On Sept. 10, 2014 Missouri passed Senate bill 656 that allows higher education campuses the right to self elect school weapon holding officials for times of crisis, such as a shooting, robbery or hostage situation. The decision for a campus to have these elected officials is entirely up to the school’s administration. If a school wishes to continue their specific rules about concealed and carry on campus then they may. Today in the media and politics is the hot topic of current House Bill 1899 discussing the removal of the ban on concealed weapons on college campuses allowing students to carry on campus. Last action of Missouri House Bill 1899 was taken on January 20, 2016.
East Central College has no on-campus living, however, this bill poses one concern for colleges that do offer on-campus housing, drugs and alcohol. At any college institution with on-campus housing there is always some sort of substance abuse.
“There is a lot of science to back up the notion that alcohol is a drug, and that drugs have detrimental effects on individuals’ brains. Drugs and alcohol have never been known to make anyone’s decision making processes better, regardless of age,” Director of Student Development Shelli Allen said.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s article “Drugs and the Brain,” “They [drugs] lead to abnormal messages being transmitted through the network [of the brain].”
These abnormal messages can lead to several different outcomes, and not all of them are good. One outcome may be abuse of any kind, sexual, physical and verbal. Adding a concealed weapon into the mix may not be the best idea.
“I think that any time you add drugs and alcohol to any equation, you’re hindering individuals’ abilities to make smart decisions. I would say that about any topic – weapons, sexual encounters, driving – anything,” Allen said.
It is proven that drugs do not always have good outcomes, and adding armed weapons to the mixture may cause even more uncertain outcomes.
There are certain safety precautions being taken on campus at East Central College, but changes and improvements are always being discussed.
“I think that there are any number of things that we might do differently on campus — from the way that we handle security, to the amount of lighting and number of cameras we have on campus – that might increase campus safety. I would like to see us do more of that sort of thing. There are some things that I would like for us to do that have costs associated with them [like] lighting, cameras and door locks. I’m glad to work at a place where people see this as a priority,” Allen said.