Opinion | The University of Iowa needs to stay a gun-free campus

The UI should stay a gun-free zone despite lifting gun restrictions.


Mary Mathis

The prominant Hunting section of Scheels in Iowa City displays their firearms on Feb. 7, 2016. Hundreds of guns sit on the second floor of the All Sports store in the Coral Ridge Mall located in Corallville, Iowa.

Josie Taylor, Opinions Contributor

Iowa is lifting gun restrictions across the state, but it is important that gun limitations stay enforced on the University of Iowa campus.

Currently, the UI is a gun-free campus. For the safety of all students and staff it should stay this way.

In an email to The Daily Iowan, UI Public Safety spokesperson Hayley Bruce wrote the UI’s gun rules would be determined by the state Board of Regents. In a separate email, regents’ spokesperson Josh Lehman said the regens don’t anticipate changes being made to those gun rules.

Universities, especially the UI, are extremely crowded. Places like residence halls have hundreds of young adults living in tight living situations. Someone with a gun would have access to so many victims before any police would have the ability to make it there to stop them.

The thought of guns being used in a residence hall is terrifying. Students deserve to go to sleep without fear of their neighbor or roommate hurting someone.

Some on-campus locations, such as fraternity houses, are known for excessive alcohol use. These same locations already have a history of violence, specifically hazing that has led to death and sexual violence. Adding weapons to an already chaotic environment seems like a dangerous idea.

A common argument for guns on campus is an idea that it will help victims of sexual assault to have a weapon since sexual assault is rampant on college campuses. This thought process ignores that perpetrators will also have access to guns.

Research done on universities that allow guns on campus shows that sexual assault cases increased after guns started being allowed, not vice versa.

Already, about 26.4 percent of women experience sexual assault while they are attending a college or university. We should be doing everything we can to lower that percentage, not raise it.

It is almost important to keep mental health in mind when talking about gun ownership. Not only could students hurt others, but they could hurt themselves.

Suicide is already the second leading cause of death among college students, and handgun ownership is associated with higher suicide rates. Why should we allow for easier access to something that is associated with higher suicide risks, when it is already an issue on college campuses?

If we want students to be as safe as possible, making sure guns are not brought to campus is one of the best things we can do.

Another argument for lifting any laws is that it is considering what the founding fathers wanted when they wrote the Second Amendment. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson both believed that guns had no place on a college campus, and we should consider taking advice from the founding fathers on such serious issues.

If guns make campuses less safe, I see no reason why guns should ever be allowed on the UI’s campus.

Although the UI has not put out any statements on changing gun restrictions on campus, they need to keep all the research in mind if they do. Students deserve a safe living and learning environment.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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