The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Colleges should offer personal and gun safety courses


By Natalie Yezbick

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that The Daily Campus editorial board agreed with opinions in this piece. This column solely reflects Natalie Yezbick’s opinion and not that of the editorial board. Editorial board pieces will be clearly marked as such and will be unsigned by any particular author. We regret any confusion this may have caused.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 7.41.43 PM.png

After shootings at multiple colleges and the threat of sexual assault being so prevalent that the White House has stepped in, America’s universities have learned that these incidents can’t be predicted or eliminated.

Many colleges have a personal fitness requirement, and schools should offer a personal and gun safety course to students as an option. Often the only defense a college student has against an individual bent on causing harm is to be ready to respond, whether that means with a plan or with a firearm.

Gun laws do not stop individuals who are intending to break them. The course would teach students how to protect themselves and others in an active shooter situation, thus those not in the course can benefit. The first half of the course would cover gun safety and include an active shooter simulation to teach students how to respond if unarmed.

Missouri, Tennessee, and New Jersey all require active shooter drills in schools. Colleges are often bigger and less controlled environments than high schools, so conducting these drills, if only for a small group of self-selected students, is imperative.

Not all gun safety courses require the handling of a firearm, but training should be available to students who choose to carry a gun on a campus where it is not prohibited. Twenty states ban guns at universities and twenty-three let the individual colleges decide, but campus carry bills are being considered by states like Florida and Texas.

The Virginia Tech shooter ran rampant through the university for nine minutes before police apprehended him. An armed student could have reduced that death toll. The argument that school shootings will rise if schools offer a gun safety course is null and void. People who want to use a gun to kill will do so whether or not they participate in such a course.

The second half of the course would cover personal safety with an unarmed attacker. One in four women will be assaulted during her time in college. Sexual assault is a nationwide problem not unique to any one school or gender. Students would learn to fend off attackers by using verbal and physical defense tactics.

With a course aimed at preparing students for both armed and unarmed attackers, colleges can make an impact on the horrifying sexual assault statistics that plague universities and help quell the rise of school shootings.

More to Discover