A Washington third grader takes a gun to school, and a classmate is critically wounded when it fires from his backpack.(1)
A college student kills his girlfriend and himself with a gun in a dorm room in Michigan.(2)
In Springfield, Oregon, a high school student murders his parents then embarks on a rampage at his school, killing two and wounding 22 others.(3)
We live in an era scarred by school shootings. But none of the guns used in these shootings were at school legally. So why does Oregon need a law banning guns from schools?
Existing School Gun Bans Are Under Attack
Most Oregon schools already ban guns and dangerous weapons—that’s why shootings are rare despite the enormous number of guns in this state. But a 2011 court decision overturned one ban and raised questions about the bans at other public schools in the state.(4) Gun advocates are urging activists to ignore school gun bans.(5) One school board has already decided to allow guns after being threatened with litigation.(6) A statewide law is needed to stop concealed handgun license (CHL) holders from bringing concealed guns into schools and college campuses. It is time for the Oregon legislature to enact that law.
Paper Doesn’t Stop Bullets
CHLs are easily obtained—over 152,000 people now have Oregon CHLs, and the number grows every month.(7) But a CHL is just a piece of paper; it won’t keep the gun out of the wrong hands or stop a bullet.
Guns in our schools create the risk that a child will gain access to a weapon. A CHL is no guarantee that a teacher
will remember to lock the drawer where she keeps her gun. A CHL doesn’t give an armed classroom visitor a
safe place to store his weapon. A CHL won’t keep a determined teen from grabbing a counselor’s weapon in an
Law enforcement officials know that in a school-shooting crisis, personal weapons increase the danger to everyone.
In a survey of over 400 campus police chiefs, 86% disagreed or strongly disagreed that “allowing students to carry
concealed weapons on campus would prevent some or all campus killings.”(8) CHLs don’t change that.
On a college campus, CHLs do not make student gun owners mature or immunize them against risky or
unlawful behavior. Gun-owning college students are more likely to binge drink, use cocaine or crack, or get into
trouble with the police.(9) Campus police administrators who studied campus violence concluded that permitting concealed weapons on college campuses would likely increase homicides, suicides, and reckless shooting incidents on campus.(10)
CHLs don’t prevent depression and anguish. In the close-knit and sometimes tempestuous lives of college
students, a gun in a friend’s backpack or roommate’s drawer can turn temporary turmoil into tragedy. College
students are at elevated risks for suicide, with 1,100 successful suicides and an additional 24,000 attempts every
year.(11) Suicide attempts are far more likely to succeed if a gun is used.(12) Keeping guns off campus gives students in crisis time to reconsider.(13)