The Purdue Student Government reasonably pushed back the decision date of the concealed weapons resolution in order to better research the topic. However, even after a successful course in gun safety at a shooting range, senators should seriously consider the validity and justification of allowing guns on campus.
If passed, the concealed carry resolution would allow students who do not live in on-campus housing or residence halls to possess concealed firearms. Students would be required to complete eight-hour self-defense training courses in order to obtain a permit to carry.
On Sunday, several PSG senators shot various firearms in a educational course about gun safety at Applied Ballistics in Lafayette. Organized by supporters of the resolution, the 45-minute class was held for the purpose of dismissing the common opinion that guns are “scary” or “evil” and to show how useful guns can be.
PSG senators were right in attending the event and participating in the hands-on experience. The class was pertinent, arming the senators with a better understanding of firearm safety and a more solid foundation with which to base their decisions. However, this should not greatly influence the senators’ decisions regarding the concealed carry resolution.
Spending less than an hour shooting at targets in a controlled range provides little more than an understanding of how to handle a gun. It does not supply an accurate example of firing a concealed firearm at an unforeseen attacker. Even if the senators had participated in a simulation, a real situation of assault would include additional influences such as spontaneity and panic.
Senators should consider other factors such as the general profile of firearm users – if those are the students who truly require this extra protection – and the necessity of fire power in most violent situations, especially when considering its extreme consequences.
Though this gun safety course was important to the decision-making process, it should account for only a small sway in PSG ruling. PSG will be making a final judgment on this resolution at its meeting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Krannert Building, Room G18. Its decision should promote the general safety of students on campus.