Keep our campuses safe

The NC legislature is reportedly considering legislation to allow employees of state colleges with concealed weapons permits to bring handguns to campus and to classes. (N&O, Jan. 15, 2017) Now, more than ever, we must draw the line against creating an atmosphere for gun violence on our campuses.

Here are just some of the facts:

1. A North Carolina study found that workplaces that allow workers to carry firearms and other weapons at work were 5-7 times more likely to be the site of an on-the-job homicide compared to places where firearms were prohibited.  Workers in gun-permissive environments are more likely to be killed at work.

2.  The Virginia Tech Review Panel, headed by Gerald Massengill, who investigated the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon along with panel member Tom Ridge, the first Homeland Security Secretary, specifically recommended that “guns be banned on campus grounds and in buildings.”

3.  The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, Inc. (IACLEA) wrote: “The IACLEA Board of Directors believes ‘conceal carry’ initiatives do not make campuses safer.”

4. Students on college campuses are safer than those off-campus, the US Department of Justice has found.  93% of violent crimes against students take place off campus.

5. On campuses in two states where guns have been allowed, rapes have increased. Colorado’s rate of campus rape increased 25% in 2012 and 36% in 2013, after concealed guns were allowed.  Utah’s campus rape stats increased nearly 50% during those years, after “campus carry” was allowed.

6.  Homicides on US campuses are rare—much rarer than elsewhere in the nation.  The homicide rate at post secondary education campuses was 0.1 per 100,000 of enrollment compared to the US criminal homicide rate of 4.4 per 100,000 in 2013.

7. The presence of weapons does not prevent shootings in public places.  A study by Everytown for Gun Safety found that 16 of the 33 active-shooter incidents occurred in public places where guns could be legally carried. Two more incidents occurred where an armed guard or police were in the immediate vicinity.

8. Students should not have to worry about who is carrying weapons on campus. Their anxiety is great enough.  Depression is a growing and common mental health disorder on college campuses, with campus professionals citing difficult adjustments to life on their own, academic and social pressures. 

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among the college age population nationwide, eclipsed only by vehicular accidents. Of those who commit suicide, two-thirds of the students are depressed at the time of death.

9.  Professional, highly trained law enforcement officials hit their targets 20% of the time.  Untrained personnel, including teachers, are likely to perform much worse and in proximity of students, who become vulnerable to stray shots.

10. Guns do not keep us safe. The US now has more guns than people and has the highest—by far— homicide rates in the developed world. A recent study published in the Journal of American Medicine indicates that Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed with a gun than those in other developed nations. 

The author of the study, Erin Grinshteyn, an assistant professor at the School of Community Health Science at the University of Nevada-Reno, notes "These results are consistent with the hypothesis that our firearms are killing us rather than protecting us."

North Carolinians must stand firm against putting our students at risk due to a gun lobby that continues to fight all efforts to limit gun violence.  Due to a bill passed by the legislature just last year, guns are already allowed in cars on NC public campuses. We must oppose legislation to allow yet more guns on college campuses.

Catherine Alexander

Chapel Hill

 

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10 people shot at National Guard Armory in Tennessee

“BROWNSVILLE, Tenn. Ten people were shot at a party Friday night in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.” 

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Point of View - No Guns on Campus

Please, no guns on NC campuses

The News & Observer noted on January 15 that state legislators plan to revisit the question of allowing holders of concealed weapons permits working at state colleges to bring handguns to their classes.

What a terrible idea!

1.     Most U.S. campuses prohibit guns.  The overwhelming majority of the more than 4,300 colleges and universities in the United States wisely prohibit students, faculty and visitors from carrying concealed handguns on campus.

2.     Mistakes are likely.  The Violence Policy Center reminds us that when police officers fire their weapons, they sometimes make fatal mistakes in deciding when deadly force is justified. Teachers will not likely perform any better.  Moreover, the close quarters of a classroom may make it even more difficult for teachers to effectively use deadly force against an assailant. There is no credible evidence to suggest that the presence of students carrying concealed weapons would reduce violence on our campuses.
 
