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COMMENTARY: The Chaos of Armed Students

By Zaghum Khalil

I am a freshman at William B. Travis High School in Fort Bend Independent School District and last November, a handgun was brought to my school by a student. The student was caught and arrested, but the incident has made me quite frightened of what could have happened. It also makes me wonder about my education setting in the future and how my sense of security would greatly be affected if guns were allowed on college campuses.

Guns can be the most powerful agents of malice if used incorrectly. They unnecessarily take the lives of thousands each year. In fact, according to the New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof, “More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history,” Despite this horrifying truth on Aug. 1, Texas law will be allowing concealed guns on college campuses to those who have obtained a license. This will not at all stop or reduce the number of deaths per year. Very possibly this will increase that number and turn the once safe college campus into an unsafe environment.  Just this past October, 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, a state which already allows guns on campus. Texas is putting its college students and faculty at a similar risk by passing this law. This may affect where I go to college to ensure my own safety rather than get the education in the place where I had originally desired.

The year 2016 has only just begun and according to The Gun Violence Archive, there are already over 3,000 incidents with over 750 recorded deaths in the US. This data is less than a month after the New Year. Just imagine how many unnecessary deaths will have occurred if this violence continues on at this rate throughout the rest of the year. Firearm related deaths in 2015 were about 13,000. US should follow the example of countries, like Australia, where firearms were banned for everyone in 1996. As a result, the gun related deaths dropped from 675 in 1988 to 226 in 2012. If the US can’t ban guns entirely, then lawmakers should at least set an age limit of 25 years old because neuroscience suggests that it is the approximate age the brain is fully developed. This,along with mental health history and criminal background checks should help ensure that guns are in the ownership of responsible people.

U.S. President Barack Obama believes that “guns are our shared responsibility” and that the people who sell guns should do detailed background checks “expanding access to mental health treatment and improving gun safety technology.” I agree with these statements because guns are everyone’s responsibility whether you are the one selling the gun, the one buying the gun, or even a bystander. The background checks will also do good to make sure that the weapons don’t fall into the hands of people who will misuse them.

Violence is already prevalent on college campuses. Some shootings occur accidentally while others happen on purpose. Regardless of the reason, think about what would happen if  weapons were removed from the scene entirely? We already have so much gun violence in this country, so the goal of our nation’s lawmakers should be geared towards preventing the future generations of students on college campuses from this infamous legacy. The violence has even spread to elementary schools such as Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. If people are brutally shooting down little kids, then why is it even slightly logical to put guns in an environment where even the students are capable of using a firearm. This could make shootings even more chaotic than they already are, and we should be working as hard as possible to make sure something like this doesn’t occur rather than endanger the lives of millions.

Guns should be banned from college campuses, if not the entire nation. This action will be the first of many steps to make the college campus a “safe haven” for the peace loving students.

I also request my peers to implement peaceful tools of conflict resolution on school and college grounds. Guns are not the solution to our nation’s problems, in fact they are the problem.

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