Guns at College? Father of Girl Shot at FSU Frat House Doesn't Think So

Categories: Politicks
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Ashley Cowie, a sophomore at Florida State University, was shot and killed last month after an AK-47 accidentally went off at a party at a property housing fraternity brothers. Clearly, firearms and college parties don't mix well, but a bill introduced last month would allow students at Florida state colleges to openly have firearms on campus if they have the proper permits. Cowie's father, Robert, offered tearful testimony this week urging against the passage of the bill.
Ashley died on January 9th after 20-year-old Evan Wilhelm began brandishing an AK-47 during the party. The weapon accidentally discharged and hit Ashley in the chest. Her twin sister Amy tried to perform CPR to save Ashley, but she died at the scene. The bullet also hit another student in the wrist after exiting Ashley's body.

Only days later, state Senator Greg Evers (R-Crestview) introduced a bill that would allow students to carry concealed firearms on public college campuses. Twenty-four states forbid students from bringing concealed weapons on campus, while 23 leave it up to the individual schools. Two other states do not allow any citizens to carry a concealed weapon.  According to Business Week, only ten schools in Utah and two other schools in America allow students to bring concealed weapons on campus.

Robert Cowie, Ashley's father, offered testimony this week in front of lawmakers about why such a bill should not be passed.
"As parents, we send our children to college campuses hoping that they are safe enough places, and that university officials are doing all that they can to monitor the safety of our young people," Cowie said.

"When we packed Ashley's belongings into boxes to take her things to Tallahassee, we never expected to be bringing her home in a different-sized box. This proposed change to the law will place an undue burden on the universities to keep our campuses safe. Ashley was shot to death at a time when the law prohibited weapons on campus, and still this tragedy has occurred.... Allowing guns in an atmosphere of college parties puts everyone involved at increased and undue risk."

Though, Pro-Gun activists say that allowing guns on campus would actually prevent crimes.

"There's a lot of safety by allowing guns on campus," Marion Hammer, longtime lobbyist for the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and a former president of the NRA told Naked Politics. "That's how a lot of us protect ourselves because law enforcement can't be there when we need them. Law enforcement is not stopping rapes on campus, and not stopping a lot of crimes."

Hammer also said that because Wilhelm was under 21, the law would not allow him to have a gun on campus, but seems to completely miss the larger point that guns kept in student housing may not always be a safe bet.

Evers today announced he will delay further discussion of the bill for now, but says that Cowie's testimony had no effect on his decision.


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17 comments
nevernot
nevernot

I work on a college campus, and I can tell you first hand, the thought of any of these students carrying a weapon is frightening. They have safety issues surrounding the correct use of forks. I've seen them injure each other with pencils over a cigarette. Yeah, arming these immature, over-stressed, sleep deprived, and consistently hung over students seems like a great idea. I'm sure no one will get hurt...

JMH05f
JMH05f

"Would allow students at Florida state colleges to openly have firearms on campus..." This is a completely false statement. Please have some journalistic integrity or someone better edit your writing.

John Hardin
John Hardin

While Mr. Cowie's loss is tragic, the off-campus shooting of someone by a drunk student too young to obtain a concealed carry permit using a rifle should not be used to judge the value of allowing students who have obtained a concealed carry permit (minimum age 21, training, background checks, etc.) to carry a concealed pistol on campus for self defense (not for showing off and trying to impress girls).

Florida statistics collected since CCW licensing was introduced show that CCW holders are more peaceable, responsible and law-abiding than the general population. They are not drunken fratboys waving around rifles.

John Hardin
John Hardin

...in addition, the proposal covers CCW-licensed faculty as well. Are they also immature, drunken, irresponsible twits?

John Hardin
John Hardin

arming these immature ... and consistently hung over studentsAgain, nobody is proposing arming all students, or anybody who just wants a gun; the proposal is to allow only those who have obtained a CCW permit to carry on campus. Again, the minimum age to obtain a CCW permit is 21, and again, CCW holders in Florida have shown themselves to be highly responsible people.

Point to problems with immature, hung-over CCW holders causing problems off-campus and you can reasonably worry about them doing so on-campus. Otherwise you're unfairly reacting to a baseless fear.

bob the gunslinger
bob the gunslinger

it suited the writer better to mislead the facts of course!the truth would be too much for him and those like him to deal with!

bob the gunslinger
bob the gunslinger

thank you john for stating the facts,and asking how this shooting has anything to do or how it applies to this bill!our thoughts go out to the cowie family,but they are choosing a battle against the wrong cause!

