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Editorial: Concerns with feeling safe surrounded by guns

Published: Monday, May 9, 2011

Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08

You're walking to your car after a long day at work or school, and you're approached by a person who skillfully points a gun to your head. Any items that were once in your hand are scattered on the ground. If you make any sudden movements you're dead. You are helpless.

If you had a gun on you, would you have been able to use it? At this point, no, you wouldn't.

In March, gun control advocates and many politicians were confident the concealed carry bill would pass. Earlier this week supporters of concealed carry were making progress until Governor Pat Quinn vowed to veto the bill although House passed it on Tuesday.

Kevin O'Brien, 22, is a senior at DePaul University who feels strongly uneasy about the entire debate surrounding this bill.

"I would not feel safe if I was sitting next to someone on the train or bus and they were carrying a weapon," said O'Brien. "I don't trust a stranger to protect me, let alone trusting them to carry a gun," he said.

Trusting the system is another issue, amongst not being able to trust a stranger. Laws in the gun permit system may be one of many reasons why the bill has been debated. Flaws would enhance the chances of someone carrying a gun that is not capable of using it correctly, has a mental illness or a criminal.

Rose Garcia, 23-year-old senior political science major at DePaul University would not use a gun even if she was legally allowed to carry one. "Sure, it would ease my mind a bit and make me feel like I can protect myself," Garcia said. "But would I honestly be able to kill another human, even if my life was in danger? I don't think so," she said.

A person's morals, religious or other, will not allow the killing of another human, even if their life depended on it.

Allowing a person to legally carry a gun will give people the incentive of using a weapon against those who already have intentions of using a weapon, whether law permits it or not.

In 2010, 80 percent of all murders in Illinois were firearm murders.

Adam Marosi, 22, is a witness to those statistics. Marosi is student who was attending Northern Illinois University during the 2008 shootings. "The shootings took place on my birthday, a day I will never forget," Marosi said. "Never, in any situation, would I think allowing students to carry a gun would have stopped this student from shooting five of my classmates," he said.

I know, concealed carry excludes students or anyone on campus from carrying a gun, but as current Illinois law forbids concealed carry, what's stopping anyone from walking into a school and going on a shooting rant? Nothing. And passing a law that allows concealed carry everywhere but school campuses would not have stopped the Northern Illinois University shooting, the Columbine shootings, or any other school shooting either.

Students, professors and staff have a right to be protected and feel safe on campus but that security is not the student's job. "Passing this bill would undermine police officer's position," said Marosi.

"There are problems in current school security as the law stands now. Let's fix those issues first before we allow any citizen to carry a weapon," he said.

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Wed May 11 2011 02:18
I'm sure that everyone who has read and posted a comment on this article can agree on one point: gun violence both in Chicago, which bears the stigma of being nicknamed the "murder capital of the world," and the United States in general is a serious problem that we need to address. Having said that, while I do not agree with every argument advanced by the author (I would have no moral reservations about blasting someone trying to rob me), I agree with her conclusion that the decision not to pass the concealed weapon law. It has been pointed out here that the statistic cited in the article "in 2010, 80 percent of all murder in Illinois were firearm murders" could necessarily illustrate the need to allow ordinary citizens to carry weapons on them. I do not dispute the logic of that argument; however, an equally reasonable argument could contend that the percentage might increase given the likelihood of more guns being on the street. What is more, I'm not comforted by the fact that a stranger might be able to come to my aid if I'm was being mugged. There are too many unknown factors: has the person received weapon safety training? Are they a good shot? Will they miss me and hit the suspect? While it is true that there cannot be a cop on every street corner, investing more resources in the police department seems like the better approach to me. We also must not forget that, in some states, particularly those in southern part of the U.S., a person can easily obtain unlicensed weapon by going to a gun show where there is no oversight to how many guns a buyer can purchase. Equally scary is that there is no background check being conducted. What is the stopping that individual from transporting his cache to a major city such as Chicago? The fact is that this proposed piece of legislation would create more problems and unanswered questions than it would solve. In general, people like to think that they are in control of their surroundings, and at first glance, being able to carry a concealed weapon appears the best way to protect yourself, but I fear that this is a prime example of the "law of unintended consequences."
Tue May 10 2011 20:08
So people wouldn't feel safe knowing a stranger had a gun but would gladly let someone who says they are law enforcement protect them using the same weapon that scares the shit out of them? What about good Samaritans who happen to be at the right place at the right time when law enforcement isn't? Would you want to be held at gunpoint but some nutjob and tell the person with a firearm who is willing to help you "No, thats okay I think I'll wait for the police because I don't trust you with a gun".

