Guns in Schools: a Columbine Survivor Speaks Out

columbineWhile most, if not all, of us know of and remember the April 20, 1999 Columbine Massacre, very few people know the name Patrick Neville. Patrick was a sophomore in Columbine High School at the time of the shooting, and is one of the survivors of the horrific attack. Even though Neville was not the best student at the time, and may have been on the “wrong path”, that day changed him forever.

Neville says that the shooting made him realize that he had a purpose to serve, which is why he served in the Army, and has now decided to use his time on earth to change his community, recently becoming a first-term member of Colorado’s House of Representatives. Contrary to what many might believe, though, he is not pushing for stricter gun laws; instead, he believes “it’s better to allow law-abiding citizens who want to be armed to do so”. Representative Neville is now the chief sponsor, along with his father Senator Tim Neville, of a House bill that was introduced early this month, which would allow concealed carry in state schools. Neville has said that it is his personal believe that “if the heroic teachers and faculty of Columbine had been legally armed that day some of his friends would still be alive right now”. He also told MTV News that he truly believes that anyone over the age of 21 who has undergone the proper training, and passed the background checks, fingerprinting, etc., should be able to carry a gun in schools for the purpose of preventing violence. In Neville’s words, “I think it would offer more protection than flashy signs”. He is quoted as saying “As was the case in 1999, criminals aren’t deterred by a flashy sign on the door. The only thing that is going to stop murderers intent on doing harm is to give good people the legal authority to carry a gun to protect themselves and our children.”

Having been on the wrong end of a gun once myself, in a situation in which I could not legally have a gun, I can tell you without the shadow of a doubt, that it only takes one time to realize patrick nevillethat no matter how strict the laws, or how wonderful they may sound, the only people they restrict are the law-abiding citizens. It only takes one occasion in which you are absolutely defenseless against your attacker, to make you realize that you want to have the means to fight back with, and I believe that is exactly what Representative Neville is fighting to change.

Of the 50 states, only Hawaii allows schools to decide if they generally prohibit guns in K-12 schools, and only New Hampshire has no prohibition on guns in K-12 schools. Several states do allow concealed carry permit holders to carry in K-12 schools; among these are AL, AK, AZ, KS, NH, OR, RI, UT, VT, and WY. As far as guns on college and university campus AL, AK, AZ, CT, DE, HI, IN, IA, KS, KY, ME, MD, MN, MT, NH, ND, PA, RI, SD, VT, WA, WV, and WI allow each school to determine whether they prohibit or allow firearms, while MI, MO, OH, OK, TX, and UT have no prohibition on guns on university or college campus. As far as concealed carry on campus by permit holders CO, ID, MS, OK, OR, UT, VA, and WI allow it. However, in Virginia, most universities and colleges have established regulations (which have the force of law) restricting carry even by concealed carry permit holders.