Although it continues to be a subject of heated debate among American citizens, the recent shooting and subsequent death of a Plattsburgh man on Montcalm Avenue the evening of April 6 has localized the issue of gun control to an area largely populated by college students.
Just like states, colleges across the country are subject to gun control laws that differ depending on which state the educational institution is located in. Despite a rise in firearm violence on school campuses, most recently at Wayne Community College in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where a college employee was shot and killed by a student last Monday, there are still college campuses where students are permitted to carry concealed firearms with the proper permits.
At universities in Idaho, Colorado and Utah, concealed firearms are allowed by law on campuses, according to armedcampuses.org, a website that focuses on violence on college campuses. Southern states on the East Coast, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, as well as some mid-western states such as Texas and Oklahoma, allow concealed weapons to be brought onto campus, but they must remain in locked vehicles in the parking lot.
New York state, however, does not allow firearms of any kind on college campuses.
“I don’t find it necessary for an individual to bear arms unless it is for sport or needed for genuine protection,” PSUC senior and computer science major Chris Bowies said.
A strict advocate for gun control, Bowies said no one in his household own a firearm. Although his brother is in the Armed Forces and owns guns, Bowies said he believes there is “flat out no reason” for a college student to own a firearm, save for a “very, very extreme case.”
In fact, Bowies said he believes gun control laws should be much stricter and prohibit any firearm larger than the size of a handgun to be used.
“Unless there is a zombie apocalypse, why would you need an assault rifle?” he asked.
Although students such as Bowies feel there is no need for firearms in general, others feel that a middle ground can and should be reached on the issue.
“I think it’s necessary to be strict,” PSUC junior Amanda Robinson said. “People don’t know how dangerous (guns) can be.”
Citing her father as an example, Robinson said the process he went through in order to secure his pistol permit in New York took somewhere between a year and a year and a half, and the date was constantly pushed back as a result of “endless background checks” and the resurfacing of “stuff he got in trouble for when he was a teenager.”
Though the wait time for a pistol permit varies depending on the county in New York state, the average wait time for a pistol permit in Clinton County is six to eight months, according to clintoncountygov.com, the official website for Clinton County.
In order to be eligible to apply for a gun permit, applicants must have resided in Clinton County for at least six months and be at least 21 years old or an honorably discharged veteran. The process also involves a series of character questionnaires and requires the applicant to submit character references, all of whom must also reside in Clinton County.
PSUC senior Kendra Erts, whose father and brother both have an extensive collection of firearms ranging from rifles to shotguns to pistols, said she believes the “legal hoops” people are required to jump through to get handgun permits are a “positive” to a certain extent.
Erts said lengthy waiting periods and hefty fees for law-abiding citizens are “taking away from proper gun owners.”
With her mother recently securing her pistol permit after a drawn-out wait, Erts said she believes criminals who are seeking firearms for the purpose of committing crimes will simply find illegal ways of obtaining weapons, leaving government policies to affect only those who are following legal channels to get permits.
“(The process) is hurting enthusiasts,” Erts said.
In regards to college students owning firearms, Erts said only some students are responsible enough, and added that she stands by the rule requiring applicants to be 21 years old.
Email Thomas Marble at firstname.lastname@example.org