I recently read another opinion piece on the site called How Much Safer Would We Be. It’s a short and sweet summary of one student’s beliefs regarding guns, concealed carry and what it would mean if the proposed lift on the concealed carry ban in UWM buildings were passed. I’m sure there are a few students out there who read it and agreed with it wholeheartedly. As a person who is well versed in the use of firearms and one who carries concealed every single day, I found a lot of things in the piece that were common opinions, but didn’t quite match up with reality.
The following are some quotes from the article and my explanations and responses to the issues brought up.
“The gun control debate has been a big one in America for some time now, but now it’s come to us here in Milwaukee.”
We recently, in 2011, had concealed carry added to legal options for bearing arms in Wisconsin. It’s been an issue for a long time.
“Milwaukee itself is not the safest area to live. I’ve lived here for 3 years, and I’ve gotten more e-mails about armed robberies and muggings than I would have liked to, but I don’t believe this bill would help anyone in our campus buildings.”
None of us want more violence. As an already gun free zone with obvious police patrolling, we’re just waiting for trouble. A lot of the robberies and muggings near campus could have been prevented with better planning and preparation. We, contrary to some people’s beliefs, don’t live in a dreamland full of peace-loving people. There are people who want nothing more than to destroy others and are just waiting for the right time. For college students to venture out without a care for their own safety is foolish. It is your own responsibility to protect yourself; the police will always take a while to reach you. Buy a knife, travel in groups, have a plan, don’t wander around alone at night. These are good tips for staying safe any place.
“Mass shootings was my first thought when I heard about the proposed bill. With the amount of campus shooting tragedies in this country throughout the years, the most recent one being in Oregon on Oct. 1, 2015, it is insane to invite more guns onto an already pretty safe campus.”
You’d be inviting guns carried in secret by responsible people who have the training and background checks completed to certify them to carry concealed weapons. It’s not like, if the bill passes, students will be bringing rocket launchers and machine guns to school strapped on their backs. The weapons will be carried privately by people who are comfortable carrying and have the experience requisite to do so.
“One must be 21 to apply for the concealed-carry license in the state of Wisconsin. That legally eliminates guns from the hands of most underclassmen. That being said, if only about 20 students take advantage of this bill out of over 30,000 and considering they only have two classes a day and spend their free time in the Gasthaus, like me, what are the chances one of them is going to be around to help in the off chance a mass shooting does happen?”
The Gasthaus is a bar. Guns are not allowed in establishments that serve alcohol. That’s included in the Wisconsin concealed carry law. It’s a big time felony and lots of jail time for anyone who does, even by mistake. Only your average underclassman is under 21. I started school at 22 and am definitely not alone in that demographic.
“Allowing this bill to be passed doesn’t mean that every student and faculty member is going to go around campus swinging guns in the air like it’s the Old West. It would likely only be a small percentage who would actually take advantage of this bill. However, it only takes one person to step foot on campus and wreak havoc. The fact that I could be sitting down at the Gasthaus having some beers during Thursday night trivia right next to someone with a gun in their pocket would make me insanely uncomfortable. Making concealed weapons legal on campus would only make it harder to identify actual criminals. That goes for the police and for the students.”
Again, this law would enable concealed carry on campus. There will be just as much gun-swinging, as you say, as there is right now. Also, not many guns fit in a pocket. They’d be holstered safely with at least a trigger guard (as the law requires) inside a jacket or under shirt. Concealed carriers are not irresponsible people. The only way we are able to retain this right in Wisconsin is by proving every day that we deserve it.
“Any ban on allowing concealed weapons in campus buildings doesn’t stop a dangerous person from bringing one in. Although we do attend a pretty safe campus, legalizing guns in our buildings only makes it easier for a dangerous person who wants cause trouble. It’s not only students and faculty who can take advantage of this bill. This goes for anybody safe, sane, or otherwise, who is allowed to use our library, eat in our union, or roam our halls.”
You’re missing the definition of concealed. Literally nothing would change for you. People would look exactly the same as they do now. Just one or two might be safely carrying a concealed weapon. Like you said above: safe, sane, but not otherwise. The concealed carry background checks are going to catch anyone with a record and gun stores will deny service to anyone acting any bit out of the normal. I’ve seen it happen many times. I am aware that there are ways for bad guys to get guns otherwise, but concealed carry allowed on campus or not, they will do violence if they mean to do violence.
“I trust the police with a gun far more than I trust any member of the general public on campus. Most of the general public does not have the proper training that cops have. I considered getting a gun for my home when my downstairs neighbor’s place was broken into and after I was mugged on my way home from work on a separate occasion. However, with my history of depression and zero knowledge of how to use a gun, I decided otherwise.”
Most of us gun owners, however, do possess the knowledge and experience to safely carry a concealed weapon. Just because you have little experience with them and are uncomfortable near them, doesn’t mean you should speak out to limit the rights of others. Perhaps go to a gun range with a friend and try some out. You might like the idea more. Without being able to even see what it’s like from the other side of the argument, you should not be able to limit concealed carry.
“A gun is not the tool to keep us safe. It is a weapon designed to put holes in people, and does not stop at the first target. Simply put, a gun’s purpose is to kill, and we don’t need that on our campus.”
A hammer is a tool too, but you wouldn’t be afraid of someone carrying a concealed (you wouldn’t be able to see it) hammer even though it’s really easy to wreck someone’s day with one. Guns have been keeping you safe your entire life. You said above that you trust the police. The only reason the police are marginally affective against violent criminals is that police carry guns. Respect the people who do violence every day to your enemies to secure the blanket of freedom that you enjoy.
To summarize this all:
- Having more guns on campus will not save us. Having more police on campus might be the answer, but concealed carry on campus is not, in my opinion. If it is, though, then strict mental health screenings and deep background checks must be conducted by the University before allowing anyone to possess firearms on campus and in campus buildings.
- Reasoning that a gun free zone is more likely to experience a shooting because concealed carry is adopted seems almost counter-intuitive to me. More guns doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be more shooting. Having more responsibly armed people on campus would actually bolster the security. Every campus and school that has ever suffered a shooting has had campus police that were not able to stop the event. Having more people trained to handle active shooters who aren’t obviously carrying guns and standing around in uniform just might help stop a shooting in its early stages. Anything that helps keep me alive longer, I will gladly accept.
- The traditional countermeasure to violence is preparation. We can only do so much, though. If someone means to do us harm at UWM, then they will be able to whether concealed carry is adopted or not. It will not affect the likelihood.
- We are currently not allowed, by law, to carry concealed outside (or inside, obviously) of campus buildings because of the elementary school that is in the center of campus. So the whole debate is moot. Like I said before, more campus police might be the answer for UWM.
- Many cities and college campuses are using concealed carry as a means to add another layer of protection for women against sexual assault and rape. This is a little off-topic, but a great side effect of the broader concealed carry debate.
To read more on the stats above and about the campus carry debate, check out these links: