Conceal and carry

The hot topic on the Mizzou campus lately is a student body vote on the issue of conceal and carry on campus. Although the vote doesn’t actually determine anything, the student government organization is looking to get a consensus of opinion, and the overwhelming view seems to be against conceal and carry. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this, but it is a complicated issue, and there are some important things to think about before making decisions.

I don’t think conceal and carry would increase crime. For one, criminals carry their firearms regardless of the laws, so legislation on this issue would only really affect law-abiding citizens, who are most likely to only be using their weapons for protection. Research has shown that the majority of gun-related crimes take place in “gun-free” zones, so those who want to hurt people with weapons will carry them regardless of the rules. A criminal is not going to be deterred by a law banning weapons; however, an upstanding citizen may carry a weapon in defense if it’s allowed and – if he or she is there at the scene of a crime – could have a positive effect on the outcome of a dangerous situation.

It’s also true that the majority of school shootings have taken place on “gun-free” campuses, including Virginia Tech. In these instances, the students conducting the shootings were not registered or licensed to carry weapons (although in some high school shootings their fathers were), yet they did and terrible destruction ensued. Just imagine if one student or professor had had a gun with which to stop the violence. Imagine the lives that could’ve been saved.

Some worry about increased gun violence in general. And yes, it is kind of scary to think of someone walking up to a crime and whipping out a gun in hopes of stopping it. That could get dangerous and complicated very quickly. It’s true that more guns won’t make the world safer, but will more gun laws? It’s not guns that kill people, it’s the decisions of those who carry guns.

But on a college campus, is this really going to make a difference? Passage of a conceal and carry law would not lighten the regulations on purchasing and owning a weapon. Anyone who wants to carry a gun would still need a license and registration and would have to pass background checks and rules for owning a firearm. How many people on a college campus are going to qualify for that? Most students don’t even meet the age requirement for carrying or owning a weapon, so it kind of seems that this issue is blown way out of proportion.

In my opinion, conceal and carry would not really change things, especially on a college campus. As much as gun violence is a problem that needs to be addressed, I think there are more direct ways of combating this crime, since laws don’t really phase those committing the violence and those following the laws aren’t the ones we need to worry about.

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