To pro­tect cam­puses, there must be a bet­ter way

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - EDITORIAL PAGE -

Re­gard­ing state Rep. Char­lie Collins’ cam­pus-gun bill, I feel it is a well-in­ten­tioned but risky so­lu­tion to the threat of a gun­man on the school cam­pus.

A per­son with a con­cealed-carry li­cense typ­i­cally has re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately one-half day in­struc­tion in gun op­er­a­tion, safety and in the laws that govern car­ry­ing a con­cealed weapon. Rep. Collins ini­tially ob­jected to re­quir­ing any ad­di­tional train­ing. But will even the 16 hours of in­struc­tion added in the lat­est ver­sion of the bill pre­pare an armed stu­dent or em­ployee for the chal­lenge of an un­ex­pected life or death event in a crowded class­room?

Po­lice de­part­ments don’t think so. They fo­cus in­ten­sively on an of­fi­cer’s abil­ity to cope with the “fight or flight” re­sponse to such events. In high-stress sit­u­a­tions, de­ci­sion-mak­ing tends to be­come more in­stinc­tual than rea­son­able, and fine mo­tor skills are sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced. A com­bi­na­tion of train­ing, men­tal prepa­ra­tion and ex­pe­ri­ence is the only an­ti­dote. But even when they re­ceive reg­u­lar re­cur­rent train­ing, ex­pe­ri­enced and pro­fes­sional po­lice of­fi­cers still can and do make tragic er­rors in the heat of the mo­ment.

What can we ex­pect from a non- pro­fes­sional? I don’t think it is wise to as­sign this re­spon­si­bil­ity to a barely trained and in­ex­pe­ri­enced stu­dent or univer­sity fac­ulty mem­ber or em­ployee. There must be a bet­ter so­lu­tion. JAMES JERNIGAN Fayet­teville

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