Today Jan Brewer, the Gov of Arizona, vetoed a bill aimed at allowing concealed weapon permit holders to legally carry on state college campuses. This is a tragic veto of a bill I think really needs passing. Gov. Brewer claimed she vetoed the bill because she felt it wasn’t clear enough and may allow weapons on K-12 school grounds. I suppose that is a decent reason, and since I know she’s pro-Second Amendment I tend to believe her. Unfortunately, the debate has moved to a point beyond the framers’ intent, in my opinion. I’ll briefly summerize my point of view.
First, the Second Amendment declares the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. To me, this means the government should not make laws limiting gun ownership, except in the most limited cases. The government is charged with protecting the rights and freedoms of its citizens. Allowing them to protect their life and property by protecting thei right to firearms is fundamental. The Second Amendment is not meant solely to protect my right to go to the turkey woods (like I will be this weekend), it is also meant to protect my right to defend myself, my family and my property. When government (at any level) restricts my right to defend my life it should be in the narrowest of instances.
Second, I’m maginally ok with requiring a permit, since it ensures people know how to safely handle a gun, but beyond that goal the rigorus hoops and checks a license often requires erect a barrier to self-defense. States like New York and Chicago are preventing their citizens from adequately protecting themselves. The police cannot respond in enough time to stop most crimes, they are typically there to peice together what happened. Laws that require excessive permits and paperwork only serve to prohibit law abiding citizens from ensuring their own safety.
Third, there is no guarantee a violent crime will take place where I can “legally” carry my weapon. In fact the crimes we read about in the papers almost always occur in a “gun free zone.” Limiting my right to carry a gun anywhere makes criminals aware that I am unarmed and vulnerable. Preventing carrying weapons on campus means students cannot defend themselves from an attacker, mugger or robber. Sure, there’s those pretty blue lights but they only serve to allow the police to find a rape victim after the case. If she had a .38 in her purse perhaps the police would find the would-be rapist held at gun point by the would-be victim. I read an administrator arguing against this law because he said it would cause injuries, I argue not allowing guns creates violence. Just ask students at Virginia Tech. They were forced to do nothing as a CRIMINAL threatened their lifes, it wasn’t a legal gun owner. Besides, the whole point of a concealed weapon is that you do not know it’s there. Students who get a permit and responsibly carry will not be brandishing their weapons. If those guns are used it will overwhelmingly be to prevent the loss of life or property, just as the mountains of evidence suggest.
Our Second Amendment should be given out liberally. Under rare and strict circumstances should it be limited. There is no reason American college students old enough to fight in Iraq shouldn’t be able to protect themselves from criminals seeking to do them harm.