Letter to the editor

Why guns on campus is not the best option, and why supporters of open-carry are wrong

| 11/17/14 4:17am

Due to the recent series of events that have been reported by students who have been subject to the negative actions of criminals, there has been much progress in ensuring the safety of all students, faculty and staff by GVPD, Student Senate and student-run organizations on campus. The reporting itself, however, has led many to believe that not only has GVPD dropped the ball in regard to crime, but Student Senators, like myself, support the negative actions of criminals by advocating for a continued ban on guns on campus. This is completely false.

Although I am not able to speak on the behalf of Student Senate as a whole, I as a Student Senator will not stand to be terrorized by thugs who invade the peaceful environment students like me enjoy; nor will I sit back and allow my fellow students or myself to be subject to any actions and/or policies that force us to simply “deal with” criminal acts committed on campus. Whether it’s sexual assault or robberies, Student Senators like me have teamed up with every possible resource to combat these acts of violence.

In my personal opinion however, openly carried weapons do not produce the kind of peaceful environment we all seek to inhabit. To use this argument in this discussion is laughable. Adding violence to violence does not rid of violence, it simply perpetuates it. Since our nation's gun laws do little to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, people with mental disabilities and citizens with no professional training, this only opens the door for more violence to occur. An iPhone in one hand and a gun in the other only creates an environment where there is a potential of more bullets traveling through the halls of Kirkhof or through the windows of the Recreation Center.

Instead, I want to focus our attention on punishing the perpetrators of sexual assault with tougher sanctions, as they don’t just destroy the stability of the environment, but they destroy the lives of the people they abuse. I want the criminals who seek to hold students, faculty or staff in fear to be held to the fullest extent of the law, something I’m calling on GVPD to ensure. At the same time, would-be victims should have the opportunity to defend themselves using force that is not excessive, that of which may cause innocent bystanders harm, or send our campus into mass hysteria.

By focusing our attention on any other matter, we leave our students to be sexually assaulted and vulnerable to the same thugs we speak out against. Furthermore, dividing the student body on this issue is not only ignorant and oppressive, but it contradicts the solidarity we seek to achieve in order to combat crimes on campus. Crimes on campus have not increased, simply the method of reporting them has. Why dissuade students from reporting these crimes by marginalizing them and diving our body by political ideology?

Senators like myself have too much work to do advocating for the victim/survivors of crimes like sexual assault and robberies. I invite my classmates and fellow Senators to join at any time.

Sincerely,

Lawrence Williams

GVSU Student Senator

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