The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

January 16, 2013

Editorial: Guns on campus aren’t the answer

So many things are on the list of items possibly banned from schools and classrooms: cellphones, chewing gum, fighting, weapons.

Perform an activity with any of those and a student could be suspended or expelled. Even worse, allow a gun or other weapon at a school and havoc or fear are around the corner, whether intentional or not.

But now, an Indiana lawmaker wants state universities to stop their ban on guns on campus. In the wake of school shootings across America, Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, believes some college students may want to protect themselves. His concern for safety is admirable; his approach is frightening.

Only eight states currently allow guns to be carried on campus. More than 20 states have banned the practice.

Anderson University bars firearms, ammunition, pellet guns and paints guns (as well as gambling and alcohol). All IU campuses ban guns except for law enforcement. Purdue, Ball State and other public universities, including Ivy Tech, have similar policies. Many have said leave well enough alone.

At some colleges, including Ball State, student groups have cropped up in support of Banks’ measure. One BSU student said he believed he should have the right to defend himself “by any means necessary” in the event a tragedy occurs.

He misses the point, however, that even if keeping and bearing a firearm is a constitutional right, it can lead to a scary scenario for other students. Possessing a firearm does not mean you can carry it into a college classroom. That should apply to those meaning to cause harm as well as those who don’t.

Banks, we feel, is looking for a constitution-based solution. Hoosiers understand his plight. But for now, let’s keep knee-jerk, paranoid reactions out of state law. His bill has been sent to the Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure where it should languish without a hearing. Instead, let’s seek less inflammatory ways to open the dialogue and encourage more rational answers.

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