Sexual assault does not justify guns on campus

Guns on Campus

Photo courtesy of Valeri Pizhanski

By Walanya Vongsvirates, @walanyav
This column first appeared in the February 24 issue of the Nevada Sagebrush

“If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them. The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.” – Assemblywoman Michele Fiore.

I’m a huge proponent of speaking your mind on important issues, but outlandish comments like this make me sick to my stomach.

Rape, sexual assault, and gun rights are important issues in today’s society, but they don’t all belong in the same conversation.

It is disgusting that Assemblywoman Michele Fiore is trying to use rape and sexual assault as the platform to pass the campus carry bill, or Assembly Bill 148. These are two critical issues that we face but in no way should promoting violence and even murder be the solution to sexual crimes.

WHAT IS THIS BILL REALLY TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH?

Just for a second, let’s try and believe that Fiore is pushing this campus carry bill to protect people from rape and sexual assault.

Here’s why it won’t work:

The campus carry bill would only allow people with permits to keep their legal weapons inside locked vehicles. Under the circumstance of an attack, one would have to race to their car to attain said weapon and use it against the perpetrator.

Reason number two this bill does not help in such cases: according to the results of the University of Nevada, Reno’s Sexual Conduct and Campus Safety Survey, almost 80 percent of unwanted sexual conduct occurs off campus.

Those that do occur on campus consist of 10 percent occurring within residential halls, seven percent within sorority or fraternity houses, and only five percent on other on-campus locations. Included in that five percent would be parking lots.

In the instance that the campus carry bill is passed, it would only have the potential to help five percent of the unwanted sexual conduct because the concealed weapons would only be accessible to those in a parking area.

However, more often than not, people are not popping up from behind bushes or cars to commit rape or sexual assault.

It is more likely for rape and sexual assault to happen with someone the victim knows in a different environment. Eighty percent of the anonymous survey participants at UNR who claim to have been sexually assaulted also reported knowing the perpetrator.

I’m unsure of where Fiore is getting her facts, but I don’t think she’s accurately serving the student population in this matter. There is only a very small percentage of people who have requested a concealed weapons permit on campus.

According to Jane Tors, the communications director for the university, there have only been 11 requests for a concealed weapons permit from 2013-2015. Of those, only five were approved by the Nevada System of Higher Education.

If there isn’t a huge influx of requests for these permits, who is this bill really serving? It doesn’t seem there is a major need for concealed weapons to be allowed on campus, so why change what isn’t necessary?

“YOUNG, HOT LITTLE GIRLS ON CAMPUS”

Besides completely objectifying college women, Fiore makes the mistake of leaving out 48 percent of the student population in this argument.

Men.

Is she claiming women are the only ones who should have the right to carry a concealed weapon on school property? Are women not capable of defending themselves through another method? Do men not face the risk of sexual assault and rape?

Fiore defended her statement by saying she is protecting the rights to Nevadans’ self-defense, but why is she going to such extremes to do so?

If she is truly arguing for self-defense, then she should focus on the resources currently available to students or on adding more resources, rather than inferring such an extreme method of protection is necessary.

VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER

Saying that sexual predators deserve “a bullet in their head” is normalizing murder.

If we want to decrease the amount of violence that occurs in our culture, we must not advocate the use of weapons as an acceptable form of protection.

Yes, rape and sexual assault are wrong in every way, but it does no good to fight evil with evil.

Rape and sexual assault are complex issues on their own. Adding guns to the equation just doesn’t make sense.

Education and open discussion on the matter of sexual assault need to be more prevalent in our education. We need to figure out more viable prevention methods so innocent people can protect themselves, but campus carry is not the solution.

Society tends to think of issues in retrospect; rather than viewing sexual assault in hindsight, we must focus on prevention that does not further complicate the issue.

The campus carry bill deserves further debate but using guns to “solve” the issue of rape and sexual assault on campus does not make sense and is inconsistent with the facts.

The campus carry bill needs to be treated as its own issue rather than an idiotic solution to sexual crimes. Politicians like Fiore are using rape and sexual assault as a tool to push guns on campus, and if citizens don’t speak up, she will get her way.

Whether you are for or against the campus carry bill, be an active and informed citizen by looking up the facts on the issue.

Students should not stand idly by and allow lawmakers to manipulate issues in favor of their political agendas.



Categories: OPINION, YOUR RIGHTS

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