The Missouri House of Representatives has passed House Bill 258 which allows concealed carry of firearms on campus for faculty. Sponsor of the bill Rep. Jered Taylor (R-Mo.) is adding an amendment to it which would allow students the same rights, stating it’s for their safety.
This seems more like a meager attempt at furthering the reach of the Second Amendment than it does for the protection of students about to be sexually assaulted. Taylor is using the success of the approved bill pertaining to faculty to pass this amendment.
The number of reported forcible sex offenses increased by 11% between 2015 and 2016 from 8,000 to 8,900, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
While the numbers are staggering, it is important to remember the data is only for reported crimes. This means the increase could either reflect an actual increase in forcible sex crimes or an increase in the number of people who actually reported the crime when it occurred.
The social climate has changed, especially toward victims. With movements like #MeToo, people are better educated and can recognize the signs of an unsafe environment while also allowing victims a platform for their voices to be heard.
Sexual assaults are more common on college campuses due to the use of alcohol, drugs, peer pressure and the ability to report the crime, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
Seven out of 10 sexual assault cases are committed by someone the victim knows, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. One out of three women will experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to the National Organization for Women New York City.
The crime isn’t typically between strangers where a person’s guard is up. The usual case revolves around those where the victim is unwilling to report, much less fight their partner. That emotional connection plays more of a factor into whether or not the victims would be able to injure or kill the person assaulting them.
In a study conducted by California State University, more than 80% of women did not feel safer on campus with concealed weapons, did not want qualified individuals to be able to carry a gun on campus, and did not think guns would endorse or maintain a greater sense of campus safety.
Even if this amendment for students passes, it also allows the same rights to sexual assaulters on campus. It does not discriminate.
It’s simply naïve to believe victims would be the only ones benefiting from being allowed to carry a gun. If it were to pass, it could possibly aid the sexual assaulter against unsuspecting students who can’t afford or don’t want to carry weapons.
Instead of trying to justify college students having concealed weapons, consider taking Deb Lavendar’s (D-Mo.) advice from the debate about teaching boys to stop assaulting women.