Plus this bill won't be baseless, people have to apply for gun permits and need to have clean records before even being allowed to hold a firearm and you people are ignoring that fact. Take a look at the application for a gun license and then tell me how "dangerous" these people are.

It isn't the author who is driven by emotion, its you people. I guarantee if your livelihood depended on it, you'd pistol whip the next prick that walked right by you.

Mon May 9 2011 21:13
Sorry to break it to you Angeliki, but that gun on someones person is not their to protect you. I doubt if that peaceably armed citizen has given any thought to you other than an assessment if you're a valid threat or not.
USMC Limey
Mon May 9 2011 15:45
It makes me giggle when I see the same pointless statistics being rattled out by those opposed to allowing law abiding citizens to level the playing field against criminals. "in 2010, 80 percent of all murders were firearm murders". This isn't a reason to prevent law abiding citizens from carrying a gun, it's a reason why they should. This statistic shows that the criminals already have the guns. If you truly want to eliminate 100% of firearm deaths then you should be working on time travel to prevent the invention of gunpowder. The next best thing is to at least give victims a fighting chance.
Incidentally the scenario spelled out in the first paragraph is perfectly survivable. The best reaction is to dodge to the left whilst drawing your own weapon. This allows you to get the muzzle of your opponents gun off you whilst allowing you to draw yours and equalize the situation. As soon as your gun is on target squeeze off a round and repeat as necessary. "Why to the left ?" you ask. Because chances are that your assailant is right handed. Most right handed shooters pull thier shots to the left (your right in this case) especially when startled. Let's face facts, criminals expect you to comply, the thought of pulling the trigger may not have even crossed thier mind. Moving to the left creates the greatest distance between you and the bullet. Also if you are one of the majority of people who carry a firearm it is on your right hip and therefore your arm will be tucked close to your body as you draw rather than flailing into the path of the oncoming bullet.
Mon May 9 2011 15:16
More guns in educated hands leads to less violent crime. Time and time again statistics show this (the numbers that aren't heavily skewed by the Brady campaign). Why is this? Because the genie is out of the bottle folks. Criminals wont give up their guns. Police cant be everywhere to protect us (and the Supreme court says they don't even have the obligation to). So we have to protect ourselves. (we should be able to anyway). That means that we need guns too. The Supreme court has also rules that the 2nd amendment applies to individuals - that means the right to keep AND BEAR arms. Concealed or open carry is the only solution. Pass the law and get your CHL permit ASAP!
Mon May 9 2011 13:47
To quote the article: "A person's morals, religious or other, will not allow the killing of another human, even if their life depended on it."
If this is truely the authors opinion then I would like to know what world they live in? Some people believe this, not all, not me. If my life or the life of my family or friends can be preserved by actions that I can take in legal defense in the event of a crime, I do not consider this a hard choice or conflicting with my morals.
Mon May 9 2011 13:45
To quote the article: "A person's morals, religious or other, will not allow the killing of another human, even if their life depended on it."
If this is truely the authors opinion then I would like to know what world they live in? Some people believe this, not all, not me. If my life or the life of my family or friends can be preserved by actions that I can take in legal defense in the event of a crime, I do not consider this a hard choice or conflicting with my morals.
Mon May 9 2011 12:03
It is too bad that this piece is based on emotions rather than data. If you look at the data we know what happens, we don't have to imagine.

48 states allow concealed carry, and the hysteria of blood in the streets has never been the case.

Two states allow concealed carry on college campuses and there have not been problems.

The data is not consistent with the emotional argument, but should public policy be based on data or emotions?

Montana Libertarian
Mon May 9 2011 11:40
A few points:

You are responsible for your own security. That's always been the case and it will continue to be the case. Society cannot afford enough police to have them everywhere, and response times are normally in minutes or tens of minutes, not in seconds.

Disarmed people have only two choices if confronted with an assailant bent on murder: to run like rabbits or die like sheep.

It is incredibly naive to assume that a law forbidding the carrying of weapons will work. We have such laws already that forbid the use of cocaine, marijuana, drunk driving, theft and murder. I haven't noticed that any of those behaviors have declined to zero occurrences.

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