To quote James Madison: “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” On Tuesday, the Alligator published a letter regarding the Florida Senate bill that would legalize concealed carry on campus. Most of the arguments presented in this letter, and by gun control advocates nationwide, play upon common fears and misconceptions people hold about firearms and their place on college campuses.
Letters like that one use scare tactics and ignore facts, envisioning a fictional campus where the threat of being shot is perpetual. And yet, there are 70 campuses in the U.S. which allow concealed carry, including all public universities in the state of Utah. To date, there are no recorded cases of any gun-related crime by a student with a lawfully attained concealed carry permit.
The simple fact is that many gun critics are unaware of the importance of allowing citizens their right to arms. Permitting citizens to legally arm themselves is essential to maintaining the peace: In Florida, murder rates have dropped 26 percent after concealed carry permits began being issued in 1987. Washington, D.C., however, remains the most poignant example, where, with prohibitively strict gun laws up to 2008, the murder rate was almost five times the national average. The reason is that citizens with lawfully bought firearms are not the ones committing crimes; surveys of inmates reported that 80 percent of their weapons came from family, friends, street purchases and other illegal sources. Despite regulations, criminals will find guns. One of the letters asked, “How am I supposed to defend myself against gun-toting individuals?” The answer is simple: Fire back.
Jacob Kupp is a UF student.