Monday, April 5, 2010

Standing up for their rights

The New Britain Herald recently ran an article about a group of students standing up for their right to carry firearms. CCSU, like many colleges and universities, maintains that they are a 'gun free zone'. This is allegedly a way to keep down gun related violence in certain areas. Unfortunately this practice does not work out as planned. The vast majority of shootings that have occurred in the past decade or so, such as the Columbine massacre or the more recent shooting at Virginia Tech have happened in 'gun free zones.' One student in the article referred to gun free zones as "disarmed victim zones" and he was unfortunately correct.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting several students who owned firearms said that they wish they had been carrying that day, despite the ban. Add that to the numerous cases where a would be gunman was thwarted by an armed civilian before the police could respond and you have a compelling argument. A friend of mine in college was fond of saying "an armed society is a polite society." I don't necessarily agree, but an armed society that is respectful of guns and their use is a safer society. How many accidental shootings occur every year in homes? How many of those victims were taught to respect firearms and handle them safely? It is not the mere presence of the guns that causes the accidents, it is the lack of respect and knowledge. In St. Lawrence County of New York, which once boasted the highest gun per capita ratio in the state, gun related violence and injuries were lower than anywhere else.

As long as we are society which permits the private ownership of guns, gun free zones will not work. We can not isolate ourselves in imaginary bubbles to try to keep out the rest of society. All we do is create an are where potential gunmen know they will find little to no resistance. I applaud the bravery of these students to take a stance for what they believe in, especially when it runs so contrary to popular opinion.

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