Should UMD allow guns on campus? Students share their thoughts

It’s been a little over 16 years since the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colorado. Two seniors killed twelve other students and one teacher. At the time it was considered the deadliest school massacre in the nation’s history.

In 2007, the Virginia Tech shooting topped Columbine with 33 total deaths and has remained the nation’s deadliest school shooting.

Since 2013, 150 school shootings have taken place in America. This means there has been nearly one shooting every week for two consecutive years.

As of Oct. 10 there have been 52 mass shootings in 2015, 21 of which have occurred at colleges and universities. Three shootings took place at Minnesota schools including one at Mankato State University on Feb. 2.

In March of 2014, the UMD campus was alerted and locked down when a teen was spotted with what appeared to be a gun. No shots were fired, no one was hurt and the teen was arrested.

At UMD, students are allowed to keep legally obtained, unloaded guns in their cars. Students are not required to inform anyone that they have them.

“It’s a little scary,” student Rebecca Ebbers said. “Actually, it’s a lot scary.”

“It just seems super dangerous to me, even if the guns are for hunting,” student Cora Bourbonais said. “I feel like there would be a better place to keep them than in your car.”

Other students think differently.

“I think that’s fine as long as it can’t be loaded,” student Courtney Bliese said.

“It should be registered with the school or they should know about it,” student Dan Rother said.

In the event that there would be an active shooter on campus, UMD would follow its emergency operations plan.

The plan was created to assign specific duties to departments and individuals throughout UMD in case of an emergency. The chancellor and/or on-duty officer will serve as the main means of communication for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the entire campus.

In the case of an imminent threat, university personnel will notify the UMD campus.

UMD uses several notification methods.

The No. 1 method used is the TXT-U system which sends out a text to anyone who has registered for TXT-U.

“I think it’s useful because we’re always on our phones,” Ebbers said.

“Sometimes I get the texts,” Bourbonais said. “But I don’t always pay attention to them.”

While the university has been fortunate enough to not have to implement the emergency operations plan in case of an active shooter, it is best to be aware of what the school’s procedures and policies are.

For more information, visit the UMDPD website.

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