The Citizens’ and Students’ Self-Defense Act was created to allow anyone 21 or older with a concealed carry permit to bring a firearm into any public school or college.
Although the bill passed in the House, the bill was killed by the Senate while keeping legislators’ score cards with the NRA untarnished. This lack of action was prompted by education officials opposing the legislation because of safety and other concerns.
Though there are concerns, there are a small number of schools in the United States that allow concealed carry on campus located in Colorado, Utah, Virginia and Michigan.
Students were split on their opinions on the bill. Some students expressed worry due to the constant changing emotional state of college students.
“It’s a well-known fact that college has more depressed students and we have a high suicide rate,” Ali Midland, a senior Criminal Justice major said. “It’s hard to know how many of those would think about taking others with them. If they were depressed enough, were able to carry a gun on campus, they could decide to make others feel their pain.”
Many students, including gun owners, believe that there is no place for guns on campus.
“It’s all about control,” Communications major Brody Tate said. “Not everyone is grounded in sanity. Concealed carry is already so accessible in Wyoming so let’s not give unstable college students, prone to stress and anger, guns. If there’s a situation that calls for protection, can a person promise they can read the situation correctly? Police officers go through brutal training before being approved to make those decisions. Do we get sprayed with pepper spray? Tazered? Shot with bean bag guns? No, we don’t. Allowing guns on campus is opening a door to those who can now bring a weapon to harm others.”
Other students on campus said that they thought the bill was an excellent idea. The campus, although not as large as many, is still spread out and emergency response time may not be satisfactory.
“If students carried concealed, it would make the campus safer,” said Ellis Riske, an Animal Science major. “If someone were to walk into the Ag auditorium right now with a gun during a class that has a lot of students that are not carrying and starts killing people it would be disastrous. The shooter is going to get off as many rounds as they can until A) everyone is dead or B) the campus police or somebody else shows up.”
“The more people that are carrying, the more it will make people question if they should take a gun to school and shoot people.” Riske added.
Currently in Wyoming, residents are allowed to carry concealed if they are 21 years old or older and have completed a weapons safety course. A hunter’s safety course could be used to satisfy this requirement.
There has been no news if the bill would be reintroduced in the next legislative session.