Increasing guns works against safety

Editor's note: This letter was received before the Board of Regents met to discuss and vote on the issue (see story here).

I write to encourage CU to legally fight the idea that students should be allowed to carry guns on campus. I'll even contribute to the cause.

I teach freshmen and I see many struggling with their first experience living on their own, trying to set their own boundaries and behaviors. Many get depressed, guys try and act macho, girls experiment to see what makes them attractive, they do wild and crazy things they will later regret. Increase access to guns and some will make mistakes they will regret their entire lives.
I had a student stress out so much that he began thinking that I and other students were always watching him. This required professional mediation but the student continued to attend class and there was no official record of paranoia. If I thought there was the chance many students (a lot of whom are stressed, and some of whom are not sober) might be carrying a gun, it would negatively affect my teaching.

According to Livestrong.com, a teenager commits suicide every 100 minutes, usually with a handgun. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people age 14 to 25. It's much more common to use a gun for suicide or on a friend or relative while really upset than on a criminal. Statistics do not suggest that increasing the number of guns on campus will result in fewer deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 percent of U.S. college students admitted serious thoughts about suicide. Seven percent had a suicide plan.

CU has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in programs to make students safer from drugs and alcohol. Increasing the number of guns on campus works against student and faculty safety, not for it.

Douglas Duncan
Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
University of Colorado at Boulder