Williams: Concealed carry should be enough for gun owners

By Alicia Williams, Opinion Columnist

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Virginia are all considering legislation that would allow people to carry concealed guns on campus-a right that people on Utah’s college and university campuses already have. None of the states were successful.

The desire to protect oneself at school has become an ever-growing issue, primarily because of the 28 attacks at schools in the United States since May 2000. Although it’s not a new trend, a 2002 study conducted by the Secret Service and Department of Education examined evidence from 37 attacks of targeted schools between 1974 and 2000. All 65 of these shootings occurred at gun-free zones.

Utah is the only state that has a law allowing people permits to carry concealed weapons on campus. The law was adopted in 2004, and in September 2006 Utah’s Supreme Court overruled the U’s former campus gun ban.

Now, more than ever, students and teachers from schools across the United States are demanding this same right to bear arms. There’s even a national organization called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus that has more than 30,000 members and focuses on changing laws to allow citizens to carry concealed hand guns on campus.

The major issue at the U isn’t whether or not you can carry, but the ability to carry openly versus concealed. Debates ran rampant on campus until the issue ultimately died at the Senate in March. And that’s exactly where it should stay-dead.

The ability to conceal a weapon is all that is needed to protect yourself and your fellow classmates from a targeted attack. It might be a pain and not as comfortable to conceal your weapon, but it is effective and efficient.

Utahns should be thankful they are allowed to have guns on campus and quit trying to push the system. It could very easily backfire and inspire gun opponents to try and reinstate the original ban.

“The problem with carrying open is someone wanting to take your weapon away from you,” said Sergeant Arb Nordgren of campus police. “It’s the biggest concern for a police officer.”

Crime statistics from the U’s Department of Safety report zero firearm incidences on campus in 2005 and 2006. Perhaps criminals with guns don’t want to work in these areas because they understand there’s a possibility their victims could be packing.

The requirements of being allowed to conceal carry are much more stringent than open carry. To receive a concealed weapons permit you must be 21, have a valid driver’s license, be fingerprinted, have an extensive FBI background check conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and pass a written and shooting range test.

The BCI reports that only about 2 percent of permits are revoked each year. This helps guarantee that people who obtain and keep CWPs are mostly law-abiding citizens who, unlike open carry individuals, have proven their worthiness to carry concealed guns.

Most people don’t like guns. They don’t want to see them, especially at school. They want to believe they are in a perfectly safe bubble and think guns are for bad guys and violent movies. It’s wasted energy to attempt to change their minds. Trying to force acceptance by openly carrying will not change their opinions. It will only create a hostile environment and increase their efforts to eliminate guns on campus.

When you conceal carry, nobody is the wiser. People who are anti-gun don’t have to get nervous, and permit holders still have their weapons with them on campus. U gun owners should have appreciation for all they enjoy, not muddle the system with unnecessary demands. Concealed carry is a perfect scenario and something many other states can only dream about. Let’s just allow open carry to rest in peace.

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