Gun Control In The Us Criminology Essay

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According to the US News and World Report's article titled, "Timeline of School Shootings," there have been 49 school shootings from November of 1991 to February of 2008. History shows that public shootings happen most often on school campuses; not at the mall or grocery store or any other public place in our community. 49 school shootings in a 17 year span in the U.S. is an alarming number of attacks on innocent, defenseless students and faculty. Actions can be taken so that these defenseless people are allowed the means to defend themselves. The vast majority of colleges and universities do not allow concealed carry on their campus. According to the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus' website,,

There are 24 states that expressly prohibit concealed carry on college campuses by persons with a valid concealed handgun license/permit. 15 "Right-to-Carry" states leave the decision of concealed carry on college campuses entirely up to each college/university. (SCCC)

The Students for Concealed Carry on Campus are saying that half of the states in the US will not allow legal concealed carry on college campuses and in 15 states colleges and universities have the choice to allow law-abiding American citizens who legally obtained a concealed carry permit to carry their firearms on campus. The problem is, these colleges and universities choose to forbid students and faculty a means for self-defense, in most all cases. Disallowing law-abiding people who obtain a concealed carry permit to carry firearms on our nations' campuses empowers the shooters of these atrocious tragedies, while effectively disarming innocent victims. American citizens who attain a concealed carry permit or license should be allowed to carry a firearm on college and university campuses.

One major reason we should allow concealed carry on campuses is American people who possess concealed carry permits pose no new danger to society, although this is a common fear. Law-abiding citizens, who carry concealed firearms legally, by obtaining a concealed carry permit (CCP), are not criminals. Despite common fears of permit-holders endangering public safety, permit-holders have been extremely law-abiding and well behaved for 23 years. Florida passed a law in 1987 allowing citizens who establish that they were law abiding, to acquire a concealed weapons permit. There was widespread concern that the people who obtain these permits and carry concealed weapons would now pose a danger to society. People thought that these CCP owners would start shooting people over minor controversy. Michael Barone, who says in his article titled, "Feeling Safe Isn't Safe" published in the U.S. News & World Report in 2007, "When Florida passed its concealed-weapons law, I thought it was a terrible idea. People would start shooting each other over traffic altercations; parking lots would turn into shooting galleries" (41). This is still a common assumption for many Americans. There is no basis for this assumption. Law-abiding Americans are not criminals and Law-abiding Americans with their CCP are not criminals either. Barone goes on to say, "Only a very, very few concealed-weapons permits have been revoked. There are only rare incidents in which people with concealed-weapons permits have used them unlawfully. Ordinary law-abiding people, it turns out, are pretty trustworthy" (41). Barone is expressing that through personal experience from before 1987 until now, his fears of more guns in public leading to more crime were groundless, and CCP owners most definitely are not a menace to society.

The report, "Concealed Weapon/Firearm Summary Report: October 1, 1987 - September 30, 2010," compiled by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing, statistically corroborates and confirms Barone's first-hand experience. According to this report, 1,858,018 concealed weapons licenses have been issued from 10/01/1987 to 09/30/2010, and only 5,821 licenses have been revoked during that time. This means less than one third of a percent of the licenses issued, have been revoked. There are several reasons that a license can be revoked. For example, a license can be revoked if the license holder moves out of state, dies, or is convicted of a disqualifying crime. According to the same report, only 5,102 licenses have been revoked for a crime after licensure, or the person was convicted of a disqualifying crime after they were issued the license. Of those 5,102 licenses revoked for a crime after a person obtained the license, a firearm was used in the crime a meager 168 times. After some number crunching in accordance with the same Florida report, 99.7% of the people who were issued a CCP were law-abiding citizens, meaning 99.7% of the licenses we not revoked. 99.99% of the people who were issued a CCP did not use their firearm unlawfully. Concealed carry permit holders have even been found to be more law abiding than people without a concealed carry permit. According to a 2000 report by engineering statistician William Sturdevant published on the Texas Concealed Handgun Association website, "the general public is 5.7 times more likely to be arrested for violent offenses and 13.5 times more likely to be arrested for non-violent offenses, than concealed carry weapon permit holders" (Sturdevant). These are some astonishing statistics that further establish the fact that concealed carry permit holders are honest and decent citizens. The unsubstantiated conjecture of CCP-holders posing a danger to society is ill-mannered, disrespectful, and audacious. The fact of the matter is, history shows CCP-holders are law-abiding Americans, so we need to allow these people to carry their guns on campuses.

