We would like to thank Benjamin Soltis, a GVSU student and a member of the Student Senate’s finance committee, for taking the initiative and working with the university to revise student code on this issue. However, Soltis is also advocating that the ban on guns on campus should also be lifted, as stated in the article, “GV revises rules about pepper spray on campus.” This we disagree with.

Guns should not be a part of a learning environment. In 1999, Wayne LaPierre, the CEO of the National Rifle Association said, “Schools should have absolutely zero tolerance for weapons of any kind, except in the hands of law enforcement. The academic environment is sacred, and more importantly, it’s safe, and students need to feel safe.” It’s hard to focus on fractals when there are guns in backpacks.

In Michigan, concealed handgun license holders are prohibited from carrying on or in a dorm or classroom of a community college, college or university. However, in June 2009, Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees voted to allow carrying of concealed firearms on university property but not inside of buildings or dorms. What do students do with the guns when they go to class or back home to their dorm? How often are students just walking around on campus for the heck of it? Aren’t they normally on campus to go to class, study at the library or go to work? It doesn’t really make sense.

While MSU might have a nonsensical rule to try to appease those who are in favor of guns on college campuses, there are many groups that advocate for weapons to be allowed on all university campuses.

At Grand Valley State University, the student code is being revised to allow pepper spray on campus. In light of recent reports of sexual assaults on and near campus, we at the Lanthorn believe this is a smart decision. Pepper spray is a non-lethal weapon with temporary side effects, and if used properly can be an effective means of self-defense.

Students for Concealed Carry is a student-run, national, non-partisan organization which advocates for legal concealed carry on college campuses in the United States as an effective means of self-defense.

The group believes that the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 prove that campus police are not enough to keep campuses safe, as they cannot be dispatched in time to stop a gunman from shooting students. On the group’s website it states, “…only the people at the scene when the shooting starts – the potential victims – have the potential to stop such a shooting rampage before it turns into a bloodbath.”

Police are extensively trained to deal with crises. Students and university staff are not. Armed students or staff could escalate a situation, accidentally cause harm or use a gun in a situation that is not warranted.

We at the Lanthorn do not want to sit in class next to a student with a gun in their backpack, and we’re not alone.

According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of American College Health, 78 percent of 1,649 students surveyed at 15 public colleges in the Midwest do not support concealed carry handguns on campus. About 66 percent do not believe that carrying a gun would make them less likely to be troubled by others.

GVSU doesn’t need guns on campus.