3.     Administrative costs.  It also would be a huge burden for school districts, individual schools, and teachers to ensure that firearms are not lost or stolen:
 
4.     Faculty and Students don’t want guns on campus.  The Kansas City Star has noted that polling of faculty and students has consistently shown widespread opposition to guns on campuses. Professors worry that a student upset by a grade could become a lethal threat. Resident assistants shudder to consider trying to manage routine disputes between students when someone might be armed.
 
5.     Suicide risk would increase: Student body organizations have wisely raised the prospect of increased suicides as the stresses of the college years mix with alcohol and ready access to a handgun.
 
6.     Workplace homicides are more likely.  A North Carolina study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that workplaces allowing workers to carry firearms and other weapons at work were 5-7 times more likely to be the site of an on-the-job homicide compared to workplaces that prohibited workers from carrying weapons. This study confirms that just as residents of households with guns are more likely to become a victim of a homicide in the home, workers who work in places that allow guns are more likely to be killed while at work.
 

7.     Prevention is key. The focus should remain on preventing guns from getting into schools, rather than relying on teachers or other education professionals to prevail in a shoot-out.
 

These arguments are backed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who have released a study that argues the campus-carry movement is based on flawed assumptions about the relationship between civilian gun use, violent crime and mass shootings, including several killings on college campuses. The higher likelihood for college-aged people to engage in reckless behavior — binge drinking, drug use, fighting, suicide — heightens the danger, they said.

"Increasing gun availability in campus environments could make far more common acts of aggression, recklessness or self-harm more deadly and, thus, have a deleterious impact on the safety of students, faculty and staff," they wrote in a report published by the university's Bloomberg School of Public Health.

These days, it's hard to get college presidents, students and campus police to agree on much. But on this issue the message is clear: Bullets and backpacks don't mix.  Clearly, a terrible idea!

Jerry VanSant

Chapel Hill, NC

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Citizens misled by N.C. gun permit rules

We must fight mandatory concealed carry legislation in Congress right now.  This bill would allow people from out of state to carry their concealed license in NC. Particularly scary is that people who come in from states from weaker gun laws than we have. Join us in fighting back – ncgv@ncgv.org.

“DOBSON — The Surry County Sheriff’s Office recently alerted local citizens to a potential marketing scheme regarding out-of-state concealed-carry permit training.

“Authorities became aware of the problem when two residents attempted to apply for a North Carolina permit at the sheriff’s office using a Virginia certificate of training.

“‘In both cases the individuals believed that the Virginia certificate qualified them to be eligible to apply for a North Carolina permit,’ Sheriff Graham Atkinson said."

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Trump’s White House says supporting police means backing gun rights. Police actually advocate stricter gun laws.

"Officers were asked about a number of issues, including how they felt about new gun laws. Nearly 90 percent of police officers said they supported making more gun sales — specifically those at gun shows, and other private gun transactions — subject to background checks."

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Louisiana cop shot, killed after stopping to offer aid

Officer Louviere is the fourth law enforcement officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty in the United States this year.

“The officer was shot Friday after he stopped to check on what he thought was a car accident. Officer Michael Louviere, 26, observed the apparent traffic accident and pulled over to assist, Westwego police Chief Dwayne Munch Sr. told CNN. Louviere instead discovered a woman on the ground, shot multiple times. While Louviere was leaning over her, the suspect came up behind him and shot the officer in the head, Munch said.”

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Betsy DeVos says guns in schools may be necessary to protect students from grizzly bears

This is unacceptable!  We also fear that the General Assembly will try and pass a bill to allow guns in schools.  Let’s work together to stop this madness – ncgv@ncgv.org.

“When Murphy asked her again, DeVos said, ‘I will refer back to Senator Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming … I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.’

“Since January 2013, there have been 201 incidents of firearms being discharged on school grounds, according to findings from Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense that were released in November. Black students are disproportionately the victims of school shootings.”