Gun bans on the vast majority of our nations' campuses are harmful policies that make campuses safer for psycho shooters, and less safe for victims. This is another reason why we should allow concealed carry on campus. Let's think about what these gun bans actually do. There are only two kinds of people that would bring firearms onto college campuses, without a gun ban. People that carry a concealed gun onto campus illegally and people who carry a gun onto campus legally via a concealed carry permit. According to the article "Concealed Carry Weapon Permits: A Second Amendment Right or a Recipe for Disaster on Our Nation's Campuses?" written by Reginald Fennell, PhD., "A study of 119 four-year colleges found that 4% of college students reported having a firearm at college, approximately 700,000 firearms based on the size of the current college population. (99)" 700,000 firearms were brought onto college campuses. Since most college campuses have gun bans in effect, close to 700,000 firearms were brought to campus illegally. A person who is already willing to carry a concealed gun illegally is likely willing to carry the concealed gun on campus whether it is made more illegal by placing a gun ban on a college campus or not. The people who are carrying a concealed firearm legally, the people who are law-abiding, will obey the gun bans; first because they are law-abiding and second, because they do not want to risk having their concealed carry permit revoked. The effect of injurious gun bans has a contra-positive effect of what they are intended for. The effects can go much further than people imagine.

Strict gun control is very dangerous and can cost hundreds of lives. According to the article, "If Each of Us Carried a Gun..."written by U.K. author Richard Munday, editor and co-author of the book Guns and Violence, "The firearms massacres that have periodically caused shock and horror around the world have been dwarfed by the Mumbai shootings, in which a handful of gunmen left some 500 people killed or wounded. For anybody who still believed in it, the Mumbai shootings exposed the myth of "gun control" (Munday)." Mr. Munday uses a prime example to display how dangerous and disadvantageous strict gun control is. India has some of the strictest gun laws in the world and also has one of the largest mass shootings in history. According to the article, "Gun ownership laws trigger Indian debate," published by The National, written by Hannah Gardner, "Along with highly restrictive curbs on the sale of ammunition and the creation of a national database of firearm owners, the new [firearm] regulations also require gun-license applicants to prove a "grave and imminent threat" to their lives in order to be approved (Gardner)." What this means is almost nobody in India can obtain a license to buy a firearm. Since almost all of the Indian population is unarmed, this Mumbai massacre was able to escalate to where it did. Keeping our nations campuses unarmed, like India, is an unrealistic hope that banning guns will make places safer. In fact it enables these tragedies to get way out of hand. Guns stop killers, disarming the public doesn't. We need to allow concealed carry on our nations' campuses before we have another Virginia Tech.

America chooses to allow law-abiding citizens, who demonstrate they can safely operate a firearm, to get a license that allows them to carry a concealed firearm. We choose to allow these people to conceal and carry a firearm almost everywhere in our community. Permit holders can carry firearms to the movies, the mall, the bank, to the park, in office buildings, but not on campuses. Why do we hold a double standard for the very places where these public shootings happen most often? If we trust these people off campus, we should trust them on campus. There is no reason to believe that when a person with a concealed carry permit steps onto a college campus, all of the sudden they are not law-abiding anymore. Living law abiding is a lifestyle, it doesn't happen by accident. When colleges implement gun bans on their campuses, they make their campus safe for shooters and unsafe for victims, which is wrong. We should allow concealed carry on campus so we can change this backwards effect of gun bans and make our campuses safer.

Allowing concealed carry on college campuses would deter some potential shooters. Studies over the years have shown that guns deter criminals. This is another essential reason why it is compulsory to allow concealed carry on campus. When the public is carrying more guns, violent crime rates are reduced, while property crimes increase. This means that criminals are avoiding life threatening situations where a victim of a confrontational crime may be armed and instead choose to commit crimes where no people are around. For example, these criminals would steal something out of a car when nobody is inside, instead of approaching somebody in a car. John Lott Jr. says in his book, "More Guns, Less Crime," "Allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns reduces violent crimes, and the reductions coincide very closely with the number of concealed handgun permits issued. Mass shootings in public places are reduced when law-abiding citizens are allowed to carry concealed handguns (19)." John Lott Jr. did an extensive and comprehensive data examination of 3,054 U.S. counties over two decades. His findings are that more guns mean less crime and allowing people to own and carry concealed firearms deter violent crimes. He is not the only one who has found this to be true. David Cola author of the article titled, "Number of Police-Officer Killings Decline as Concealed-Carry Permits Rise," agrees with Lott. According to this article, "The number of people applying for and receiving permits to carry concealed weapons has risen dramatically throughout the United States during the last two years, and it continues to rise, yet the number of felony killings of police officers has declined just as precipitously over the same period (Cola)." The article goes on to point out that as the number of people who legally carry concealed guns rise, the rate at which criminals are carrying guns declines. Since the rate at which criminals are carrying guns declines, then number of police officer killings declines also. According to the same article, "Despite the increase in the number of legally carried concealed weapons, 41 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in 2008, a decline of 17 killings from the previous year's total.(Cola)" In 2007 there were 58 police killed by armed criminals and 41 in 2008. This is a substantial reduction in police officers being killed. Armed citizens increase the risk for armed criminals, who like to avoid dangerous and grave situations, so they are less likely to use a gun in the commission of a crime. Even if allowing concealed carry on campuses does not deter potential shooters, it still holds many benefits, which is why it is vital that we allow concealed carry on campus.

