Guns do not belong on campus. I say that as someone who is not against the concept of owning a firearm. I say that as a woman who owns a pistol and as someone who takes advantage of my right to carry a concealed firearm nearly every day.
I am no stranger to feeling uncomfortable or vulnerable in a public place. Because of this, I feel that carrying a gun in my purse is an equalizer. Although I hope to never use it, having it makes me feel more comfortable in situations where I am alone and would normally feel somewhat helpless. I shouldn’t have to feel this way, but I do, and carrying a firearm gives me confidence.
However, I don’t feel this way on my campus. I don’t feel scared or at risk when I am walking from class to class; I don’t feel I need a gun within arm’s reach as I’m studying in the library or in the Student Center.
I especially do not feel endangered when I see Marshall University police officers patrolling the campus 24/7. Huntington’s police presence is also extremely evident on Marshall’s campus. The city employs nearly 100 police officers, which is statistically above average for our population.
I already feel protected on Marshall’s campus. I’m sure I would feel the same way at West Virginia University or any other institution in the state. My tuition and tax dollars pay for my protection at school. I do not need protection from my fellow students and professors when there are those who are trained and qualified already within reach.
The state of West Virginia need not give the rest of the country any more reasons to look down upon us. I love my state; its beauty and the kindness of its residents still surprises me each day, even after living here for 21 years. But after recent events from those in the state government, I am tired of defending my home. I am against the campus carry bill. I do not want ‘school shooting’ added to the list of questionable incidents that have occurred here.
Firearms do not, and will never, have any place on campuses in West Virginia, including Marshall University. This legislation is being forced upon us by lawmakers who can’t quite seem to understand; not everyone who denounces HB 2519 is someone who wants to rid the country of its Second Amendment right. I don’t consider myself a Democrat or a conservative, I’m just thinking logically. For me, politics have nothing to do with the campus carry bill. Many of us are simply concerned that we will lose the safety we presently have on campus.
Guns do not belong here. Guns do not belong at Marshall University. I value my Second Amendment right, but I do not feel as if it is being stripped by continuing to follow a campus gun restriction. Please, put aside your politics and start listening. Listen to what those on this campus want. Listen to President Jerry Gilbert. Similar to myself, Gilbert has been around guns his whole life; he has not denounced firearms, only the concept of allowing them on our campus. Listen to our students. Listen to our staff. Start serving the citizens who elected you and start making us proud of our beautiful Mountain State once more.
Hanna Pennington can be contacted at [email protected]