When I read columnist Jeff Nadel’s op-ed in The Daily Pennsylvanian, advocating that students and faculty should be legally allowed to carry their handguns with them on campus, I was appalled. The idea is myopic in scope and puts our campus on a reckless path to a more dangerous future.

Penn isn’t a remote vacant wilderness. We have been afforded the luxury of having trained policemen in our city who keep the streets safe and the extra security of having our own bicycle crew around Locust Walk late at night. We’ve been fortunate not to reside on a campus where students have been shot defenselessly in a classroom, library or other major campus facility. If this were the case, it would be making headlines on the front page of the very publication you’re now reading this op-ed in.

The mixed levels of maturity of our campus culture don’t ensure that students will be “studious” about possessing these handguns. Just as many cell phones and laptops get lost or stolen, with such a policy in place, you could expect guns to be as well. Imagine Fling concerts or any alcohol-heavy party weekend now having the element of guns around in the midst. The security risks would now be heightened and create fatal problems that even MERT could not solve in a night.

People can spend all day producing hypothetical situations and cynical what-ifs supporting the illusion that Penn students are defenseless. The argument that our campus isn’t safe to the point where we should carry guns on campus is a non-issue. Our energies and focus would be best served trying to help make the very communities and environments around us better rather than finding ways to put our campus into a militant state.

Ernest Owens is a College senior. Email him at owense@sas.upenn.edu or follow him @MrErnestOwens.

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