Instead of giving the shooter peace of mind that there will be nobody else on campus with a gun, we should allow concealed carry on campus, so that the shooter will have much more to worry about when and if they decide to take guns onto campuses. The shooter will not know who is armed and who isn't; all the shooter will know is that people are armed and people can fight back. This thought alone could potentially deter criminals who are thinking about shooting up a campus. At minimum, if and when a public shooting takes place on one of our nations' campuses again, if we allow concealed carry on college campuses, respectable, law-abiding Americans will have the necessary tools to defend themselves and others.

Shooting sprees end with a better result when people are allowed to carry concealed firearms in the places where the shootings happen. If we can save lives by allowing concealed carry on campuses, we should allow concealed carry immediately. As most of us know, the Virginia Tech massacre was the worst school shooting in American history. According the article, "Worst U.S. shooting ever kills 33 on Va. campus." on MSNBC's website, "On April 16, 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech was stained with the blood of 32 people killed and 20 injured in the deadliest shooting in U.S. history (MSNBC)." Thirty two innocent college students had their lives taken all by the same sick man. Virginia Tech should be a lesson to us all. Virginia Tech was and still is a "gun-free" zone. This gun banned place hosted the worst shooting by a single gunman, in any public place, in U.S. history. Now compare the Virginia Tech shooting to the shooting that occurred at the Appalachian School of Law. According to the article, "3 Slain at Law School; Student Is Held," published in the NY Times, written by Francis Clines, "On January 16, 2002, there was a shooting at the Appalachian School of Law, in Grundy, Virginia, that left three people dead and three wounded when a student at the time opened fire in the school with a handgun (Clines)." According to the same article, after the initial shots were fired, two students ran to get firearms they had in their vehicles. They confronted the shooter with guns drawn, made the shooter drop his gun, then tackled the murderer. The result of the Appalachian School of Law shooting, where students had guns, was far better than the tragic result of the Virginia Tech massacre, where students did not have guns, which is a pretty good reason to allow concealed carry on campuses.

Another example of a shooting, where guns were on the victims' side turned out to be beneficial, happened in March of 2008, when a terrorist gunman opened fire in a Jerusalem seminary killing eight people. According to the article, "Arab Terrorist Attacks Jerusalem's Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva: 8 Dead," written by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz and Hillel Fendel,

The attacker entered the yeshiva and opened fire on students before he was gunned down himself by a part-time yeshiva student…The part-time yeshiva student who first shot the terrorist, 40-year-old Yitzchak Dadon, said he was in the Yeshiva's study hall when he heard the shots.  "Everyone left through a side door and I left through a window, and lied down on a roof overlooking the library... When he came out, I shot him in the head twice." (Fendel et. al)

At the time of the shooting, there were hundreds of people in the seminary. An armed student took action and killed the gunman before anybody else could be hurt or killed. The terrorist shooter had a fully-automatic AK-47 rifle and was stopped by a handgun wielding student before police could arrive. This students action probably saved more than one life and limited the damage of this shooting. When public shootings happen where guns are present on the victims' side, a common theme is the results seem to be far better than the results of shootings that happen in "gun-free" places. This is just another reason why we should allow concealed carry on our nations' campuses.

In most states in America, we choose to allow citizens who demonstrate they are law abiding to obtain a permit that allows them to conceal and carry firearms for their own protection. We trust these law-abiding Americans who carry concealed firearms at the bank, the movies, the park, and just about everywhere else in our community, but not at the places where mass public shootings happen most often. Where is the logic? If these law-abiding Americans can be trusted off college campuses, they can be trusted on campus. Having concealed carry on campus holds many potential benefits for students and faculty, but we continue to believe that people with concealed carry permits are, all of the sudden, dangerous on college campuses. "Gun-free" zones disarm victims of public shootings and empower shooters. We need to take action to give the hard-working, honest, law-abiding students and faculty the means to defend themselves and others on college campuses across America. If a person obtains a concealed carry permit, they should be able to conceal and carry a firearm anywhere they desire, whether it is to the bank, or to school. American culture is about the land of the free and the home of the brave. These "gun-free" zones are the opposite of what our culture is all about. Modern society has moved forward to make almost everything equal and fair, but has moved backward on this issue of concealed carry on campus. Is the cost of human life really worth keeping our campuses "gun-free"? No! It is time we start moving forward and allow law-abiding Americans to carry guns on our nations' campuses.