The Patriot Position

Recent crime reports highlight a common theme within the FMU Campus Police Department and the FMU administration—a failure to enforce criminal charges regarding illegal weapon possession.    

Though the possession of weapons on school property is against both state and university law, oftentimes, campus police will drop charges or transfer their responsibility to Student Life. While the administration should certainly be aware of threats to campus, what authority do they have to handle crimes? What systems do they have in place to ensure a change in the students’ behavior and safety for the school?   

Many campus police officers claim to factor in the background of a student or staff member when considering criminal charges. For example, in the Jan. 6 incident, the responding officer decided not to press charges against a temporary employee for illegal weapon possession without a Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP) because he did not think a felony would benefit the man in the future.    

While we understand the argument for second chances and allowing others to learn from their mistakes, years of statistical data regarding school shootings provokes a serious question: are the powers assigned to protect us doing enough?    

It is easy to consider the possibility of intent. Maybe they were on their way to or from a hunting trip. Perhaps they were driving their guardian’s vehicle to school that day. What if they were completely harmless, and the gun was an unfortunate coincidence?    

If that is the case, shouldn’t we let the courts decide? In theory, if it is truly an unfortunate coincidence, there would be sufficient evidence or argument to support innocence. If courts want to consider a clean criminal record, it is their prerogative, not campus police’s.   

Of course, there is a humanitarian argument to be made, but are we willing to jeopardize the safety of our university based on a subjective judgment call?   

When we consider the 2021 Clery Report, we can see there were seven illegal weapon possession arrests between 2018 and 2020 and zero weapon possession violations referred for disciplinary action. In the same time frame, there were 74 drug law violations referred for disciplinary action. It should be noted that arrests do not account for every incidence of a violation.   

With two reports in just the first two months of 2022 supporting a lack of serious consequences regarding illegal weapon possession for a staff member and a student, we have to question the system in place at FMU.    

Why would campus police criminally charge for drug possession but allow Student Life to handle illegal weapon possession? One could argue drugs/narcotics are far less deadly than a firearm on a larger scale. Tragedies caused by firearms in schools date back to 1966, yet our university prioritizes drug possessions.     

We want to leave you to consider this: there have been 62 recorded school shootings since Jan. 1, 2020, and 12 were in 2022. Are we sure we’re willing to so easily overlook possession of firearms on campus?