Editorial: The right to bear arms and self-defense
Published: Monday, May 9, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
The Illinois House voted to reject passing one of the most important and controversial pieces of legislation in a quite a while: the concealed carry bill that would allow permitted and trained individuals in Illinois to carry a gun on or near them at all times.
People feel a natural need to protect themselves and their families, which is why the second constitutional Amendment grants citizens the right to bear arms. However, there exists no constitutional amendment granting the right to government to limit the usage or ownership of private guns.
Convinced of the idea that more guns will equal more gun violence overall, advocates of gun control look at past social patterns in states that allow gun ownership. They emphasize that as gun ownership increases, so does homicide. But it is important to consider whether increasing gun ownership causes increasing homicide or if it is the other way around.
It all breaks down to two aspects: the willingness of citizens to protect themselves, and the notion that individual mishaps should not have national (or state-wide) consequences.
With the capability of individuals to carry guns, coupled with the proper permits and training, the common citizen is safer overall. The permission to carry a gun grants both power and responsibility. Some are afraid that granting people more power in this field will encourage more and easily provoked gun violence. Comfort may lie within the realization that a firearm does not need to actually be used in order to gain a desired effect.
Some may argue that the availability of concealed carry in places of high crime rates (like Chicago, for example) will just aid in the ease of criminals obtaining and using guns. Bluntly and honestly, criminals will acquire the weapons they wish to use, regardless of regulations – they are criminals, after all.
But what about the terrible tragedies, like at Columbine and Virginia Tech? Obviously, guns were already not allowed on the campus in which these shootings took place, but the aggressors brought the weapon anyway, so a concealed carry law (or lack thereof) would have really no effect on this. However, what would have an effect would be the possibility that other individuals at the scene had guns as well. Think about how many fewer people could have died in those situations if others had the means to stop the shooter before harming many others.
Some argue against guns in schools because of how difficult it would be to regulate at-school crime. But, if guns aren't allowed, and the legislation passes – what about accidental gun presence on campus? For example, should someone be punished because they are carrying a gun while simply passing through campus, via car or walking? Especially at campuses like DePaul's Loop and Lincoln Park Campuses, it would be difficult to determine an aggressor from an innocent bystander at that point.
This dilemma aside, it is time for people to realize the true problems that individuals face – fear, and the willingness to surrender to any force that reduces fear, sometimes jeopardizing civil rights and liberties in the process.
Benjamin Franklin said it best, "Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."
Overall, concealed carry might be just what Illinois, including Chicago, needs to dissolve the walls of fear that keep us in our homes at night.