COLUMN: Legally carrying on campus is a right
From the right
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 26, 2013 00:09
Recent mass shootings in the U.S. and abroad have brought the issue of gun ownership to the public forum yet again. Should laws be passed to further restrict gun ownership? Can more be done to stop such senseless violence? If so, what?
The problem with the gun control ownership debate is the passion and emotion on both sides of the issue. It’s difficult to step away from those emotions because of the lives affected by gun control laws and gun ownership. We need more sensible and fact-based gun laws, not more emotionally charged political debates.
Utah’s gun laws are sensible and fair.
In order to obtain a concealed weapons permit, a person must be 21 years or older and take a four-hour class in which they learn laws pertaining to gun ownership and gun safety tips. They must also submit their fingerprints in order to pass a local, state and federal background check. This process is not over-burdensome; it is a fair process that encourages responsible gun ownership.
According to law, students here at USU and other public universities throughout Utah can carry a concealed weapon on campus if they have a permit. Weapons cannot be stored in university housing due to other regulations.
I personally wouldn’t carry a weapon on campus, but I respect the freedom of others to do so. Those who have obtained a concealed weapons permit have proven they are responsible gun owners.
Eliminating guns from American households has an inverse effect on gun violence. One might expect fewer guns means less gun violence, but these statistics show otherwise.
Chicago, a city where the sale of firearms is illegal and concealed and carry permits are restricted, suffered 28.4 homicides for every 100,000 people in 2012. Houston, a city of comparable demographics and size, where firearms are abundant and concealed and carry permits are legal, only suffered 9.6 homicides for every 100,000 people. The American people have the right to defend themselves against criminals who illegally obtain firearms.
Instead of passing laws that harm responsible, law-abiding citizens more than criminals, lawmakers should redirect their efforts on the root of the problem. Many of the recent mass shootings were conducted by individuals struggling with mental health issues. For some inexplicable reason, guns have been blamed for these horrific incidents. Mental health has been mostly ignored. There are countless individuals throughout the country who struggle with a wide variety of mental health issues. If treated properly, they can and do lead perfectly normal lives. Unfortunately mental health is a taboo topic not seriously and openly discussed, despite the recent wave of violence.
Those who break the law should be punished for their crimes. Those who obey the law deserve the right to protect themselves and their families.
We need to do a better job encouraging responsible gun ownership by passing sensible and reasonable concealed weapons permit laws. We must provide help for those struggling with mental health issues and be sure that their access to guns is limited. We should not further infringe upon the freedoms of law abiding citizens by passing restrictive and unreasonable gun laws. What sets America apart from the rest of the world is the liberty we enjoy and the trust our government places in its people.
– Andrew is a former news writer for The Utah Statesman and a current member of the USU College Republicans. Send any comments to email@example.com.