School shootings are not new in today’s society. When hearing the word “shooting,” many think Sandy Hook, Kent State, Virginia Tech or Columbine.
Most recently on Oct. 1, a 14-year-old boy was charged with the murder of a six-year-old boy and three counts of attempted murder after being suspected of killing his father.
The boy was accused of killing his father before “shooting and injuring children and a teacher at a school playground” on Sept. 25 in Townville, SC, according to CNN.
On Sept. 25, one person was killed and six were injured after two related shootings at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
These are just two examples of instances of school shootings. So how do students feel on our campus here at Keene State College?
In a casual, random interview of 10 KSC students, 100 percent said they do not fear for their safety on campus.
However, six out of ten students said they do fear for their safety off campus.
Only one student surveyed was aware that there have been 197 school shootings since 2013.
When asked how they feel about campus safety carrying guns on campus, 60 percent of students said they would be afraid that someone could get access to those guns.
According to Armed Campuses, five states in the United States allow concealed guns.
Those states include Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Texas and Tennessee.
Armed Campuses states, “The new Texas law permits individuals who have obtained a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry their loaded, concealed weapon in college and university buildings.”
“Each college and university may determine certain sensitive areas and buildings where concealed weapons will continue to be prohibited. Each college and university must publically display campus policies on the official school website, as well as widely publicizing it among correspondence with the institution’s faculty, staff and students,” according to Armed Campuses.
The Texas gun law was effective as of August 2016 for all state four-year colleges and universities. In August 2017, this law will go into effect for all two-year colleges and universities and junior colleges in Texas.
In New Hampshire schools decide their own weapons policies, as do all states in New England except for Massachusetts. There, concealed guns on-campus are prohibited by law, according to Armed Campuses.
Handgunlaw.us states that Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Vermont and West Virginia have “permitless carry,” meaning that anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed.
At the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Champaign Police said the first shooting started as an argument during a party inside an apartment that later spilled onto the street.
A fight broke out and shots were fired.
CNN reported that police said four people not involved in the fight were injured.
They were all taken to the hospital and one victim, George Korchev, later died from his injuries.
CNN said Korchev was simply walking by the area when he was shot and killed.
The second shooting was reported in an area with many restaurants and shops, similar to downtown Keene.
Not all students are afraid of guns on campus.
Thirty percent of students said they would feel safer if Campus Safety officers carried guns on campus, and one student said they would be more afraid than before.
As for why students think there have been so many school shootings in the last three years, one student said they think it’s because of “easy access to guns.”
A KSC student said, “I think it’s a matter of once a few people do it and people see it on the news, they think it’s a good idea.”
Another student wrote, “It’s so easy for anyone to get access to one or more guns and then they feel powerful or invincible.”
The majority of students, at least those surveyed in this situation, feel comfortable and safe on our campus and feel confident in Campus Safety.
Rachel Vitello can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at email@example.com