Rape victim to urge lawmakers to allow guns on college campuses
Updated: Mar 18, 2011 1:37 AM CDT
Carson City, NV (KTNV) – She survived a horrific attack at the hands of a serial rapist, but she’s hoping her story will help change the law and keep others safe.
Amanda Collins was one of the victims targeted in a string of attacks in and around the University of Nevada Reno campus. While her attacker, James Biela, has been sentenced to the death penalty, she still fears for others.
Collins says it’s time for state lawmakers to listen up and allow Nevada students to carry guns on college campuses.
The young woman plans to take her message to Carson City on Friday. She hopes her message and push for SB 231 will resonate with the Government Affairs Committee.
Nevada students are allowed to carry guns on campus in a limited capacity. However, this rape victim wants those prohibitions lifted.
She believes if she had been armed at school, she could’ve fought off her attacker and possibly saved another young woman’s life.
College coed Brianna Denison was raped and strangled to death during James Biela’s reign of terror in the fall of 2007.
Denison, who was a sophomore at Santa Barbara City College, was home visiting friends near the University of Reno campus when she was kidnapped.
Collins is convinced that she could have stopped Biela from getting to others if she was allowed to carry her gun at school.
“Had I been able to do so, two other rapes would’ve been prevented, and a life could’ve been saved,” said rape victim Amanda Collins.
According to Collins, Biela terrorized her at gunpoint in a campus parking garage, less than 300 yards from a campus police office. Though, she’s a licensed gun owner, she describes state law as leaving her defenseless.
“The fact that I was rendered defenseless, this man was allowed to be at large and continue to rape other women in the community,” said Collins.
Talk of allowing guns on college campuses without limited restrictions always seems to stir up a heated debate. Word of this legislation is no different. A group of UNLV professors are already speaking out against it.
“There is not really a security crisis. This bill is one that really doesn’t seem to address a Nevada problem,” said Dr. Gregory Brown, professor of history at UNLV and vice president of the UNLV faculty alliance.
Doctor Gregory Brown points to studies that argue more guns on campus only translate into more violence at school
One UNLV senior seems to agree.
“You can have somebody that just feels they’re mad at another student and just go up to them and use that weapon against them, or even with a professor,” said student Jenelle Vannoy.
The young woman who remembers being raped at gunpoint says being armed on campus would’ve actually foiled a violent attack.
“I think people lose sight of the fact that the only way to stop a bad person with a gun is with a good person with a gun,” said Amanda Collins.
Amanda Collins is hopeful SB 231 can someday become a reality for Nevada students.
Meantime, a representative from the Nevada Faculty Alliance plans to oppose the bill in front of lawmakers.