Although the most recent school shootings have happened on American high school campuses, there have also been multiple gun related instances at colleges and universities as well. As a result, gun control on college campuses is a topic that is in the forefont of the minds of students, school staff, and others. However, the situation is complicated. American universities and gun control have a unique relationship. Nobody seems to agree on the best approach to the problem. Still, gun control facts and statistics seem to point to limiting guns on campus as a astep in the right direction. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of gun control on college campuses.
The Pros And Cons of Gun Control on College Campuses
There are cons when it comes to limiting access to guns on college campuses. The same is true for calling for stricter background checks, or limiting who can own and carry firearms at schools. However, these drawbacks aren’t related to the effectiveness of these measures. In fact, research shows that in spite of the fact that some states are pushing for it, more guns won’t make schools safer. Instead, the real challenge is a cultural and educational. While international students may not feel the same way, many Americans see the right to own and carry guns as being sacrosanct.
Of course, when considering the pros and cons of gun control on college campuses, the main thing to keep in mind is that facts and statistics largely support the idea that fewer guns on campuses will help. When gun control advocates can overcome rhetoric about destruction of second amendment rights, their solutions do work.
Gun Rights And Cultural Memes About Firearms
As mentioned above, those against gun control to solve the epidemic of campus gun violence have done an excellent job of building up convincing talking points. These include
Misusing Historical Data on Gun Control
- Hitler used gun control!
- Governments who want to control their citizens take away guns first!
- Countries that have gun control still have gun violence, because criminals still have guns.n lobby frequently uses false data to convince people that any limitations on gun ownership will not only fail to solve the issue of violence, it will make things worse. Unfortunately, they are very effective at using triggering words to make an emotional impact.
Spreading Falsehoods About Students Against Gun Violence
Students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglass high school in Florida, the location of a mass shooting on 2/14/18 have become very politically active. An unfortunate side effect of this is that many of these students have been the target of efforts to slander them. They have been called FBI plants and crisis actors. One student in particular has been subjected to rumors that he’s nearly 30 years old and a convicted felon. These conspiracy theories are designed to deflect from the political efforts being made. Others have been accused of having bullied the gunman.
Attributing Gun Violence to Video Games Poor Parenting Bullying, Etc.
Anyone following the tragedy of gun violence on school campuses has likely seen quotes and memes stating that the issue is not that we permit guns, but that we accept other behaviors and cultural changes. The walkup movement falsely attempted to lay the issue at the feet of bullying. This is in spite of the fact that many school shooters were not victims of bullying and are often sociopaths who enjoy hurting others. Other assertions made have related to lack of discipline, not enough religion, permissive parenting, etc.
These statements ignore the fact that the same cultural issues exist everywhere, yet gun violence does not. On the subject of bullying specifically, the idea that bullying leads to gun violence also fails to address the fact that some of the most bullied populations such as members of the LGBTQ community or the disabled don’t have a history of shooting up schools.
Suggesting we Give College Students Guns And Perpetuating The Good Guy With a Gun Myth
One of the strongest arguments of those against campus gun control is the idea that students allowed to carry guns on campus will be likely to act heroically. In reality, this concept is problematic. First, those who have extensive training in dealing with these situations often make error in their response. Considering that concealed carry training often consists of just a few hours of classroom training and a bit of fire range time, it is unlikely that the average student would be able to use a gun to create a positive outcome. This also ignores the fact that when first responders do arrive on scene when an active shooter is present, they have no way to discern good guy with gun and bad guy with gun.
Falsely Conflating Issues of Mental Illness And Gun Control on College Campuses
The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent. The idea that solving the mental illness crisis is key to fixing this epidemic is simply false. It also ignores that the pro gun lobby has actively worked to rollback gun ownership restrictions on the mentally ill.
Using Tone Policing to Attempt to Shut Down Debate
In their response to the recent student walkout against gun violence, and the remarks of gun control advocates, members of the media and politicians who are pro gun often chose to ignore issues in favor of tone policing. They focused on calling the walkout truancy and disrespectful. They focused on students’ use of strong language while ignoring the points being made. Tone policing is frequently used when those on one side of a debate wish to foster negative sentiments about those on the other side of the debate. Rather than responding to the merits of the points, they paint the other side as being irrationally angry, foul-mouthed, or disrespectful.
Promoting Gun Culture by Exploiting Toxic Masculinity
Don’t you want to be able to defend yourself? Gun control advocates want you to be a victim! Wouldn’t you want to save your friends or girlfriend if some crazy person open fire in your classroom? Young men in college are often at an age where they are extraordinarily susceptible to messaging about their masculinity, and where they are forming their own self identities. Those who are against campus gun control often seek to exploit that by pusing toxic ideas of masculinity to further their agendas.
Counter And Convince: How Students Against Gun Violence Can Advocate Successfully
So, how can a student advocate for better gun control measures on college campuses? The first step is to give reasoned people on the other side of the debate the respect of addressing their talking points. It is important to avoid constructing strawman arguments, or treating those who are wary about the impacts of gun control as backwards, red-necked, stereotypes. Just like labeling Emma Gonzales a ‘skinhead lesbian’ does nothing to help the pro gun lobby, neither does labeling and insulting the other side.
Next, it is imperative that people rigorously fact check statements that they make. One of the links above contains many falsehoods perpetrated by the pro gun lobby. However, it also mentions some falsehoods that are often used by those who are in favor of campus gun control. One of these is that there is a direct correlation between mass gun ownership and gun violence. This is not something that is demonstrably true. In fact, there countries such as Switzerland where for many gun ownership is compulsary. Yet, they do not have the same issues with gun violence that the United States does.
Conversely, the pro gun control movement often makes the mistake of giving opposing viewpoints credibility by debating them all as if they have equal merit. If some believes that guns should not be allowed on campus, that’s a bad decision to spend time debating someone making provably false assertions on social media. Instead, it ‘s better to invest time and energy in places where change can be made and on people who can be convinced to make those changes. For college students this could mean communicating with staff members, local politicians, and board members. It might also mean getting other students to pledge time volunteering to work towards the goal of making campuses a safer place.
Finally, it is so important to be able to highlight the benefits of gGun Conl on college campuses in ways that are relatable and easily digested. We live in a social media and soundbite world. Sometimes, the best way to persuade people to one side of a debate like this is to be brief and impactful. It may be distasteful to some, but sloganeering does have its place.
Gun Control Can Help to Set a Tone of Non Violence on Campus
Efforts to promote gun control on campus aren’t just an effective way to prevent gun violence. They can also help to address and mitigate the disturbing issue of campus related violence as a whole. This is extraordinarily important as school related violence takes so many forms, has the potential to impact so many people, and the official response to these incidents is often lackluster at best. Whether the issue is sexual assault, gun violence, domestic violence, hazing, or police brutality any steps taken to reduce the likelihood of or mitigate the damage from violence is absolutely key.
Recent tragedies have given birth to a movement that seems more likely to result in real gun reform on school campuses than ever before. However, to succeed, gun control advocates must understand the opposition, address them appropriately, and learn where to best spend their time and energy.