After Virginia Tech: A Decade of Mass Shootings, An Increasingly Polarized Gun Debate

Great article about what has changed and what hasn’t since the tragedy at VA Tech 10 years ago.

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Please, no guns on N.C. campuses – Jerry VanSant

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Keep our campuses safe from gun violence

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, guns are already allowed in locked cars on NC public campuses. We must oppose legislation to allow yet more guns on college campuses. 


Catherine Alexander

19201 Stone Brook, Chapel Hill 27517



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Bill would allow concealed carry guns on UNC, community college campuses

"Becky Ceartas, executive director of the Durham-based North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, called the legislation ‘very dangerous.’ She said law enforcement personnel are the only ones who should be armed on campuses.

“’Campuses need to be a place for learning,’ Ceartas said. ‘Not a place where students have to fear being shot.’”

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Lawmakers push for concealed weapons on college campuses

Views from students in Charlotte about the new campus carry bill, HB 251. We couldn’t agree more with the student who said that it would be hard to figure out who is the good guy with a gun when in an active shooter situation. As for the other student – guns on campus will not make campuses safer. Even the VA Tech Review Panel specifically recommended against guns on campus.

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Opposition to Campus Carry

In order to ensure the safety of children, students, and educators, federal and state laws should prohibit guns in schools. Currently, under the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1996, federal law forbids guns on k-12 campuses1. Recently, though, the debate over whether or not guns should be allowed on schools has resurged, raising the possibility of changes in federal and state law. Just last year, Texas debuted it’s campus-carry law that allows anyone 21 and over with a permit to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, sparking intense debate over the safety of guns on campuses.

While anti-gun violence groups assert that guns on campuses are inherently dangerous, are not a reliable method of self-defense, and are likely to be fired accidentally, activists on the other side claim that by allowing teachers and staff to carry loaded weapons, the school will be well-defended against a violent attack.

However, a new study from Johns Hopkins shows that campus carry laws are unlikely to deter school shooters and may in fact lead to more injuries and deaths2. Building on a former FBI study that found that unarmed civilians were far more likely than armed civilians to stop an active shooting in progress, this study found similar results. “There is no reason to believe that college students, faculty, and civilian staff will shoot accurately in active shooter situations when they have only passed minimal training requirements for a permit to carry.” Campus carry could instead lead to more suicides and gun violence. “Research demonstrates that access to firearms substantially increases suicide risks, especially among adolescents and young adults, as firearms are the most common method of lethal self-harm.”

At least six accidental shootings by CCW holders have been reported on K-12 and university, resulting in injuries and chaos.3

  • One Utah schoolteacher’s gun accidentally went off in an elementary school bathroom
  • University of Colorado staffer was showing her coworkers her handgun and trying to unjam it when she accidentally fired a bullet that ricocheted and hit another woman
  • An Idaho State University assistant professor with a CCW permit shot himself in the foot with a semiautomatic handgun that accidentally discharged from inside his pocket in a chemistry classroom full of students in September 2014
  • University of Southern Mississippi student was in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh while sitting in his vehicle on campus
  • A student at Tarleton State University in Texas accidentally fired a gun at a campus residence hall

Overall, allowing loaded guns on campuses is a recipe for disaster. Empirical and anecdotal evidence alike highlight the dangers of guns in schools and on campuses, convincing us that now is the time to fight for common sense gun laws.





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Hilton Cancel: Gun bill unconstitutional

Regarding the Feb. 13 Under the Dome article “Bill would allow concealed carry without permit”: House Bill 69 would allow qualified persons 18 years and older to carry a conceal weapon without a permit.

Article 1 Section 30 of the North Carolina Constitution states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying a concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”

As a retired police officer, and a conceal carry holder of 56 years, I am willing to give up my permit before I passively stand by and let the General Assembly violate their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution of our state.

It is ill-advised that 18-year-old kids be legally entitled to carry guns including concealed guns. Not only is it ill-advised it is unconstitutional. An amendment to the N.C. Constitution would be necessary. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and bring a halt to HB69.

Hilton Cancel


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Letter to the Editor - Opposition to Constitutional Carry Act from Former Law Enforcement Officer

I am Demetrise Stephenson, a former Chapel Hill Law Enforcement Officer. I served 3 years until my career was shortened by a gun in the wrong hands of a student suffering from mental illness.

As an officer, intense training gave me the right and foresight to use a weapon for my own protection and the protection of others. I talked with officers who have had to draw their weapon and very few who have had to use them. They agree, training coupled with the mental anticipatory guidance is one of the reliable resources necessary.

I believe in the right to bear arms. Human life is what we should all desire to protect. I strongly oppose the Constitutional Carry Act, HB 69. It eliminates our life-saving concealed carry weapons permitting system, enabling 18-year-olds the right to carry a hidden loaded weapon in public without firearm carry concealed training. Dangerously, 18-year-olds are four times more likely to commit homicide than adults 21 years old or older.

I now work in public education. It is a place of many social exchanges where immature coping strategies led to the doorway of impulsivity.

In 2015 Mount St. Mary’s University compared non-trained carriers. Without training, “You get a person who’s unfamiliar and put a live weapon in their hand and expect them to be both competent and safe, you’re asking a lot of that person,” Kelly Veuden, Owner Criterion Tactical- firearms training center in San Antonio.

Please consider the permitting process. Be a citizen, live in NC for 30 days, 21 years old, no mental or physical condition that would interfere with safe handling of a firearm and lastly, complete firearm safety training, including practice fire handguns and learning about NC gun laws!



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Our View: Don't kill off concealed-carry permits

Thank you, Fayetteville Observer, for this great editorial.  If you could, please go to the comment section on this article to thank them for opposing the dangerous Constitutional Carry bill, HB 69.

“Just what we needed in a state where gunfire and bloodshed are already too much a part of daily life. Now a state representative wants to dump the requirement for concealed-carry permits before residents can pack heat.”

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Eric Thomas: Gun bill a horrible idea

We couldn’t agree more with Mr. Thomas, who is a concealed carry permit holder, about the idea of eliminating the training requirements that come along with getting a concealed carry weapons permit.

“Eliminating even those minimal requirements is a horrible idea. We require a license to drive a car, to dispense pharmaceuticals and to operate any number of businesses. We require permits to build simple additions on to our houses. How is it wise to allow anybody, without having to demonstrate any knowledge of how to handle a gun or of when it’s permissible to use deadly force, and without any vetting whatsoever, to be able to carry around a concealed, deadly weapon? The answer? Not very!”

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