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Opposition to Federally Mandated Concealed Carry

On January 3, 2017 US Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Charlotte area) proposed a “gun rights expansion” bill, so to speak (HR 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill of 2017).  HR 38, not Hudson’s first such bill, is strongly supported by the NRA.  To summarize the bill, his website asks, “Your driver’s license works in every state, why not your concealed carry permit?” It’s designed as a matter of convenience for gun owners. However, we know the difference between guns and cars and there are elements in this national proposal that could endanger North Carolinians.

To provide background, all 50 states allow concealed carry, but currently 10 have enacted permitless (constitutional) concealed carry laws. NC regulates concealed carry permits, requiring training and rejecting applicants with impaired mental capacity or illness, certain criminal convictions and other criteria.  This Federal law, if passed, would allow anyone with a concealed weapon, permitted or not, to travel across state lines, regardless of a state’s gun laws (because Federal law supersedes state law).  The bill also aims to allow concealed guns in all national parks (like Great Smoky National Park and Cape Hatteras) and in our schools, as carriers would not be subject to the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990.  Additionally, “Hudson supports language that would allow gun owners to sue municipalities, police forces, or individuals (i.e. business owners) who seek to prohibit a concealed gun.” (The Trace, Dan Friedman, January 6, 2017)

I am not opposed to guns, as my family, including sons raised with the knowledge of secured guns in our home, likes to hunt, use the meat for food, and be together on hunting trips (I choose to stay home). But if passed, this bill could compromise the lives of many innocent North Carolinians. The 2nd Amendment is not in danger if this bill does not pass, but last year’s reciprocity bill by Rep. Hudson was also opposed by many law enforcement agencies that see increased danger in a reciprocity bill.  It failed.  Please speak out against HR 38 while you can.

Rane Winslow, MPH, Maternal/Child Health

Raleigh, NC

 

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Letter to the Editor - Opposition to Federally Mandated Concealed Carry

On January 3, 2017 US Rep. Richard Hudson (R-Charlotte area) proposed a “gun rights expansion” bill, so to speak (HR 38, The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Bill of 2017).  HR 38, not Hudson’s first such bill, is strongly supported by the NRA.  To summarize the bill, his website asks, “Your driver’s license works in every state, why not your concealed carry permit?” It’s designed as a matter of convenience for gun owners. However, we know the difference between guns and cars and there are elements in this national proposal that could endanger North Carolinians.

To provide background, all 50 states allow concealed carry, but currently 10 have enacted permitless (constitutional) concealed carry laws. NC regulates concealed carry permits, requiring training and rejecting applicants with impaired mental capacity or illness, certain criminal convictions and other criteria.  This Federal law, if passed, would allow anyone with a concealed weapon, permitted or not, to travel across state lines, regardless of a state’s gun laws (because Federal law supersedes state law).  The bill also aims to allow concealed guns in all national parks (like Great Smoky National Park and Cape Hatteras) and in our schools, as carriers would not be subject to the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990.  Additionally, “Hudson supports language that would allow gun owners to sue municipalities, police forces, or individuals (i.e. business owners) who seek to prohibit a concealed gun.” (The Trace, Dan Friedman, January 6, 2017)

I am not opposed to guns, as my family, including sons raised with the knowledge of secured guns in our home, likes to hunt, use the meat for food, and be together on hunting trips (I choose to stay home). But if passed, this bill could compromise the lives of many innocent North Carolinians. The 2nd Amendment is not in danger if this bill does not pass, but last year’s reciprocity bill by Rep. Hudson was also opposed by many law enforcement agencies that see increased danger in a reciprocity bill.  It failed.  Please speak out against HR 38 while you can.

Rane Winslow, MPH, Maternal/Child Health

Raleigh, NC

 

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NC lawmakers revisit question of guns on campus

Please join with us to oppose campus carry. Email us at ncgv@ncgv.org to find out what you can do to stop this bad legislation.

"Brent Herron, the UNC system’s associate vice president of campus safety and emergency operations, said that when Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 937 into law in 2013, the UNC system’s stance was that it didn't need to have more weapons on campus. That law made it legal for individuals with concealed-carry permits to keep a firearm locked in a car’s glove box while parked on a public campus."

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