Guns On College Campuses Tamper With Students' Learning Experience

Guns On College Campuses Tamper With Students' Learning Experience

Would you feel safe if your university allowed students to carry guns on campus?

Would you feel safe if your university allowed students to carry guns on campus? Last year for my composition class, I researched whether allowing guns on college campuses affects students' learning experience in depth all semester long. That being said, this is a subject over which I have developed a strong opinion. I currently attend Tulsa Community College, and I'm looking to transfer to a university to further my education next fall. And personally, I know that if a university allowed students to carry firearms, it would affect my decision on whether or not I would attend. I know that enforcing gun regulations is a sensitive topic of discussion that is surrounded by much controversy, and I'm fully aware that not everyone will agree with my perspective. However, as a current college student, I feel it's necessary to shed some light on this topic and place emphasis on the consequences that could follow.

Discussing whether or not allowing students to carry guns on campus inhibits students’ and professors’ freedom of speech is a controversial topic. Many people believe that students should be allowed to carry guns on campus because the right is given to them under the Second Amendment. However, others argue that guns limit students’ First Amendment rights and all-around learning experience. According to this view, concealed weapons can cause professors to censor their material and students to feel they cannot express their feelings about controversial issues. Allowing guns on college campuses is tampering with students’ all around learning experience and limiting their First Amendment rights.

Students should not be afraid to express their thoughts and opinions on controversial issues in the classroom. College is the ultimate learning experience. But Jennifer Sinor, author of “Guns on Campus Have Already Curtailed Free Speech”, is right when she states that students who attend universities that allow concealed weapons on campus “could easily be receiving a less challenging, less provocative, and less varied experience” (2). If students attend a college that allows guns on campus, they might fear challenging another person’s viewpoint on a subject in the classroom. The classroom is a safe place to learn from and listen to others perspectives on issues. Bringing guns into an academic setting makes it feel unsafe, and students may find it more intimidating to express their thoughts and opinions, especially if their view differs from the majority. You never know what is going to set someone off; and if that person has a gun in his or her pocket, or backpack, it could result in a deadly situation.

Allowing concealed weapons on campus also causes professors to feel unsafe teaching controversial course material. Sinor states in her article that administrators tend to “censor themselves” in “less visible” ways (2). Professors who teach at universities that allow students to carry guns on campus tend to omit course material that they feel could offend or upset any student. This omission of course material lessens the variation of topics that professors feel comfortable teaching students, and as a result hinders students’ learning experience. Class discussions over controversial issues are excellent learning experiences for students. Debating over controversial issues can help students learn to form their own opinions on these topics, and can help them take away new knowledge from perspectives of their peers. These experiences also prepare students for real world situations by helping them learn to become better listeners, even when they don't agree with the perspectives of their peers, and teach them how to react accordingly.

A major struggle colleges are facing is how to keep their campuses safe without infringing on students’ rights. According to the article “Could It Happen Here?” written by Jaclyn Schildkraut, after Columbine, many people were pushing for stronger safety regulations in schools (96). If campuses are going to continue allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus, many advocate that the schools need to expand safety measures to protect students in worst-case scenario situations. For example, many argue that armed security should be present on college campuses to expand student safety. Although this may be true, I believe a better solution to keeping universities across the United States safe is by forbidding students to carry guns on campus grounds.

Though I concede that people have the right to bear arms, I still maintain that guns could be an enormous safety hazard on college campuses. Although some might object that school shootings could occur whether a rule against guns on campus existed or not, I would reply that a good start to preventing these occurrences in the future is to implement a rule forbidding the carry of concealed weapons on college campuses. Students should never fear for their life while they are in an academic setting. School shootings have almost become a common occurrence in today’s society, and I wholeheartedly believe that if stronger gun regulations were in place that the chances of these events happening would be significantly lower. School shootings are not covered in the media as much as they should be, and America needs to see this is a “national concern” (Sinor 2). This is a point that needs emphasizing since so many people seem to believe that allowing students to carry guns on campus is a good idea. Ultimately, what is at stake here is the safety of college students all across the United States.

In my own view, the possible consequences of allowing concealed weapons on college campuses outweigh any benefits. Allowing students to carry guns on campus gives them the power to control anything they do not agree with by making a single threat. At first glance, people might say that students have the right under the Second Amendment to carry concealed weapons. But on closer inspection I believe that they would realize guns would cause more harm than good in an academic setting. Guns cause students to feel unsafe sharing their thoughts and opinions over disputable issues, and cause professors to feel unsafe teaching controversial course material. Allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus and in classrooms hinders the all around learning experience that college provides students with. While it is true that legally students do have the right to bear arms, it does not necessarily follow that guns are safe and acceptable to carry on college campuses.

Outside sources:

Schildkraut, Jaclyn, H. Jaymi Elsass, and Mark C. Stafford. "Could It Happen Here? Moral Panic, School Shootings, and Fear of Crime among College Students." Crime, Law and Social Change: An Interdisciplinary Journal 63.1-2 (2015): 91-110. Print.

Sinor, Jennifer. “Guns on Campus Have Already Curtailed Free Speech.” Chronicle of Higher Education 61.10 (2014): 2. Academic Search Premier. Web. 22 July 2015.

Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.


To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.


The nursing student with just one year left.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To The High School Graduating Seniors

I know you're ready, but be ready.



I am not going to say anything about senioritis because I was ready to get out of there and I'm sure you are too; however, in your last months living at home you should take advantage of the luxuries you will not have in a college dorm. The part of college seen in movies is great, the rest of it is incredibly inconvenient. It is better to come to terms with this While you still have plenty of time to prepare and enjoy yourself.

Perhaps one of the most annoying examples is the shower. Enjoy your hot, barefoot showers now because soon enough you will have no water pressure and a drain clogged with other people's hair. Enjoy touching your feet to the floor in the shower and the bathroom because though it seems weird, it's a small thing taken away from you in college when you have to wear shoes everywhere.

Enjoy your last summer with your friends. After this summer, any free time you take is a sacrifice. For example, if you want to go home for the summer after your freshman year and be with your friends, you have to sacrifice an internship. If you sacrifice an internship, you risk falling behind on your resume, and so on. I'm not saying you can't do that, but it is not an easy choice anymore.

Get organized. If you're like me you probably got good grades in high school by relying on your own mind. You think I can remember what I have to do for tomorrow. In college, it is much more difficult to live by memory. There are classes that only meet once or twice a week and meeting and appointments in between that are impossible to mentally keep straight. If you do not yet have an organizational system that works for you, get one.

I do not mean to sound pessimistic about school. College is great and you will meet a lot of people and make a lot of memories that will stick with you for most of your life. I'm just saying be ready.

-A freshman drowning in work

Related Content

Facebook Comments