The recent mass shooting of seventeen students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has refocused efforts to stem the epidemic of gun violence plaguing the nation. This time the effort has been initiated and led by the surviving students, supported by their teachers, parents, and students across the country. The American Association of University Professors salutes these brave and eloquent young people.
Gun violence is not a problem limited to high schools. Colleges and universities have been sites of mass shootings since 1966 when sixteen people died and thirty-one were injured at the University of Texas at Austin.
The AAUP has long opposed and continues to oppose unequivocally any legislation or policy that would compel colleges and universities to permit firearms on campus. In this, we stand with the overwhelming majority of educators across the country.
Given the widespread availability of the most deadly weaponry and the growing number of instances in which such weapons have wreaked havoc, however, it is not sufficient only to champion the right of colleges and universities to bar their presence.
To ensure the safety of students, faculty, and others on campus, we must speak out in support of broader sensible gun control measures like those proposed by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Specifically, the AAUP calls on faculty and students, on administrators and trustees, and most of all on our political leaders to support:
- A total ban on the sale and possession of military-style automatic weapons designed solely to kill human beings and on high-capacity magazines and bump stocks;
- Comprehensive background checks for all who purchase firearms, whether in a gun store or at a gun show, with reasonable restrictions on access to weapons for those with diagnosed mental illness or with a history of violence, including domestic violence;
- A complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms; and
- Raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21.
We therefore also endorse the March 24 March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, as well as the efforts of students to protest gun violence with peaceful walkouts on March 14 and April 20.
P.S. To read or share our full statement, go here.