When the University of Nevada struck down Assembly Bill 148 in March 2015, a bill that would allow concealed weapons on campus, I firmly believe The University acted too hastily in choosing its stance on gun control. Instead, the university chose to not allow students to exercise their Concealed Carry Weapons permits on university property. While this preventative measure is meant to protect the student body, there are instances in which it has hurt students and may continue to if a change isn’t made.
In 2007 former UNR student Amanda Collins was traveling with a group of friends from her night class on campus. As the cluster of students approached the eerie parking garage, Collins realized she had parked her car a floor above her peers. She ascended the staircase just as she would any other day. Unknowingly to Collins, that night’s happenings would be seared in her mind for years to come.
Upon reaching the floor she was parked on, she began to approach her car. Just as she reached the tail end of her vehicle she was taken hostage and forced to the ground. Her assailant was a man by the name of James Biela, who went on to rape her at gunpoint. Collins states she would have been carrying her firearm and been able to protect herself had campus rules permitted it. Now the argument can be made that campus police would intervene in most situations of distress, but Collins was roughly 300 yards from a campus police office when she was attacked. The expectation that police can protect the 20,000-plus students the university boasts is far-fetched at best. If allowing students to exercise their right to carry a concealed weapon on campus helps keep hardworking, law-abiding students like Collins safe, it’s hard to see why CCWs are forbidden on campus.
Commander Todd Renwick of the university campus police department acknowledged a fear that everyone shares, when it comes to everyday citizens carrying concealed weapons. If placed in a situation in which they must act quickly and without hesitation, Renwick fears “People with concealed carry permits could crack under pressure,” and possibly make matters worse. While this is a valid argument, the solution to the problem is right at our fingertips—Increase the difficulty of obtaining a concealed carry permit.
In the state of Nevada, obtaining a concealed carry permit is straightforward. First you meet a few qualifications regarding age and lack of criminal history, then obtain firearm training. Training consists of one eight-hour session in which you are educated about the laws pertaining to lethal weapons. Shortly after you’re tested on your knowledge, of the information given in the session. If you pass the written test you are then asked to hit a target at 3, 5, and 7 yards. If you pass this simple task, you’ll head down to your local police department, where it’ll take your fingerprints and administer an eye test. Upon passing your eye test you will finally take your picture and wait a few months to receive your permit in the mail. It’s not a challenging process.
The requirements don’t prepare the carrier for a situation in which they must act quickly. To solve this, Nevada’s government must intensify the training while acquiring the permit. If it put people in live gunfire scenarios with blanks, the individuals who can’t hack it, wouldn’t get the permit and the ones who can are more adept to protect themselves and the masses.
Gun control is undoubtedly a touchy subject one that must be handled with care. Granted, intensifying training will cost extra money. But just as many coaches tell their teams “practice how you play,” concealed weapon carriers should be placed in scenarios that will test their will, wit and reaction time. Through extra effort from both the government and the permit holder, students may never have to face the fate Amanda Collins had to.
Brandon Cruz studies journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.