Faculty Debate Series: Gun Control
Source: Texarkanagazette.com published April 12, 2013
Professors debate with both barrels
By: Marie Martin - Texarkana Gazette
Two Texas A&M University-Texarkana professors on Thursday debated the pros and cons of gun control in public K-12 schools and college campuses.
Tom Jordan, who holds a doctorate in criminal justice, supported guns on campus under certain circumstances. Lawrence, who holds a doctorate in educational psychology, opposed it.
Dr. Craig Nakashian, an assistant professor of history, served as the moderator and introduced the professors.
Nakahsian said Jordan bought his first gun at age 12 and is a 30-year member of the National Rifle Association.
Nakahsian said Lawrence is an author and the chairwoman of A&M-Texarkana’s Education Department, and was the director of ArtsSmart Institute for Learning at Texarkana Regional Arts Council and Humanities for about five years.
Lawrence—citing a long list of statistics about national reports on crime, school gun crime and gun ownership—said she is especially concerned about faculty and students bringing guns to school.
However, Lawrence’s cited statistics showed that as gun ownership increases, crime decreases. She said in 2001, 84 out of every 100 people in the United States owned a gun. In 2007, 88.8 out of every 100 people were gun owners, the highest number in the world. Lawrence said gun murders in 2010 were the lowest since 1981.
“With lots of guns, we are considered a violent country,” she said.
Lawrence also said gun manufacturing in the United States doubled from 2001 to 2007, 3.7 million to 6.1 million.
Lawrence questioned whether bringing guns on campus would make a campus safer. She said a teacher who carries a gun on campus could make a student feel less safe and insecure. The student might fear heated dialogue or debate with a teacher or may grow to fear the teacher, Lawrence said.
She said in the past 15 years, gun crime has decreased as a result of zero tolerance of fire arms on America’s school campuses.
Jordan said he agrees with Lawrence that gun sales have had a huge increase in the past 20 years. And “violent crime went crashing down” as a result, he said.
The crime rate today is as low as it was in 1967-68, Jordan argued.
Jordan also said when gun-related homicides are calculated, a hospital’s trauma care should be considered as a factor in the death.
In support of teachers carrying guns on campus, Jordan cited Israel’s reponse after several school shootings. He said teachers were permitted to open carry and school shootings decreased.
In response, Lawrence said though Israel’s school shootings decreased, suicides by Army personnel increased, causing Israeli officials to ban soldiers from taking guns home during furlough.
Both professors were concerned about mental health issues of potential gun owners. However, Jordan said if the data for mental health patients and gun ownership were merged, he feared patients would not visit their mental health counselors.
Lawrence said in a survey done on American college campuses, 93 percent of the college and university health centers said they could not keep up with the demand of mental health issues on campuses, and adding guns to the crisis would just make matters worse.
During the summary portion of the debate, Lawrence said the two professors definitely agreed on two topics: there are tons of guns in the United States and U.S. citizens like to kill each other.
Jordan said teachers and faculty will not be able to rely solely on police officers when an active shooter is in a school building. He suggested training and arming selected administrators and teachers in case of emergency