AMES, Iowa — It could be another wave in the line of self defense on campus.
“A police officer may not be in the vicinity of you at that given moment and it is just the number of officers every town or school has. It is impossible to have someone in every area at all times,” said Iowa State University student Lydia Dingeman.
Others may see it as a liability. “There is an opportunity for misuse. An item like that falling into the wrong hands. Someone doing something when they are not clear minded or just out of curiosity,” explained ISU student Brian Gucci.
After passing through both the House and Senate this legislative session, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature would legalize stun guns on campus at Iowa’s major universities and community colleges.
The bill overrides the Board of Regents’ current ban on stun guns on campuses at University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa and community colleges. Gucci said, “Safety for some of the female students that might not be feeling safe and feel like they can get attacked at any point.”
This week, Iowa State University Police Chief Michael Newton told the Ames Tribune, “We would have preferred that they were continued to be prohibited.”
Tasers, which shoot an electric current as a projectile are not allowed, and stun guns will also be prohibited inside athletic stadiums and university hospitals. Alexa Dingeman said, “I’ve had friends that have had them but just have them to have them in a way. I’ve seen them get them out and try to zap people but on campus if it is out it is there for their protection.”
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, between 20 and 25 percent of women and 15 percent of men are victims of forced sex during college. Supporters of the bill feel stun guns could dwindle those numbers. Lydia Dingeman said, “At night time when you may be studying in the library really late and you may be walking home by yourself, it would be a great extra security blanket to have.”
It currently legal for Iowans over the age of 18 to purchase a stun gun without a permit.