By SARAH E. WARD
It seems lately school shootings are becoming a regular story for media outlets, and the lingering question still remains: How can it be prevented? A new bill has been introduced in the Indiana General Assembly by Republican Senator Jim Banks which would allow students, faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons on public college campuses in Indiana.
Banks claims that the measure was not a result of the Newtown massacre or the more recent campus shootings, but because concerned college students are speaking out for their right to bear arms.
“Many female students who want to carry for their own protection, some of them have personal situations that they have told me about that cause them to take a very personal and emotional stance on this issue, it’s a matter of protecting themselves, and I take that very seriously,” Banks told USA Today.
If passed, the bill would force Indiana’s public universities to reverse certain policies and it would prevent them from banning firearms from most occasions. Crayle Vanest is a sophomore at IU Bloomington and the president of Students for Concealed Carry. She supports the bill.
“What we want is to have the same rights on campus, so universities no longer have the arbitrary power to tell us which rights we must sacrifice for an education, and our focus is on our rights to carry.”
Those opposed to the bill don’t seem too worried that it will pass anytime soon. A similar bill was introduced in 2012 but it failed before there was ever a hearing. In the same year 14 other states killed similar bills advocating the push to arm campuses. Surprisingly 23 states do not have a ban on carrying weapons on campuses, leaving that decision up to the individual universities.
IU South Bend Junior Danny Meyer does not side with Vanest.
“There are people who are mentally incapable of handling a gun in the proper way and that would be a really bad choice,” Meyer told WSBT.
The most recent bill being pushed by Banks does not seem to have a very different future as the last bill that died. The bill has been sent to the rules committee which is where precarious or doubtful legislation often dies before a hearing.
“The bill is currently in rules committee, which does not usually bode well. We are not incredibly optimistic that it will receive a serious hearing,” said Vanest.
Other states have followed Indiana with Arkansas, Kansa and Tennessee all filing similar measures. Whether the bill dies this time or not, there are sure to be more introduced in the future as the violence against innocent students continues to arise more and more frequently.