NBC Highlights Concealed Carry Movement on College Campuses
Friday's NBC Nightly News took a balanced look at the issue of whether colleges would be safer if students were allowed greater freedom to carry concealed weapons on campus. Though the report failed to delve into any supporting statistics, soundbites were featured from advocates on both sides of the issue, including Mike Guzman of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus: "This is where we see mass shootings occur, at gun-free zones, because these criminals have a government guarantee or a university guarantee that their intended victims will be unarmed and unable to defend themselves." (Transcript follows)
After the clip of Guzman, correspondent Janet Shamlian introduced a clip from Lori Haas, the mother of a school shooting victim, who "believes armed and well-intentioned students would be no match for a gunman like the one who shot her daughter." Haas: "He had two guns, he had the element of surprise. The fear that grips you when you're worried about your life is paralyzing."
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the Friday April 18 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: NBC News "In Depth" tonight, guns on campus. As we reported earlier this week, Virginia Tech has just marked the one-year anniversary of that massacre on campus. That has opened a new debate over whether students should be able to carry weapons legally. Our report from NBC's Janet Shamlian.
JANET SHAMLIAN: There's no college credit for this class, unless you consider the concealed handgun license students like Lauren Nogle could earn when they pass.
LAUREN NOGLE, TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: In today's world, it's sad to say, but you need to have a gun for self-protection, even in school.
SHAMLIAN: And yet her school, Texas State University, like most, doesn't allow guns on campus, even with a license.
MIKE GUZMAN, STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY ON CAMPUS: This is where we see mass shootings occur, at gun-free zones, because these criminals have a government guarantee or a university guarantee that their intended victims will be unarmed and unable to defend themselves.
SHAMLIAN: Mike Guzman is part of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, an Internet-based group created after the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech. They claim more than 25,000 members, and they have one goal: for owners to be able to carry their weapons concealed from the dorm to the lecture hall and everywhere else on campus.
LORI HAAS, MOTHER OF VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTING VICTIM: Absolutely not. Unequivocally no.
SHAMLIAN: Lori Haas believes armed and well-intentioned students would be no match for a gunman like the one who shot her daughter, Emily, at Virginia Tech. Emily survived.
HAAS: He had two guns, he had the element of surprise. The fear that grips you when you're worried about your life is paralyzing.
SHAMLIAN: A year after the massacre, Virginia Tech now has one of the largest groups of the guns on campus movement. Only Utah allows permit holders to carry guns on all public university campuses, though eight states have legislation pending. One year later, 32 stones line a footpath at Virginia Tech, each marking a life lost, amidst a growing debate over whether allowing guns on campus might prevent further tragedy or cause more pain. Janet Shamlian, NBC News, Blacksburg, Virginia.