Jennyrodriguez
Jennyrodriguez

"Florida statistics collected since CCW licensing was introduced show that CCW holders are more peaceable, responsible and law-abiding than the general population. They are not drunken fratboys waving around rifles."

Who cares that CCW are "more peaceable" than the general population - the general population is pretty damn violent. That analogy is like saying that we are better at making cars than the Chinese - in other words, we still suck at making cars.

Also, the "statistic" you gave has no facts. How many people are shot every year by a criminal or by accident vs. how many people are saved every year from suffering a crime by using a gun on the perpetrator? That is the only stat that matters. I hear about gun tragedies all the time, I rarely hear about someone using a gun on a criminal.

In theory, I agree guns should help the innocent from the criminals, but as long, as crime pays, and as long as there are crazies out there, guns will fall in the hands of the criminal and the insane. And no matter what, at a gun fight, the criminal or the crazy will shoot first becuase normal people hesitate before shooting someone down.

nevernot
nevernot

Maybe not drunken, but you aren't too far off base. Either way you still haven't complied with my simple request to show me an instance where a student carrying a deadly weapon benefited other students in any positive way. Please give examples of incidents that were resolved in a positive manner by students carrying deadly weapons on campuses. Please include references and or police reports. Until then you have not even begun to make a valid case.

nevernot
nevernot

I'll tell you what, since I desire the status quo is maintained keeping campuses deadly weapon free, the burden of proof is on you and others with your mindset. Please list instances where armed students contributed to the health and safety of other students. Please, include references to articles and or police reports.

As for ccw holders level of responsibility, they may in fact be more responsible than others but they also live in large groups under the same roof. Show me on frat house or dorm where theft of personal property is not an issue, and prove that once weapons are on campus they won't find themselves in the wrong hands.

BTW, the minimum age for alcohol consumption is 21 as well, I wonder how strictly college students adhere to that law....

The only way to avoid gun related injuries is to avoid guns.

John Hardin
John Hardin

[Note: my first response is stuck in the moderation queue. I expect it will be ignored to death, but if it does get approved, apologies for the mostly-double-post...]

Who cares that CCW are "more peaceable" than the general population - the general population is pretty damn violent.Okay, how about this: those same statistics suggest that CCW holders as a group are more law-abiding than police officers. Do you have a problem with allowing armed police officers onto campus? No? Then why do you have a problem with a group that statistics suggest may be less likely to commit a crime against a student than a police officer is?Also, the "statistic" you gave has no facts.The raw data is here:http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl....http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/Co...A superficial look at the summary gives 5295 CCW licenses revoked for crime after licensure, out of 786,884 license holders, for a crime rate of 0.0067 or 1 in roughly 149. Comparison to the overall crime rate in Florida in 2009 of 824,559 for 18,750,483 population gives 0.0439 or 1 in roughly 23.I have seen a table listing actual crimes rates for CCW holders, which would be a better basis for comparison than CCW licenses revoked for committing a crime because I don't know what crimes don't result in license revocation, but I don't have that reference handy to me at the moment.To summarize, CCW holders are more than six times as law-abiding as the general population.How many people are shot every year by a criminal or by accident vs. how many people are saved every year from suffering a crime by using a gun on the perpetrator? That is the only stat that matters.http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/previe...It is difficult to collect hard statistics on how many people were saved from suffering a crime by use of a gun, because many defensive gun uses (DGUs) do not get reported - would you bother telling the police if a person threatening to mug you left when you simply put your hand on the butt of your sidearm?However, multiple studies have attempted to estimate annual DGUs, and they get numbers ranging from ~100,000 per year at the low end to over two million times a year at the high end.http://www.guncite.com/kleckan...http://www.guncite.com/gcdgkle...2 million DGUs annually vs. 115,000 firearm injuries and deaths (excluding suicides brings that down to about 100,000 and taking out justifiable shootings would drop it even further) annually. 20:1. Since those studies likely underestimate DGUs, it's probably higher than 20:1 in reality.I hear about gun tragedies all the time, I rarely hear about someone using a gun on a criminal.That's probably because the mainstream media outlets generally don't carry many news articles about defensive gun uses. A daily grind of "today 500 people prevented or ended a crime using lawfully-carried firearms" does not draw the viewers like a lurid "Mad gunman shoots a dozen people! Film at eleven!" every couple of years does. Not to mention the likelihood of editorial bias - stories about successful self defense by responsible people just doesn't fit the narrative about how guns are unmitigated evil...But if you're willing to consider a collection of news articles about self defense using guns, and not dismiss it out-of-hand simply because it's the NRA doing the collecting, look here:http://thearmedcitizen.com/Or here for a similar collection not run by the NRA:http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/guns will fall in the hands of the criminal and the insane.This is a reason to deny people the ability to defend themselves using a lawfully-carried handgun, to force them to be helpless victims of the criminal and the insane?And no matter what, at a gun fight, the criminal or the crazy will shoot first becuase normal people hesitate before shooting someone down."No matter what?" A global assertion like that demands this response: "Cite!" There's also a less-polite response I won't make.And again, that someone may hesitate is a reason to deny people the ability to defend themselves using a lawfully-carried handgun, to force them to be helpless victims of the criminal and the crazy?

