ASU bans weapons, but some students fight to legalize possession

Posters plastered around ASU campuses reference the danger of hazing, bullying and assault. While ASU openly admits that students may face these threats, students are not allowed to carry weapons on campus. Guidelines in the ASU Police Department Manual state students are prohibited from being in possession of any weapon intended to inflict a wound.

In September, students who believe in self-defense took a stand, creating the organization Students for Self-Defense.

S4SD strives to create a dialogue regarding individual safety at ASU and create a movement to legalize the possession of defensive devices on campus, Jacob Pritchett, political studies senior and the club's director of outreach, said.

“We advocate for people’s right to defend themselves and we think that it’s a constitutional right, but also a human right," Pritchett said. "We don’t think people’s rights end when education begins."

Pritchett said the campus and the rest of the country would benefit from decreasing gun restriction.

“For the individual person, no matter what statistics they come up with, the individual person is definitely more safe if they are armed versus when they are unarmed. I think, regardless of the intention of the laws, the laws don’t always do what they are supposed to do,” he said.

Members said that since many incidents are consequences of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, a goal of the club is to inform students on how to best defend themselves in these situations.

“For a lot of people, college is the first time they have to look out for themselves," physics junior Edward Hughes, S4SD's president, said. "Self-defense isn't just about being physically stronger or having a weapon. Ninety percent of staying safe is being able to read a potentially dangerous situation and act accordingly."

With the current regulations at ASU, members hope to install rational policies through petition.

“If a student is accosted on campus, and they are following University policy, the only thing they can defend themselves with is something they've improvised or a pocket-knife,” Hughes said. “Do we expect the young women on our campus to be able to physically overpower their assailant if they are attacked?"

While the use of pepper spray and stun guns is forbidden at ASU, S4SD member and computer systems engineering senior Joshua Averett said that firearms are the most efficient in the long run.

“The advantage the firearm has over all other forms of defensive devices is its ease of use and the high leverage it provides in a confrontation," Averett said. "Firearms are inexpensive and will provide a greater self-defense capability than other defensive devices and techniques.”

Students interested in protesting for legalization of self-defense at ASU should visit www.s4sd.org to RSVP for the club's first official meeting Wednesday.

Related Links:

5 Common Self-Defense Misconceptions

Tempe apartment complex hosts self-defense classes for women


Reach the reporter at ncorr@asu.edu or follow @natalieorr19

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