By Nick James
Sitting in class today, pondering all of the recent shootings, I suddenly was overcome with a feeling of defenselessness and insecurity. Looking around my university I realized how scarce our police force is, how our doors are open to the public and anyone that wanted to could easily walk into a 200 person lecture hall with any sort of weapon and take the lives of innocent students. The thing that scared me the most was not the lack of campus security, but the fact that absolutely no one in the classroom would be able to do anything to stop such a criminal. By the time the police came from across campus, bodies would be on the floor and the assassin long gone.
Why do I feel so defenseless? Because according to South Carolina state law I am not allowed to have a weapon near campus unless it is locked in my car in a transport case or in a glove box. That does a lot of good, knowing that my only chance to stop a shooter on my campus is a fifteen minute walk away. "Excuse me, Mr. Guy-with-a-gun, could you hold on a minute, let me go grab my personal weapon so I have a chance at self-defense?" If only it worked like that.
I personally feel that both students and faculty members of colleges should be allowed to carry their personal weapons on campus if they are responsible and law-abiding citizens. Why take away someone’s right to save the lives of others? Criminals will bring a weapon on campus regardless of the penalty, but a law-abiding student would be expelled and be brought up on criminal charges. This hardly seems logical.
The following heroic story didn’t even make a blip on the mainstream media’s radar. This is a shame, because it underscores the benefits of allowing citizens to use weapons for the safety of the general public. On Sunday December 16th, 2012, Jesus Manuel Garcia opened fire on movie theater patrons in San Antonio, Texas. Luckily for the movie goers, off-duty Sergeant Lisa Castellano was at the theater with her weapon. Four shots later, the would-be mass murder was incapacitated and soon placed under arrest. If it weren’t for the off-duty officer and her weapon, this man could have killed many people instead of just injuring one.
The above story is proof that firearms in the hands of the right people saves lives. Criminals show no respect for the law, they will always get their hands on guns no matter how many laws and executive orders are passed. I just wish my university and my state would give me a fighting chance if someone comes through the door in the wrong state of mind with a gun in hand.
Nick James is the Chairman of Clemson Young Americans for Freedom.