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Colleges should allow concealed weapons, say readers in poll

By Steve Stewart
steve@decaturdaily.com 340-2444

Brenda Freeman of Decatur calls firearms on school campuses "a double-edged sword," but she voted for them in an online poll.

She was in the majority. The question was "Should concealed weapons be allowed on college campuses?" Eighty-eight Daily readers (61.5 percent) voted yes, and 55 voted no.

The two-day, unscientific poll ended Sunday at www.decaturdaily.com.

A student gunman killed 32 other people and himself two weeks ago at Virginia Tech, raising the issue of whether people there should have been armed for self-defense. Utah is the only state that expressly allows concealed weapons at public colleges, The Associated Press reported.

"On one hand," Freeman wrote in an e-mail, "there is the responsible person who carries a concealed weapon for protection purposes only. On the other hand, you have the person who carries a concealed weapon with intent to harm at some point. ...

'All-or-nothing decision'

"Weapon control is an all-or-nothing decision. There isn't a formula to separate the responsible weapon owner from the malicious weapon owner. This leaves you to decide which option carries the least amount of consequences, and how much death or destruction is 'acceptable.'

"If a school is known to allow concealed weapons, the likelihood of a student going on a shooting rampage is reduced. The malicious student knows that there is a measure of protection. Malicious students look for easy, unprotected targets."

She said the real issue is personal responsibility.

"We as a society no longer teach children vital life skills: handling stress, self-esteem, honor and respect of others. Instead, there is a medication for what ails you, and if that causes a bad reaction, imbalance or unwanted side effect, there is another pill for that. Now place a loaded weapon in that imbalanced person's hands, and wait for the trigger."

Aaron Potts, also of Decatur, voted the other way.

"While I am concerned about the safety of the college kids," he wrote, "I feel security should be increased rather than arm the students.

"Have unannounced checks on lockers and dorms. Anyone with a weapon should be escorted off campus immediately.

"If anyone can bring a weapon on campus, can you imagine the number of accidental shootings there? If we can afford to pay a coach hundreds of thousand dollars a year, we can afford more security."

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