April 16, 2007: A single student armed with two handguns opens fire at Virginia Tech. Thirty-three people were killed and 23 were injured.
January 8, 2011: a lone gunman arrives at a Tucson Safeway and opens fire on a crowd. Six people were killed, and 14 were injured, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
July 20, 2012: a lone gunman opens fire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora. Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured.
In each case, someone after the fact has speculated that if only someone had put the shooters down before they could start shooting, the shootings would never have happened.
This is the “concealed carry makes us safer” argument. Proponents of this argument argue that the best way to either stop or deter potential shooters is to allow concealed weapons into as many places as possible. The theory being that lone gunman will not bother attacking because they know that they may be shot themselves, or that if they actually do, the situation can be ended before anyone dies.
In some cases, this might actually work. In the VT shooting, for instance, there was a period of some two hours where someone could have stopped the shooter. In some cases, a concealed weapon might have just made things worse. There was a concealed carrier at the Tucson shooting, who was about to shoot the man he believed to be the shooter only to stop with the realization that he was instead about to shoot the man who had tackled the shooter.
Does it actually make us safer? Nobody knows. Gun rights advocates say yes, gun control advocates say no. Neither side has overwhelming concrete proof that they are correct. There are only incidents; incidents that are largely situational and do not set a definite trend.
There are those who will undoubtedly be quick to provide examples of either case. Believe me, I’ve seen most of them and I am not convinced either way. Each incident has its own unique series of events and caveats, which determine whether concealed carry actually works or not.
But this is all academic, and is ultimately irrelevant to my view on the subject. I know that there is not going to be an intelligent discussion on the subject because frankly people just are not interested in having an intelligent discussion. So I will just say this:
I do not feel safer because of concealed carry.
If there is a shooting situation that happens on this campus, I want to be sure where the bullets are coming from. If someone starts shooting (assuming that I’m not killed in the first volley), I’m falling to the ground behind something.
I have no idea, at this point, who the shooter actually is. And if people around me start shooting back, then there is no way for me to know how many shooters there are. All I know is that I am caught in the crossfire, and there is a very real chance for me to end up as a casualty.
Also I would like it if the first responders are actually be able to do their jobs to the best of their ability. I want them to know exactly who the shooter is, and if there is an all out gunfight between people with concealed weapons and the shooter they cannot be sure who the perpetrator is.
And if they are not sure who the perpetrator is, then it is just slowing them down, which makes it all the more likely that civilians like me are going to end up dead.
I do not feel safer because of concealed carry. It does not matter to me if all concealed carriers are all ex-marines marksmen that have never missed in their lives. It does not matter to me if other people believe that concealed carry is some sort of deterrent for future shooters.
I only know that there will always be people willing to kill as many people as they can. But I do not want to be in the middle of a gun battle when that happens.
I have no interest in taking your gun away. I’m not interested in banning anyone from ever getting a gun ever again. I’m not interested in arguing the legality of concealed carry laws, because that has been settled. That is your Second Amendment Right; period, end of story.
All the same, I do not feel any safer knowing that I am on a concealed carry campus.
Editorial Assistant Caleb Hendrich is a senior political science and journalism double major. His columns appear Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about gun control, and the opinions of other CSU students surrounding the issue click here.