Op-ed: Open carry opens up new fears

Sara Schaeffer, a senior majoring in geography, is a member of Colonials Demand Action, a gun control advocacy group.

Here at GW, we face the same daily stresses and trials as most college students around the country do: the desire to belong, the need to balance schoolwork and sometimes, loneliness. When you add drugs, alcohol and other peer pressures to that mix, it can result in a very difficult time for students to get through. Now imagine facing that same strife while surrounded by firearms.

That’s exactly what students in states like Florida and Texas may soon have to do as officials debate proposals to allow concealed guns on campus. As their fellow college students, it is our responsibility to voice our support for the majority of people who oppose campus carry. Supporting the Second Amendment as well as a student’s right to an environment that inspires learning – not fear – are not mutually exclusive.

With NRA-backed legislators claiming that guns on campus are the answer to safety concerns, it’s crucial to remember the truth. Students, faculty and law enforcement all overwhelmingly oppose campus carry. Seventy-nine percent of students said they would not feel safe if other students, faculty members or visitors were allowed to bring concealed guns on campus.

The issue of gun violence is the most salient and visible that it has ever been. Across the country, candidates are addressing the need for reform. As the issue grows, it is increasingly hard to ignore. Congress’s disregard of gun violence prevention on college campuses proves that they are more interested in playing politics than representing their constituents.

The presence of firearms is not the solution to any of the problems students encounter during college. Don’t let it be the cause.

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