The shootings at Lone Star College’s North Harris Campus in Texas and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut have sparked debate and conversation about gun rights in America. Additionally, the shootings have combined the terms gun own- ership and education in the same sentence.
According to the “Gun Ownership by State” infographic on the Washington Post website, about 18 percent of people in New York own guns. However, this number does not account for people who own guns illegally without permits.
On January 15, just days after the cam- pus shooting in Texas, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law that ex- panded the state’s existing assault weapons ban. It also limits the number of bullets al- lowed to be in the gun and beefs up rules that require reports of harmful behavior by the mentally ill.
The law focuses on reducing the permis- sible size of gun magazines from ten rounds to seven rounds. New York is the first state to change its gun laws in response to the recent shootings. The widened ban on assault weapons took effect immediately after the law was signed.
Despite its gun policy, which has been in effect since the campus opened in 1954, LIU Post has seen at least one instance of a gun on campus in recent years. On November 17, 2011, 72-year-old Criminal Justice adjunct professor, John Carney, accidentally shot himself in the groin and leg before his class.
Although Carney is a retired Fire Mar- shall and was licensed to carry a weapon, LIU Post enforced its strict no weapons policy on campus. Carney is no longer teaching at LIU Post. Ralph Baratto, associate director of Public Safety, said that as far as he knows there has never been an incident in regards to a student having a gun on campus, licensed or not.
Long Island University strictly prohibits the possession of firearms on its campuses, according to the Firearms Weapon Policy on LIU’s website. According to the policy, “Other than police officers or military personnel on active duty, no person, including a licensed individual, may possess firearms anywhere
on campus, whether in a building or on the grounds, without the prior written permission of the campus Provost and director of Public Safety. This prohibition extends to University-owned and University-controlled locations, including sites leased for educational purposes and housing obtained through the Offices of Residence Life. It is also extends to Campus Safety.”
Junior Sociology major Tommie Lewis said, “Guns are violent. The only people that should have them are government officials and members of the military.”
While America is one of the places where it is legal to have a registered gun, other countries prohibit the ownership of guns. International student, Bas Beuerwijx said, “It is illegal to have guns in Holland.” Adding, “If no one has a gun, then no one can shoot. Guns are used for protection right? If there are no guns, there is no reason to protect.”
Harmful weapons that are not permit- ted on the Long Island University campuses are pistols, revolvers, incendiary bombs, switchblade, daggers or bludgeons, as well as harmless instruments designed to look like weapons.