The Louisville Cardinal

Letter to the editor: Grappling with gun control

Gun control is a very serious issue. It is not only about preventing firearms from getting into the hands of those who would use them illegally; it is really about preventing firearms from getting into the hands of those who would be able to save those in harm’s way.

The Survey USA poll that was also posted in the Courier Journal is misleading and I will explain why. First it indicates that “75 percent supported background checks on potential buyers before gun sales.” What people who don’t own firearms don’t understand is that already happens. When you, i.e. John Q. Citizen, go to a gun store to purchase a firearm, a background check is run on you. If you were born in the state, that can be done in several minutes. If you were born out of the state, that can take up to a few days. Once the background check is completed and you have been found to be legally able to own a firearm, the gun store will call you back in to pick up your firearm. Now the Obama administration has placed a lot of effort into closing the “gun show loophole…” However, again the administration is going after non-gun owning individuals who don’t realize that most gun show sellers are licensed gun dealers, and are required by federal law to perform background checks already.

The last bit of the survey is most important, “60 percent of respondents said that they believe that the right to own guns is more important than the current need to regulate them…” Now why could this be? They’re so dangerous? Well that is because in the United States the American people have a Second Amendment right to bear arms. The Supreme Court has confirmed that right by saying that states can regulate firearms but cannot outright ban firearms. Though the Supreme Court ruled in this way, there are still cities such as Chicago that ban handguns. Chicago last year had the highest murder rate of any other city in the United States. How could that be? They ban guns in Chicago, so they should be the safest city in the United States, right? No, criminals understand that law-abiding citizens will disarm themselves when the law requires it, and they target those places. On Sept. 10, 2012 Fox News reported that, “despite the fact that there were movie theaters within 20 minutes of the Aurora Movie Theater shooter, the shooter didn’t visit those, in fact he visited the closest one that was a gun-free-zone” (Fox News, John Lott, Sept. 10, 2012).

With all due respect to Dr. Laura McNeal, I believe she is right, but I believe she is also wrong. Dr. McNeal stated that there is “no evidence that shows that increased police presence improves school security.” And she may be partially right; she brings up “armed guards at Columbine and police presence at Virginia Tech.” However, during Columbine the federal government had in effect “The Assault Weapons Ban.” Though the ban was in effect the students of Columbine still perpetrated their crime using assault weapons and explosives. However, more recently we’re seeing that armed guards are having an impact. The Salt Lake Tribune stated that an “Armed guard disarmed teen in Atlanta school shooting, says police chief” (Salt Lake Tribune, Kate Brumback, Jan. 31, 2013).

While one armed guard can only be one place at a time, multiple armed individuals can be everywhere. In my opinion, I believe that at the college and university level, students with a conceal carry permit should have the right to carry a firearm on campus. While the University has a duty to protect its students, it is not protecting them with a single armed guard on campus. At the University of Louisville, we have many students who are former military servicemen and women. Why are they not allowed to be armed? We trust them to protect our country, but not our schools? That to me doesn’t make sense at all. If at the very least, professors (especially those who are prior law enforcement and/or military) should be allowed to be armed.

Finally, with all due respect to Dr. Jason Gainous, he is wrong here as well. Dr. Gainous supports the “assault weapons ban, the number of rounds per magazine limitation and the background checks.” I would be doing a disservice to not bring up that the Supreme Court ruled that bans on firearms are unconstitutional. So to ban “assault weapons” would be illegal with today’s Supreme Court, and I would agree with them one hundred percent. Dr. Gainous, the guns are not the problem, the guns don’t fire themselves, the guns don’t aim themselves, and the guns don’t load themselves. All of these activities are done by people who have either the mindset of killing or who have a mental defect. But it is the good gun owner whose arms you are trying to restrict who would be able to protect those who are in danger.

The government can try to ban, and try to regulate, and try to limit guns, but it will not work. The people who want to kill people will find a way to kill people. If it isn’t a gun they use, it will be a knife, if not a knife they’ll use a bomb. There is no stopping a person who intends to do people harm.

The day that I can walk outside of my home with no fear that a bad guy has a gun will be the day I consider giving mine up. However, until there is a guarantee that bad people don’t have guns, I will keep mine, and hope to God I never wind up in a situation where I would need my weapon and not have it because of unconstitutional laws put into place by the university or by anyone else.

 

David A. W. Hittle