme Court Battle Over the Second Amendment.
Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2008.
Richard Feldman Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons,
Kristin A. Goss Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America. Princeton, NJ:
Princeton University Press, 2006.
Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age.
Bellevue, WA: Merril Press, 2007.
Alan Gottlieb and Dave Workman These Dogs Don’t Hunt: The Democrats’ War on Guns.
Bellevue, WA: Merril Press, 2008.
Stephen P. Halbrook The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms.
Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2008.
Bernard E. Harcourt Language of the Gun: Youth, Crime, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 2006.
Dennis A. Henigan Lethal Logic: Exploding the Myths that Paralyze American Gun Policy.
Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2009.
Kathy Jackson The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry. Hamilton, MI: White
Feather Press, LLC, 2010.
David B. Kopel Aiming for Liberty: The Past, Present, and Future of Freedom and Self Defense.
Bellevue, WA: Merril Press, 2009.
Mark Pogrebin, N. Prabha Unnithan, Paul Stretesky Guns, Violence, and Criminal Behavior: The
Offender’s Perspective. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009.
John A. Rich Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.
Lucinda Roy No Right to Remain Silent: The Tragedy at Virginia Tech. Van Nuys, CA: Harmony,
Robert J. Spitzer The Politics of Gun Control, 4th Edition. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2008.
Mark Walters and Kathy Jackson Lessons from Armed America. Hamilton, MI: White Feather
Press, LLC, 2009.
Timothy Wheeler and E. John Wipfler Keeping Your Family Safe: The Responsibilities of Firearm
Ownership. Bellevue, WA: Merril Press, 2009.
Periodicals and Internet Sources
Ben Adler “Conservatives Make Inaccurate Arguments Against Gun Control,” Newsweek, January
18, 2011.
Ellen S. Alberding “Philanthropy Must Challenge the Idea that Gun Violence Can’t Be Stopped,”
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, January 14, 2011.
Frida Berrigan “Too Many Guns,” Huffington Post, October 23, 2008.
Jimmy Carter “What Happened to the Ban on Assault Weapons?” New York Times, April 26, 2009.
Steve Chapman “The Unconcealed Truth about Carrying Guns,” Reason, March 31, 2011.
Saul Cornell “What the ‘Right to Bear …
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