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Editorial: Safety can’t be guaranteed

By TNH Editorial Staff

Early Thursday morning, a gunman opened fire in the main library on the campus of Florida State University, sending three students to the hospital, one of whom still remains in critical condition. Police shot down the gunman, Myron May, 31, a 2005 FSU graduate, in the library as students escaped through fire exits and huddled under desks.

College campuses across the country are vulnerable to such tragedies and absolute safety is an unattainable goal for campus police forces to guarantee. Even a “gun-safe” campus such as at the University of New Hampshire, where students are not allowed to carry firearms on the campus, cannot prevent guns from reaching the residence halls and academic buildings.

Earlier in the week, UNH Police responded to a call at the Gables in the early morning where a gun was reported to be in the possession of a group of males. A Shelter in Place was initiated via the email and text alert system, calling for students to seek shelter as police moved in to confront the individuals.

Fortunately, no one was hurt in the episode, but students were yet again questioning their safety this semester. Some students have complained that the system is imperfect and they did not receive the email alert.

Whether these individuals were allowed to have a firearm on campus, as they were not UNH students, is still unclear. New Hampshire has rather loose laws when it comes to owning a firearm. While some argue the state allows more individual freedom such as with gun laws than other states in the region, it is important to have the discussion as to what place do firearms have on the UNH campus?

The rule is clear for UNH students by way of the student rights, rules and responsibilities handbook: no guns on campus. But for non-students, it is not so clear when state laws come into consideration. In New Hampshire, it is perfectly legal to carry a firearm as long as the carrier is licensed. No details have been released on whether these individuals were planning to use the gun or what their business on campus was.

Whether guns should or should not be allowed on campus is an open debate where both sides can make reasonable arguments. Perhaps it is time we have that discussion.

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