Allowing guns on campus brings danger, not protection, to students

Imagine you are a female student walking from the library to your car at night, and a lurking male suddenly attacks you. At that instant, you realize you keep a gun in your car; so you run to your car, open your purse and scramble for the key, unlock the door, open the glove compartment, take out the gun and successfully defend yourself against the assailant.

As much as I would like to believe the above scenario would play out as described, common sense tells me keeping a gun in your car won’t help you protect yourself from such an attack.

State Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, apparently thinks otherwise. He sponsored a bill that would allow guns to be kept in cars on college campuses, the Kernel reported Wednesday.

For those who are afraid of the possible dangers this bill may present, Damron has assured us it’s “no big deal.” He “only (wants) to allow responsible gun owners to keep their weapons in their cars,” he said in the Kernel article.

That explanation removed all the doubts and questions I had about the bill: If only responsible gun owners are allowed to have guns, then there is nothing to worry about for the rest of us who don’t own guns. Right?

Nationally, firearms are one of the leading causes of deaths each year, which means the “responsible owner” rule is a total failure. How do Damron and supporters of the bill think they can implement the “responsible owner” rule locally if the country has failed on the same task repeatedly?

Going back to the previous scenario, can we really expect a female student under physical attack, not to mention overwhelming panic, to access her gun in time and defend herself? And if she can already get in her car, wouldn’t it be safer for her to just drive away and report to the police?

Not only does the bill fail to serve its intended purpose, but if it were to pass, chances of firearm-related incidents will increase dramatically. After an altercation at work or a scuffle with a fellow student, the last thing an emotionally unstable person needs is quick access to a firearm.

Fortunately, legislators and state educators, including UK administrators, are strongly opposing this bill. It will probably die in the Judiciary Committee due to the objection of the committee’s chairwoman Rep. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, the Kernel reported.

Currently, a state law allows colleges and universities to set their own firearm policies, and that law should not be revoked. Stein reflected this view when she said to the Kernel, “Meddling in the affairs of the universities is not high on this committee’s list of priority issues.”

Damron showed his true political colors when he said he’s hoping to gain support for the bill with the presence of a National Rifle Association lobbyist in Frankfort. Therefore, it was no surprise to find the NRA on top of Damron’s endorsement list provided by his official Web site (


Damron should represent the interests of his constituents, not that of lobbyists, but that’s a widespread issue that will not be solved any time soon.

Our college campus is a place of learning, not a haven for firearm enthusiasts. While campus safety is an issue that must be tackled swiftly and vigorously, allowing guns on campus — in cars or otherwise — only adds another dangerous element to the environment.

Linsen Li is a history and journalism junior. E-mail [email protected].