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Gun-free zones essential to balanced firearms policies

Last week, CSU had a small gun scare of its own after a man openly possessing a fake firearm was apprehended and removed from the Morgan Library.

While the person in question was charged with a misdemeanor, this incident brings the issue of weapon safety closer to home for our community, and serves as an excellent example of the importance of gun-free zones when it comes to state and federal arms policy.


Gun control, or the policy to curb “gun violence,” tends to be a touchy subject in practically every area of America, and constructing a balanced policy to pay equal respect to safety concerns and constitutional rights is no easy task. However, in the context of our community in particular, gun-free zones should be an essential part of any legislative efforts to balance competing interests in the gun control debate.

Gun-free zones are crucial to striking a balance in firearms policy because they assure people of having a safe space to function without drastically trampling firearm possession rights. While it would be ridiculous to ignore that gun-related violence has occurred in designated “gun-free” zones before, such as in the Newtown shooting, letting this outlier discredit this aspect of policy would be equally ridiculous because gun-free zones, like most weapons-related regulation, is meant to manage the normal, expectable aspects of firearm possession in any given area. Extreme incindents of gun attacks, like any lawless action, cannot realistically be prevented by any laws. However, gun-free zones, which include schools, help assure a sense of safety for all within the area in non-extreme circumstances.

While some might argue that regulations like gun-free zones designed to create an assurance of safety aren’t worth infringing gun owners’ rights over, it is specifically the protection of this sense of safety that makes these designations so imperative for our community. Gun-free zones are mainly only implemented around public education institutions, and I think very few people would argue with the assertion that students should feel safe and secure when learning in school. Even here on campus at CSU, firearms are only banned within residence halls and dining areas — those with concealed carry permits are still able to possess their weapons around campus as long as they have proper documentation. Ideally, the gun-free zone should be expanded to campus as a whole, since the weapons ban crazily enough does not extend to classrooms at present. A reinforced sense of security should be a paramount element of developing an effective learning environment. 

These types of regulations on firearm possession are a small price to pay in order to guarantee, under reasonable circumstances, the safety of everyone striving to further their education. While some might view law enforcement’s response to the Morgan Library situation as excessive and point to it as an example of the perceived persecution of gun owners, the reality is that the police handled the situation with reasonable alarm, and that keeping areas on campus free of weapons is a fair compromise to the interests of all parties based on the nature of firearms.

Tempering the extent of constitutional rights such as those protected by the second amendment is never easy, but gun-free zones provide a method to offer needed balance between gun owners and non-owners. Firearm possession has been statistically proven to make areas more dangerous just on the context of their possession alone, and while this constitutional privilege cannot be denied, there needs to be reasonable protections in place, such as gun-free zones, for those who choose not to bear arms.

Collegian Columnist Sean Kennedy can be reached at or on Twitter @seanskenn.

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  • P

    Paulie WalnutsOct 1, 2015 at 6:44 am

    Just cut off your dick and rename yourself “Caitlyn.”

  • A

    A criticSep 30, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Since you’ve been a journalist at the Collegian every single one of your stories/opinions on guns has been based on nothing but conjecture. You provide no solution other than saying that having gun free zones is a balance to gun control. How? how does preventing law abiding citizens from having firearms deter criminals? Please, take the time next time to consider how many crimes/incidents are carried out by concealed carriers and then compare that to the ones committed by CRIMINALS.

  • D

    disqus_QhnRXuc1eoSep 30, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    If mass shootings aren’t a reason to rethink gun free zones then neither are assault weapons bans or mag limits. Thought so

    • D

      d13spartanOct 7, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      …What!? That made zero sense.

  • C

    Charles VincentSep 30, 2015 at 6:39 pm

    Hmm me thinks this guy has been under a rock for a long time and doesn’t know about all the shootings that happened in these Safe “gun free” zones he thinks are so great. Nor is he aware that the large majority of mass shootings have happened in “gun free” zones.

    “Treat others with the same respect you’d want for yourself.”
    It’s hard to respect people that have done no real research on a topic and that lacks critical thinking skills and common sense.
    If you really want to reduce violence perhaps one should look at the actual causes of violent behavior. There are many sources of Psychological data detailing this, but for Pete’s sake please stop blaming inanimate objects.

  • J

    Joe PotoskySep 30, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    If a building doesn’t have scanning of all who enter, their are guns present, Gun Free Zone or not!

    • L

      law-abiding-citizenOct 4, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Depends on the state. Law abiding firearms owners & carriers generally like to avoid committing criminal acts, especially when possession of a firearm in a prohibited area constitutes a felony charge (as it does in many states).
      Most colleges don’t have scanners & metal detectors anyway, simply because of the logistic impracticality of it, between false alarms caused by laptops, cell phones, & other electronic devices, and the sheer volume of people going in & out of buildings. Even if they do have them, by the time it goes off, it’s probably too late for the law abiding inside the building.

  • W

    whoopsydoodooSep 30, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    “Fish in a barrel” zones would be a more accurate description

  • J

    JdbergerSep 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    “A reinforced sense of security should be a paramount element of developing an effective learning environment.”

    Let’s give participation medals to folks who couldn’t pass classes, too…

  • N

    novaculusSep 30, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    The author fails to explain how designating an area a “gun-free” zone creates a “safe space”.

    In fact, designating an area a “gun free” zone does not and cannot create a “safe space”. People who mean to do harm are already prepared to violate laws and commit crimes far more serious than merely possessing a firearm in a designated “gun-free” zone.

    The author’s capacity to ignore reality and adopt delusional beliefs that reflect a deeply flawed but dearly held view of the world is all too common among the anti-gunners.

  • D

    d13spartanSep 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Minus the fact that criminals don’t care about bans, that gun-free zones advertise opportunity for active shooters, and that CSUPD actively encourages conceal carry on campus because they can’t be everywhere on campus this sounds like a terrific idea: for an active shooter. Further, claiming Newtown was some kind of statistical outlier isn’t just disingenuous its completely off the mark. All the recent theater shootings–gun-free, many of the college shootings–gun-free, the marine recruiting station–gun-free, the navy yard shootings–gun-free, the TWO fort hood Texas shootings on the Army base–gun-free… Are you catching on to just how disingenuous that claim you just made is? How about instead fluffy feelings we focus on correcting the problem. Access to hand guns and other firearms to people who should not have them. People with violent criminal backgrounds and mental health red flags. Stop trying to lay blame on responsible and trained (as it requires specific training to have a conceal carry) citizens and focus on the people COMMITING the crimes.

  • M

    Mel ViticusSep 30, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Love the ‘feel good’ journalism Sean! Has called you yet? By definition a “criminal” doesn’t obey or conform to rules of a government, or a society. Nor does the criminal respect or recognize any act, assize, behest, bidding, bylaw, canon, case, caveat, charge, charter, code, command, commandment, constitution, covenant, decision, decree, decretum, demand, dictate, divestiture, due process, edict, enactment, equity, garnishment, injunction, institute, instruction, jurisprudence, legislation, mandate, measure, notice, order, ordinance, precedent, precept, prescript, prescription, reg, regulation, requirement, ruling, statute, subpoena, summons, warrant, writ, restriction, code, bylaw, or rule that would attempt to put boundaries on his nefarious intentions.
    So the ultimate end to your plea for gun-free zones would be that innocent, law-abiding (read gun-less and defenseless) citizens will be the victims of criminals who could care less about abiding with a “gun-free zone”.