In a recent guest commentary in the Ahwatukee Foothills News (“Guns on campus bill is misguided attempt to increase school safety,” Feb. 7), Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow stated that it is a bad idea for students on the ASU campus to be able to carry a firearm for self-defense, and hence he is in opposition to SB 1474.
The scenario Crow put forth stated that a student would discharge a firearm in a classroom and other students would start shooting at this person and when the police would show up, they would not be able to distinguish a bad guy from a good guy. A similar argument was used in opposition to allow concealed-carry in Arizona. To date, we have not seen any evidence that Crow’s argument is valid. There has been no shoot out due to what Crow refers to as an untrained person reacting to a hostile event.
In Crow’s scenario, law abiding students would not carry a firearm on ASU campus, however, a crazy person (who always has access to firearms and has a total disregard for any law) could start shooting and killing people on the ASU campus without opposition. The average response time for the police in the Valley is close to five minutes (for the SWAT team the response time is more). How many shots can a person fire in five minutes? How many lives would be lost? Many.
Allowing students to have the option to carry firearms on campus would give the public the illusion that most people on a campus would have a firearm or access to one; hence the probability is slim that a person would go on a shooting spree on campus knowing that they would be shot instantly due to all the armed citizens nearby.
In Norway, which has one of the most strict gun laws in the world, on July 22, 2011, a crazy person bombed the government buildings in Oslo (capital of Norway), which resulted in eight deaths. He then carried out a mass shooting at a camp on the island of Utøya. This person went unopposed around the island for 44 minutes shooting and killing 69 people, mostly students.
Would this have happened if some of the students on this island had access to a firearm or if the deranged person had known that there would be armed citizens on the island? Some may still have died, but not 69 people.
Crow cannot guarantee the safety of all the students attending ASU. To have a safe environment, history shows us that citizens must take responsibility for their own safety. I urge Crow to rethink his position and allow students to protect themselves if they choose to do so.