by Savannah Plaisted ’21
The question of constitutional rights to gun ownership and how to apply them properly within public settings has been coming into question more and more in the United States given the number of mass shootings in recent years.
With that, schools need to take into account how to make students feel the most safe in their places of learning. Many schools are doing so with more security (sometimes armed security), bulletproof glass, and various other means.
The problem with arming guards is that it can sometimes have the opposite of the intended effect on students. Many students state that they actually feel less safe with armed guards on school grounds, as guns themselves make them feel more on edge.
After interviewing various students here at Providence College, it was interesting to see how oftentimes party affiliation had nothing to do with students’ attitudes on arming guards.
“I’m a registered Republican. I do not think I would feel safer if the security on PC’s campus had guns and the reason is I just don’t think it’s necessary—I don’t think it would solve anything more than if they didn’t have them,” says Connor Christuk ’21.
Christuk brings up an interesting point, as there have, of course, been instances in which guards have been able to stop or at the very least slow down shooters; however, they do not have a 100 percent success rate.
In the instance of the Parkland shooting, the school had a resource officer that was armed, and he left the scene and failed to go after the shooter, an action for which he has since resigned.
In the case of PC, the campus is in very close proximity to the police station, thus police have the ability to be on campus very quickly in the case of an emergency.
“I would not feel safer on campus if we had armed guards. I don’t think that guns make people feel safer…in psychology it was found that just having a gun present in a room made people feel more violent and aggressive,” said Madison Gilmore ’21.
It is necessary that students are comfortable in their learning environment since much of the information students are learning about is what will prepare them for their future careers. By even having an armed guard present, it can be hard to be comfortable given that their very presence implies that there is a threat.
There are of course some people that do see the benefits of armed guards outweighing the negatives, as Jack Sherlock ’20 explains.
He said, “I am a registered Republican, and I definitely would feel safer. [At] the place I went to school in Virginia, we had a licensed cop on campus all day, and I think that was one of the best things about that school because that makes it much less of a target if an assaulter knows they’re going to encounter police right on campus.”
Sherlock continued on to refer to PC’s open campus, which definitely does serve as a ground for easy entry by those attempting to harm students on campus. Although there are security guards at the entryways to campus, most will not request much if anything from those coming on campus.
With these factors in mind, do you think you would feel safer on a campus with armed guards?