BY DONOVAN MACK
Gun control and ownership in America has become a very polarizing topic in recent years due to the increase in mass shootings, specifically on school campuses.
President Trump, who enthusiastically supports the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment, has only increased this divide since being elected into office.
There have been 23 school shootings since the beginning of 2018, according to a CNN study, and parents are concerned about the safety of their children after sending them to school.
In response to the possible threat of more school shootings in the current 2018-2019 school year, Trump proposed arming teachers with guns and training them to “immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions.”
This sparked a huge debate among Americans, whose opinions range from getting rid of guns altogether to stronger background checks for those purchasing guns to upholding their constitutional right to carry guns as they choose.
Although this debate doesn’t often discuss guns on college campuses specifically, it begs the question whether or not Salisbury University students, professors or staff should be able to carry guns while on campus.
Maryland is primary labeled as a liberal or “blue” state, but here on the Eastern Shore, it is not rare to see more conservative beliefs expressed like “Make America Great Again” hats or huge American or Confederate flags.
In this polarizing time, Salisbury University continues to celebrate its diverse student population and understands that everyone is entitled to their own political beliefs.
Maya Hicks-Smith, psychology major and senior at SU, believes that guns should not be tolerated on any college campus, despite her police officer father educating her on guns at a young age.
“As someone that grew up around guns, I know the good and the bad about them,” Hicks-Smith said. “When my father first became a police officer, he let us touch it and he broke down the gun in front of us so that we wouldn’t be afraid of it and so that we knew why it was in the house.”
Hicks-Smith also mentioned that authority figures should use guns in moderation.
On the other hand, many students support their right to have a gun for protection and self-defense off campus.
Parker DeWitt, junior, supports the Second Amendment and believes that stricter gun laws will not fix America’s gun issue.
“On a college campus, only police officers need firearms,” said DeWitt. “However, off the school’s property, individuals should be allowed to utilize their constitutional right.”
Off campus, students are legally allowed to possess and carry a gun if they have the correct permits, but they are not allowed to bring them on campus.
In 2017, Campus Safety magazine reported that there are currently 12 states that allow university students to have permitted concealed guns on their campuses. They include: Ark., Colo., Ga., Idaho, Kan., Minn., Miss., Ore., Texas, Tenn., Utah and Wis.
An exception to this law is that some states give the responsibility to colleges and universities to decide if concealed permitted guns are allowed on their prospective campuses. This list contains 22 states, including Maryland.
The University System of Maryland (USM) bans concealed permitted weapons such as guns from all their campuses. Salisbury University is a part of the USM and therefore bans them as well.
Debates concerning gun control continue to rage on, but one must not forget Kent State in 1970. Columbine in 1999. Virginia Tech in 2007. Sandy Hook in 2012. And Parkland in 2018.
Many lives were taken those days due to guns being brought onto school campuses, and we should do everything in our power to prevent a tragedy from happening at Salisbury University.