U Students Express Opinions about Guns on Campus

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Justin Prather

A broken down Glock 19. (Photo by: Justin Prather | Daily Utah Chronicle).

By Kailey Gilbert, News Writer

 

On Feb. 12, 2021, Gov. Spencer Cox signed House Bill 60, allowing for concealed carry of guns without a permit. Utah is now the 17th State to allow for constitutional carry. This means that “an individual who is 21 years old or older, and may lawfully possess a firearm, may carry a concealed firearm in a public area without a permit.” 

The University of Utah’s current regulations state, “The University of Utah enforces state law regulating firearms on campus.”

U students have differing opinions on whether or not guns should be allowed on campus. Christopher Golter, a senior at the U, is in support of guns on campus for “people who know what they’re doing.”

Golter emphasized the importance of understanding how to use a gun, and the severity at which it can be used. He called guns the “great equalizer,” and said that with a gun, safety is easier and you can rid a dangerous opponent of any advantages they may have.

“The gun doesn’t care how big the other person is,” he said. “It just levels the playing field.“

Growing up in Illinois, Golter had first-hand experience with stricter gun laws. Once he moved to Utah, he began to experiment with guns and has found joy in the shooting range. He said he finds fascination in guns and the way they work. 

He said he understands the fear people have with guns being present, but disagrees with the idea, saying guns are used for self-defense. 

“If someone is going to break the law, that extra step of banning guns isn’t going to stop them,” he said.

 Konrad Dellacqua, another student at the U and a member of the Pistol Team, agreed with Golter.

Campus is a pretty safe place,” he said. 

He said it’s not needed to carry a concealed weapon, but “it’s a right.”

Additionally, Dellacqua said there is a necessity that a student or person on campus with a firearm understands the weapon. He urges people to not be scared but to be aware and educated of local rights. 

He expressed his own concerns about a potential shooting, saying that concealed carry could help. He said, however, that it is important for people to, “know what they’re doing” with a gun. 

Carly Gaines, a freshman studying communications at the U, had a different perspective. She disagreed with the idea of people other than a security guard carrying a concealed weapon. She expressed a looming fear of confronting students on campus with guns. 

She said she understands wanting a gun for protection, but disagrees with having them on school campuses.

“School is a safe space,” Gaines said. “Guns shouldn’t be something involved on a school campus. There’s no need for them.”

She said she recognizes the value of safety a gun can provide, but listed the negatives, especially with students who aren’t trained in how to use guns. Gaines cited the concerns of playing with guns without training and understanding the deadly nature of the weapon. 

“It is kind of scary to know that people can have access to guns on campus,” she said.

She said school shootings are “a real thing,” but she also expressed trust in campus security and the policies in place to try and prevent it. 

Gaines expressed a concern about shootings on the U campus, especially with her own home experience with a nearby shooting at a bar. 

“If you really want one, just go through the process of getting a permit,” she said. “This school policy is one that needs to be altered.”

She also said she was concerned about the new policy in Utah.

“I can understand having a gun for safety purposes, but at the same time leave it to the professionals,” she said. 

 

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@KaileyGilbert3