Arizona State University, like any major research university, is a very special and very complex learning environment. In addition to more than 70,000 of our own college students, we have day care centers, elementary school programs and thousands of elementary school-aged visitors in a given week, as well as thousands of out-of-state teenagers and their parents visiting.
The bill (SB 1474) to permit guns on campus is a misguided attempt to increase school safety without a shred of evidence to support the assumption that schools are safer if students are armed. In fact, a study by the World Health Organization found that the very opposite is true.
I don't oppose gun ownership. Own all the guns you want, I would say to anyone. But please leave them in your car if you bring them to school, which is our present policy.
Our ASU police, the Phoenix SWAT, and all the other professional law enforcement chiefs we have talked to are opposed to this bill and say that it will reduce safety.
Can you imagine a crowded college lecture hall in which one student pulls a handgun and fires a shot, then a dozen more students untrained in the use of firearms and how to handle potentially deadly situations all pull out their guns? Innocent people would be caught in a deadly crossfire of panicked students firing in every direction. And what does the SWAT team do when it arrives? How do they know which of a dozen or more armed and possibly firing shooters is the bad guy? Or do they take out everyone with a gun?
There are places where guns are not conducive to public safety. Schools surely must be on that list.
• Michael M. Crow is the president of Arizona State University.