Advocates push guns as tactic to fight rape on campus

The article written by Alan Schwarz presents an ambivalent view on a extremely heated topic of discussion : should arms be allowed on college campuses... While 41 states have banned the carrying of concealed firearms on campus by law, some advocates feel that lifting this ban could curb the growing rate of sexual assault. However, others feel this could also be a threat due to the increasing rates of alcohol consumption by college students, making students a lot more reckless. 

Read an excerpt of the article written by ALAN SCHWARZ:

As gun rights advocates push to legalize firearms on college campuses, an argument is taking shape: Arming female students will help reduce sexual assaults. Support for so-called campus-carry laws had been hard to muster despite efforts by proponents to argue that armed students and faculty members could prevent mass shootings like the one at Virginia Tech in 2007. The carrying of concealed firearms on college campuses is banned in 41 states by law or by university policy. Carrying guns openly is generally not permitted. But this year, lawmakers in 10 states who are pushing bills that would permit the carrying of firearms on campus are hoping that the national spotlight on sexual assault will help them win passage of their measures. ‘‘If you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible,’’ State Representative Dennis K. Baxley of Florida said during debate in a House subcommittee last month. The bill passed. The sponsor of a bill in Nevada, Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, said in a telephone interview: ‘‘If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.’’ In addition to those in Florida and Nevada, bills that would allow guns on campus have been introduced in Indiana, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. Opponents say that university campuses should remain havens from the gun-related risks that exist elsewhere, and that college students, with high rates of binge drinking and other recklessness, would be particularly prone to gun accidents. And some experts in sexual assault said that college women were typically assaulted by someone they knew, sometimes a friend, so even if they had access to their gun, they would rarely be tempted to use it. ‘‘It reflects a misunderstanding of sexual assaults in general,’’ said John D. Foubert, an Oklahoma State University professor and national president of One in Four, which provides educational programs on sexual assault to college campuses. ‘‘If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun. Maybe if it’s someone who raped you before and is coming back, it theoretically could help them feel more secure.’’ Other objectors to the bills say that advocates of the campus-carry laws, predominantly Republicans with well-established pro-gun stances, are merely exploiting a hot-button issue. ‘‘The gun lobby has seized on this tactic, this subject of sexual assault,’’ said Andy Pelosi, the executive director of the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus. ‘‘It resonates with lawmakers.’’ Colorado, Wisconsin and seven other states allow people with legal carry permits to take concealed firearms to campus, some with restrictions. Many of those states once had bans but lifted them in recently, suggesting some momentum for efforts in 2015. ...read more