MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Books, exams and pistols?
That may soon be the case if some gun advocates get their way.
“I won’t say it is necessarily needed, but for some I can see how it may seem a good idea with all the mass shootings that have been happening in America on college campuses,” said Christian Brothers University Freshman Mirissa Anderson.
WREG found out in many places it’s already happening.
Bills have been introduced in several states to allow some form of concealed weapon on campus.
Some public universities have already opted to allow it.
“I personally don’t feel like it would be a good idea. Often people get heated on campus over issues like drama and stuff and they might make a bad decision with it,” said Daniel Rodman, a Christian Brothers University Sophomore.
Just this year, State Senator Brian Kelsey of Memphis introduced a bill in the Tennessee Legislature that allowed a person with a handgun permit to store a firearm and ammunition on school property.
It didn`t pass, but it may not be the last of the push.
It`s why many college leaders are taking a stand to keep their campuses gun free.
Memphis` Christian Brothers University was one of them.
CBU`s President, Dr. John Smarrelli, signed his name to The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
“I am not convinced that students at this point are ready to deal with some of the issues related to guns on campuses,” said Smarrelli.
He said weapons in the hands of young, sometimes immature and often quick to react, students could be a recipe for trouble.
“There is such close contact among students and students are many times struggling with issues that are beyond just academic issues and the stresses of college. To me it just seemed like another opportunity for problems on our campus,” he said.
He said the guns-on-campus approach misses the big issue of helping students deal with problems before they turn to violence and letting trained security handle the rest.
“We have a police force here to keep our campus safe. So those are the folks who are trained to carry weapons if we need to have a reaction to an unfortunate event” explained Smarrelli.
Supporters of Students for Concealed Carry said guns could provide self-defense after recent school shootings and sexual assaults on female students.
Convincing everyone of that may be easier said than done.
Tennessee State Representative Antonio Parkinson believed it’s a bad idea.
“I think that legislation like this could possibly bring regrets and have unintended consequences that we don’t want on our college campuses,” he said.
“Just like with transitioning into like adulthood, there is a lot of ups and downs that go with that. I really wouldn’t like kids carrying around guns,” says CBU Junior, Dallas Shepard.
“If it makes them feel more safe then I think it’s a good thing too, but there should be some sort of procedure for acquiring one. They never should get it too easily,” said Anderson.
States have placed restrictions on carrying concealed weapons on campus.
They required a potential carrier to be 21, take a training course and undergo a mental health check before getting a concealed license.
WREG learned there were even restrictions on how weapons could be carried and stored.
But now that several states have allowed guns on campus, and others, including Mississippi and Arkansas, have opted to let the school decide, this appears to be one gun fight that’s not going away anytime soon.