John Hardin
John Hardin

the "statistic" you gave has no facts.I'm sorry, I don't have a cite for the Florida statistics handy. I'm sure Google could find the numbers with a few minutes effort.

I rarely hear about someone using a gun on a criminal.That's probably because the mainstream media isn't really eager to carry any armed self defense stories, likely because of editorial bias. It doesn't fit "the narrative". That doesn't mean such instances are rare. A daily drumbeat of "Five hundred people defended themselves using their lawfully-carried firearms today" does not draw the eyeballs nearly as well as does "A psychopathic lunatic shot ten people! Film at eleven!" every couple of years.

If you're not going to simply dismiss a repository of news articles just because they're collected by the NRA, you can look here: http://thearmedcitizen.com/

Here is another, not affiliated with the NRA: http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/

If you want academic studies, here is one that estimates more than two million defensive gun uses a year in the US: http://www.guncite.com/gcdgkle...

And here's a table comparing multiple studies of defensive gun uses, all of which estimate that guns are used in self defense in the US hundreds of thousands to millions of times a year: http://www.guncite.com/kleckan...

Are you saying that the fact that criminals and crazies can obtain firearms means that peaceable, law abiding people should not be permitted to carry firearms for self defense?

Gabriel A. Brooks
Gabriel A. Brooks

Funny how this guy demands examples, then given three and he has no response.Students do many things that are not safe when mixed with ethanol.Students operate nuclear reactors for example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...Students in Microbiology will grow samples of different types of E. Coli etc. that if removed from the lab could injure others.But the 1% of us that already have our CCW and carry off campus aren't going to suddenly become dangerous on-campus. So really YOU need to provide an example of a College Student with a CCW that has been violent.

John Hardin
John Hardin

since I desire the status quo is maintained keeping campuses deadly weapon freeThat's the whole point - campuses are not "deadly-weapon free". VT proved that. NIU proved that. You already have your "gun-free zone" campuses and they do not keep guns out and they do not prevent massacres using guns.the burden of proof is on you and others with your mindsetI would argue precisely the opposite. Prohibiting those who are licensed and allowed to carry a concealed firearm off campus from carrying their firearm on campus is a restriction of a liberty.In a free society the burden of proof should be on those who wish to restrict liberties, to show that the restriction they propose (or defend) actually does have a societal benefit that outweighs its societal cost.The societal cost of prohibiting licensed concealed carry on campus can arguably be most of the victims at VT and most of the victims at NIU, plus a portion of the onesies-twosies of rapes and assaults that occur on campuses but that don't generate lurid headlines.The societal cost of allowing licensed concealed carry on campus would be those unjustifiably injured or killed by CCW holders on a campus where licensed carry is permitted. There are several such campuses (for instance, the U of Utah). Can you point to one instance where any student carrying in compliance with the law at any of those colleges and universities has caused any problem because they were carrying?

Kory Zipperer
Kory Zipperer

"I'll tell you what, since I desire the status quo is maintained keeping campuses deadly weapon free, the burden of proof is on you and others with your mindset. Please list instances where armed students contributed to the health and safety of other students. Please, include references to articles and or police reports."

Well, first off, it's illegal to carry a firearm on almost every campus in the US, so how can you expect there to be any statistics on it? Law abiding citizens don't want to break the law, even though it puts them at risk.

However, it has happened:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A...

"The only way to avoid gun related injuries is to avoid guns."

Tell that to the people killed at Virginia Tech. They were shot to death on a 'gun free zone'. How does that work? I'm sure if they had the choice they would have avoided Cho's gun, but unfortunately life doesn't work that way.

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