Gun violence on college campuses is a national tragedy that must be addressed.
Key points to remember:
- Over the past decade, gun violence has increased at American universities, with shootings becoming all too familiar on campuses across the country.
- There are an average of 18 shootings on college campuses each year, leaving 38 dead and 58 injured.
- The most commonly cited reason for gun violence on college campuses is mental health issues. College can be very stressful for students, leading to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
- To help reduce armed violence in universities: improve security measures; make it more difficult for students to obtain firearms; provide more support for students with mental health issues; educate everyone on what to do during an active fire situation.
It’s no secret that America has a gun violence problem. But what may surprise is that this problem is not limited to our streets and neighborhoods. It is also widespread in our universities.
In fact, according to recent statistics, gun violence is on the rise at American universities, with shootings becoming all too common on campuses across the country. And tonight we have another case to add to the growing stats with the shooting at the University of Virginia.
Why is this happening then? What are the causes of gun violence in universities? And what can we do about it? These are some of the questions that I will explore in this article.
The alarming statistics of gun violence on college campuses
The statistics on gun violence in universities paint a grim picture of the situation in America. Each year, there are an average of 18 shootings on college campuses, resulting in an average of 38 dead and 58 injured. Unfortunately, this problem is only getting worse; since 2013, there have been 142 school shootings in the United States.
Take the 2017-2018 school year; there have been 29 shootings on college campuses in the United States. Of these, 11 were fatal. This represents a significant increase over previous years; or consider the 2015-2016 school year, there were only 15 shootings on college campuses.
Want more disturbing facts? Suicides account for the majority of gun-related deaths on university grounds. A study of 100 colleges and universities found that there are 3.5 times more suicides than homicides each year.
And while there are many shootings, only a handful classify them as mass shootings. So technically, we don’t have a definition for that kind of carnage. So instead, we have a parameter:
Most terms define a minimum of three or four victims of gun violence (not counting the shooter or in a downtown area) over a short period of time…”
With this working definition in mind, there have been eight mass shootings at colleges and universities in the past ten years. These incidents resulted in 33 deaths and 63 injuries.
The causes of gun violence in universities and what can be done
Several high-profile mass shootings have taken place over the past decade on college campuses. These tragedies have left students, faculty and staff in shock. They also raised many questions about gun violence and its causes.
And while there is no single answer to this complex question, several factors contribute to gun violence on college campuses. These include:
Mental health problems. Mental health issues are one of the most commonly cited reasons for gun violence on college campuses. College can be a very stressful time for students.
They are often away from home for the first time, managing their finances and studies and trying to figure out who they are as people. For some students, this can be overwhelming. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
A 2017 study found that one in four college students suffers from a diagnosable mental health disorder. This means that there is a large population of students struggling with mental health issues, but not getting the help they need. This can lead to feelings of isolation, hopelessness and hopelessness, all of which can contribute to gun violence.
Access to firearms. Another contributing factor to gun violence on college campuses is access to firearms. In most states, it is relatively easy to purchase a gun.
Additionally, many students come from homes where guns are already present. This combination of factors can create a dangerous situation if firearms fall into the wrong hands.
Also, many colleges do not have strict on-campus firearms policies. This means that even if a student is not legally allowed to own a gun, they may still be able to bring one to campus without anyone knowing. This makes it difficult for school officials to prevent gun violence before it happens.
Lack of security on campus. Another issue that contributes to gun violence on college campuses is the lack of security measures. Many schools do not have metal detectors or security guards at their entrances. This makes it easier to bring a weapon onto campus undetected.
Additionally, many college campuses are spread over large areas. This can make it difficult for law enforcement officials to react quickly in an active shooter situation. By the time they arrive, the damage may already be done.
How gun violence changed college life
More online courses. We have observed that the number of online courses offered by universities has steadily increased over the past decade. This is partly due to increased security measures which make it more difficult for students to get to class.
But it’s also because many students feel safer taking classes from home than on campus. In a recent survey, 25% of students cited security concerns as the main reason for preferring to take college classes from home.
Fewer social activities. Many colleges now limit the number of social activities on campus to reduce the risk of violence. Additionally, universities have banned alcohol at these events to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents. Indeed, many students are reluctant to attend large crowded events due to the risk of violence.
College students enjoyed participating in lively parties and dancing, but now prefer the safety of small gatherings. Some students have turned to drugs and alcohol to fill the void left by the dwindling number of school-sponsored events. This presents another challenge: a direct side effect of gun violence in American universities and colleges.
What can be done to reduce gun violence in universities?
It is time something was done about this growing problem. But, first, universities need to re-evaluate their on-campus gun policies. Currently, 23 states prohibit the carrying of firearms on college campuses and 24 states allow individual schools to develop their policies. It’s time for more states to follow suit and completely ban guns from universities.
Additionally, changing the culture surrounding guns on campus is essential. Students need to be more aware of the dangers of guns in their dorm or backpack. They need to know that just because they feel safe with a gun doesn’t mean it can’t be used against them at any time.
And while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this complex problem, universities can take a few additional steps to help reduce gun violence on their campuses.
- Improve security measures. This may include increasing the number of security guards, installing metal detectors at entrances, and requiring students to wear identification badges at all times.
- Make it harder for students to get guns in the first place. This could involve stricter background checks and mandatory waiting periods for those wishing to purchase firearms.
- Provide more support for students with mental health issues. Unfortunately, many mass shooters have been found to suffer from mental illness. Universities must therefore do everything possible to identify and help those at risk. This may involve increasing funding for counseling services and hiring more mental health professionals.
- Educate students, faculty, and staff on what to do in an active shooter situation. Hold regular drills so everyone knows what to do if someone starts shooting on campus. Make sure everyone knows where the nearest exits are and where to find shelter if they can’t get out.
In short, gun violence is a serious problem at American universities, and it’s only getting worse. Something has to be done about this problem, and universities have to play a part in the solution. By taking a few simple steps, universities can help make their campuses safer for everyone.
What do you think of the reduction in gun violence on university and college campuses in the United States? Do you think the lack of gun control, mental health issues, or the prevalence of violent video games are to blame? Let me know in the comments below.