On the morning of April 16th, 2007, one of the most tragic and terrible attacks accord on the Virginia Tech campus. Seung-Hui Cho brutally murdered 32 innocent people and in the end died by a self inflicted gunshot wound. This attack happened in two stages. The first attack occurred in a residence hall near his own dorm room. Cho was able to flee the scene before law enforcement arrived. The second attack occurred a short time after in the part of the school that held the Engineering and Mechanics departments. This attack showed the world both extremes of the human character. Apart From the cowardly actions of Cho, we saw great acts of bravery and sacrifices in the actions by many of his victims. Following this massacre, a group of students and faculty formed a group that would soon grow to cover the country. They formed Students for Concealed Carry, which is a national organization that campaigns and fights for the right to defend ourselves on college campuses. Student for Concealed Carry has grown to have more than 43,000 members and a presence in all fifty states. Last month, the University of Las Vegas Nevada (UNLV) became the first University in Nevada to start a chapter of Students for Concealed Carry (UNLVSCC). Our goal at UNLVSCC is to help educate the public and those at UNLV about proper firearms safety and eventually change the law that forbids firearms on college campuses. The good news is that we are not alone in this fight. In the short time that we have been up and running, UNLVSCC has been working closely with politicians from both political parties to move this cause forward. In 2011, then state senator John Lee (D), sponsored a bill in the State Senate that would allow for students to carry on college campuses. John Lee argued on the floor that “gun-free zones actually created “defenseless-victim zones”. For those that seek to rape and murder, a gun-free zone truly means that it is unlikely that the attacker will meet much resistance from their victims. That bill was passed by the Senate but was killed in the State Assembly. First term assembly woman Michele Fiore ® sponsored a similar bill in 2013. She claimed that her bill would allow those that have obtained a legal concealed firearms permit to carry their firearms on campus. She continued “We have to be responsible for our own safety, and that means removing the target painted on “gun-free zones”. Assembly women Fiore is leading the fight for concealed carry on college campuses. She, along with others, are planning to submit another bill in the upcoming legislative session.
Those that formed Students for Concealed Carry felt that if the students and faculty were no forbidden, by law from having their legal firearms on the Virginia Tech campus, maybe this attack wouldn’t have occurred or at least the loss of life would not have been so great. The law virtually insured that only one person would have firearms in those class rooms, and it wasn’t anyone that was intending to follow the law. For someone that has made the determination to murder, rape and terrorize, the threat of a gross misdemeanor and a weapons charge, will do nothing to stop them from committing these heinous crimes. However for those law abiding citizens, the law guaranties that the class is unable to defend themselves. Many students and faculty heroically died while trying to barricade the doors into the class rooms, giving others the time needed to jump out of the windows. However their sacrifices should not have been needed. Without the ability to properly defend ourselves, we are dependent on others to ensure our security. Most college campuses have law enforcement officers on staff. This is able to deter some crime but is not truly effective alone. A handful of police officers are not able to be in every class room or building at once. Nor are law enforcement officers required by law to risk their lives to save citizens. In the famous Warren V. DC case the District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled in that the police have no duty to protect any citizen not in custody. Most police officers will willingly run into danger. They are heroes but it is important to understand that they legally are not required to risk their lives.
Moreover, according to the FBI, the average response time to these active shooter events is three minutes, which is an extremely fast response time for law enforcement. Imagine you are in a class room and you hear gun shots go off in the hall. You try to barricade the door but the shooter is forcing the door open. When every second counts, is a three minute response time fast enough? In the same study done by the FBI half of all active shooter events are finished by the time law enforcement arrives. That means half the time the attackers were stopped by their victims, commits suicide or fled before law enforcement arrives. In these active shooter events, the victims are face to face with their attacker and help did not always make it in time. While active shooters events are very rare and are not likely to occur at your local campus, other horrible acts occur daily in every city and community. The need for concealed firearms on campus is not only for active shooter events, but is needed for everyday protection against rapists and murders. Michele Fiore explained “I’m the mother of two girls who attend the College of Southern Nevada, and every time I hear about another college rape, assault or robbery, I feel more firmly that no one should be required to take their safety for granted” This is why we should fight for our right to defend ourselves on and off of campus.
If you would like to get involved you can contact us by email our through our Facebook page.