Did you know Tennessee law allows full-time employees of public universities to carry a concealed weapon on campus? Not very many people do and that is unfortunate.
That means that when you walk into your biology or political science class here at TSU, your professor could be packing. For some, this is a reasonable measure. This group of people believe that a person’s second amendment right should not be infringed upon when they come onto campus grounds.
For others, the idea of their professors and cafeteria staff being in possession of a concealed firearm makes them uncomfortable. This group of people understand that tensions often rise in a collegiate environment, which can sometimes lead to harmful repercussions.
Still, what many on both sides of the debate believe makes all the difference is the fact that faculty and staff members are allowed to carry _ not students. However, there is speculation that that may soon change.
In anticipation of such legislation arising, Randy Byington, president of the Faculty Senate at East Tennessee State University, said that, “While we have the highest regard for the Second Amendment rights of all individuals, we are all aware that there are many conversations surrounding academic performance, disciplinary actions, financial aid status and other issues that can become intense and potentially volatile.”
However, perhaps even of more concern, is the genuine possibility of an increase in self-inflicted injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 34.
Furthermore, it is estimated that a suicide takes place once every 13 minutes. This means that putting guns in the hands of students, many of whom are susceptible to feeling overwhelmed and/or irrational, is not the safest of bets.
Unfortunately, there are not only purposeful self-inflicted injuries, but accidental as well. This is made evident by the recent case at Kansas State University in which a 19-year-old male accidentally shot himself in his dorm.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, now is the time to speak up. Write, call or email Tennessee senators and congressman and allow your voice to be heard!