This piece was submitted by freshman Jack Ratliff
Over the past week and a half, we have had two armed robberies on or near our campus. One of these armed robberies took place behind my residence hall, and I was immediately concerned for my safety. I run at night, and I began to contemplate how I could possibly defend myself if I was face-to-face with a potential robber. My first thought was to buy a handgun, and I looked up the Truman State University policy on weapons. I was disappointed to learn that weapons of any kind are not allowed on Truman’s campus. I feel empathy with our campus administrators, as this policy was put in place for the protection of students. I have no doubt that our administrators have our safety in mind, however, a potential mugger will not share this concern. In my opinion, recent events have underscored that our safety is being threatened here at Truman. We cannot have police escorts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and even if we could, this would be no way to go through life. Instead, it is necessary to change the concealed carry policy here at Truman.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives us the right to bear arms, but even if it did not, we would regardless have the right to defend ourselves. Thomas Jefferson and John Locke are a few philosophers who supported the idea of natural rights. These are the rights that we, as human beings, are born with. One such natural right is the right to defend one’s self, and we are currently being deprived of this right at Truman. By restricting us from carrying weapons on campus, Truman is also depriving us of our self-defense capabilities. Unfortunately, muggers are not confined to our weapons policy, and as such have used knives and handguns during their robberies. To be defenseless against those who would deprive you of your property and possibly your life is a terrifying possibility. While the Kirksville City Police Department and Truman Department of Public Safety are noble, a response will be too late to do anything but mourn your lost belongings, or your life. A handgun will allow the students of Truman to stand up and defend ourselves, so it is imperative that we change the campus weapons policy at Truman.
While it is necessary to illuminate the problem, all this is nothing without a solution. Every weapon brought on campus would have to be registered with campus administrators to ensure that we do not have weapons floating around campus. Mandatory safety and instructional classes would also be necessary. A weapon can be more dangerous in the hands of an untrained individual, and as such, we must require that all weapons owners on campus pass the necessary training. Once an individual has registered their weapon with administrators and passed the necessary training, they should be allowed to carry a weapon for self-defense. The last thing we want is untrained individuals carrying unregistered weapons. This would potentially lead to more danger on our campus, and safety should be one of our highest priorities. If you would like to help change the campus weapons policy, please make your voice heard. Let the administrators know how you feel about the current policy and inform them of your ideas for a solution. Together, we can work to make our campus a better and safer place.