Guns in School and at the Car Dealership?

Man, oh man, the world is going crazy (or at least crazier than it already was). The most recent item: legislation is being introduced in Michigan to allow people (who have been through background checks and have the proper permits) to carry guns onto college campuses in that state. The reasoning for the bill:

Richardville says crimes occur on college campuses just like in other places.He argues people with the proper training and background checks to get a permit should be allowed to carry guns for their protection while on campus.

Crimes occur on campuses. That is true. Sometimes even violent crimes involving weapons, including guns, are committed on university campuses.. Virginia Tech comes to mind. And it is true that someone with a gun could have been able to stop that tragedy sometime before it finally did end. However, there is no guarantee that someone witha  gun could have stopped the shooter. In fact, the shooter could have killed the person with a legal permit to carry a concealed firearm, thereby gaining another firearm to help him continue his murderous rampage. Unlikely? Sure, but not impossible.

I do not have a problem with people owning guns. As American citizens, that is their right. I do, however, have a problem with people carrying loaded guns on the streets, in movie theaters, restaraunts, and college campuses. Guns are dangerous. Sure, “they don’t kill people, people do,” but they are the tools that are used to kill. A gun has no other purpose other than to be used in the act of taking something’s life, whether it is a deer or a human. And yes, I realize that the bill wants to allow those who qualify for concealed permits to bring guns to campus; it is not advocating for a free-for-all Wild West style campus system where everyone is packing heat, but that does not mean there is an inherent danger in a bill like this.

The bill wants to make campuses safer, and allow for the possibility that “responsible” gun packing civilians are able to defend themselves if the need arises on campus, as well as to make campuses safer. The gesture is noble. I believe that people should be able to defend themselves, and that universoty campuses should be safe places where the focus is on learning and not having to fear for your life. I know, however, that I personally would not  have felt comfortable if one of my university classmates came into class with a gun, assuming I knew about it because it would have been concealed.

In fact, I would have found it a distraction and my heart rate/anxiety would increase tenfold because there was someone with a (probably) loaded weapon in my classroom, a place where there is already enough anxiety due to normal college life circumstances (homework, papers, classroom discussion, relationships, etc…). Allowing weapons on campus, be they knives, guns, tazers, is not conductive to a positive and safe learning environment. Sure, there is the off chance that someone with a legally concealed weapon will be able to stop a madman killing his way across campus, but that scenario is unlikely and, in my mind, not justified enough to  allow weapons on college grounds, especially considering the other dangers and problems that could present themselves.

The chances are that if you have a concealed weapons permit you are a rational and responsible person. At least most of the time. We all get a little rowdy or out of control sometimes. Especially when we are young and there is alcohol involved. Well, people on college campuses generally tend to be young consumers of alcohol who sometimes get rowdy. It is then possible that if there was a party on campus where booze was being (legally or illegally, it doesn’t matter because alcohol consumption happens on campus despite drinking age or campus rules) imbibed someone could start a fight. This also happens a lot at college parties because people get drunk and rowdy and are quick to take offense. Then imagine if one of the participants in the scuffle had a gun, and being drunk and not in his or her normally rational and responsible right mind, pulls said gun out (which he or she is carrying legally because of the concealed weapons permit) and uses it to settle the dispute. That is definitely not making campuses any safer.

I know the above example is a bit of a stretch. Any responsible gun owner should know not to bring a weapon to a party (unless it’s a hunting party), but sometimes people don’t do the responsible thing. Take drunk driving, for example. People go out to the bars (drive), knowing that they are going to get drunk. Then at the end of the night they get back into their vehicle and attempt to drive home–a stupid and illegal act to be sure, but it does happen, a lot.

On a somewhat related note, last month in Missouri (what is up with state’s whose name starts with M?) a car dealer was giving away a voucher for a free Ak-47 or 250 dollars in gas vouchers with the purchase of a truck. Of course those choosing the gun option had to go through the standard three day waiting period and background check, but this is still insane to me. I mean, it’s a clever marketing strategy, but ultimately it is just putting more weapons in circulation, assault weapons at that, and that is not good. Especially in light of the rising tensions and people openly (and legally) carrying weapons to some events where President Obama has spoken (I’m looking at you Arizona).

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