The Huffington Post Tyler Kingkade First Posted: 01/10/13 EST Updated: 01/11/13 EST
An Indiana Republican wants to pass a law to allow college students to carry guns around campus because, he believes, it will protect will protect women from sexual assault.
State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) recently began a push to pave way for more students armed with firearms on Indiana campuses, and he told the Associated Press he believes it'll cut back on the number of rapes in college.
"That's what's compelling about this issue, is how many female students there are around the state, who have very specific and real reasons to be afraid for their own safety on their campus," he said. "The number of sexual assault cases on campuses is alarming."
Banks never cited a specific statistic to back up his claim, but he did say the idea came from the local members of Students for Concealed Carry, which Campus Progress describes as a national organization that has played a leading role in the push for campuses to allow students to carry guns.
However, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, two-thirds of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim and 38 percent of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
Officials on Indiana's college campuses know this and they don't seem to be very supportive of Banks.
"Most sexual assaults happen between people who know one another," Debbie Melloan, Indiana University Sexual Assault Services Center counselor, told IPM. "You're going to be in a close, kind of private setting ... are you going to be willing to shoot the person that is your friend?"
Purdue University Police Chief John Cox told WLFI he doesn't believe changing the law to allow guns on campus would do much good. But Purdue student senator Zach Briggs said he believes "Concealed carry prevents crime. I don't see why we don't allow responsible college students to carry guns on campus."
A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found Americans are split 43-43 on whether guns should be allowed on campus. However, a plurality said they believe more firearms are less likely to make a college safer, and a solid majority of women oppose letting more guns on campus.
In Virginia, the state home to the deadliest U.S. school shooting on record at Virginia Tech University, 75 percent of voters oppose allowing gun owners to carry firearms on college campuses.
Currently, nearly all colleges have rules preventing students and staff from carrying firearms on campus, and a majority of university presidents oppose laws to allow guns in their buildings.
Indiana state Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) is also pushing to exempt guns made exclusively in Indiana from federal rules and regulations, the AP reports.