In the column that appeared April 16 about guns on campus, the columnist voiced his concern that allowing concealed handgun license holders the right to carry their concealed handguns on college campuses would turn college campuses into re-enactments of the Wild West. The columnist said this would happen by triggering accidental shootings and compromising campus security. This lacks the foundation in truthful and factual substantiation.
The irrational comparison between college campuses allowing concealed handgun license holders to carry on campuses and the Wild West fails to provide substance. When consideration of concealed carry laws arose twenty years ago, many predicted the thoughts of “blood in the streets” that would evolve into “Wild West showdowns.”
The dire predictions that college campuses will escalate into Wild West environments won’t come to a realization. The assumption ignores the fact that there has not been an increased rate of gun accidents since the legalization of concealed carry elsewhere, including: office buildings, movie theaters, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls and banks.
The columnist points out that Utah is the only state that allows guns on the campuses of all public universities. However, he fails to mention that there has yet to be a single incident of gun violence.
Many question the thought that the answer to violence is more guns. “More guns” is not a problem if those guns are in the hands of law-abiding citizens. Taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens only stacks the odds in favor of dangerous criminals, leaving those individuals concerned with following the rules with no recourse, in the event of the unforeseen, except to hide under their desks and hope not to die.
The columnist expresses his fears of even the slightest hint that someone may have a gun on campus. Any indication that an individual is carrying a concealed handgun is grounds for suspension or revocation of their license. When was the last time the columnist stepped out of his home and was afraid to walk down the street, step into an office building, go to the grocery store or see a new movie?
Was there any bit of fear involved in any of those actions? Probably not, even though in most right-to-carry states, the rate of concealed carry is about 1 percent. That means that, statistically speaking, one out of 100 people encountered on any given day outside of campus is carrying a concealed handgun. A fear of random gun violence is baseless nonsense because the opponents making such a claim are not apprehensive about their activities off of campus, where concealed carry is allowed, just as they won’t be apprehensive on campus, when it is allowed.
Finally, the columnist believes that just because an individual is carrying in self defense doesn’t mean he or she is any less capable of losing control of his or her emotions and turning the gun on the innocent. Contrary to popular myth, most psychiatric professionals agree that the notion of a previously sane, well-adjusted person simply “snapping” and becoming violent is not supported by case evidence.
Typically, numerous warning signs accompany a person’s downward spiral. The columnist successfully contradicts emotional reasoning with factual evidence by proposing that students need to become more alert and willing to report suspicious behavior. The columnist seems more worried about the law-abiding citizens interested in legally carrying concealed handguns on campus than about the dangerous criminals who might by illegally carrying handguns on campus.
Katie Kasprzak is a senior public relations major at Texas State University.