Earlier this month, Tommy Garrett, a state senator from Bellevue, Nebraska, said he will introduce a bill to eliminate gun-free zones in Nebraska next year, according to an article from the Lincoln Journal Star.
This was his reaction to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Oregon is a state that allows concealed guns on college campuses and universities by law, but the school limits the locations and who can carry one, according to Armed Campuses. At Umpqua Community College, as of March 2015, concealed carry isn’t permitted, except by written permission by the college.
There are only three states that allow concealed carry on college campuses and universities by law: Idaho, Colorado and Utah. But there are 11 states that prohibit concealed carry on college campuses and universities by law. Some of these states include New Mexico and Louisiana, both of which have reported higher gun violence and more homicides than states with less gun control. Other states have different policies regarding concealed carry on campuses. Some allow the schools to decide whether students can bring concealed weapons on campus, or whether they can only be allowed in parked cars. The University of Nebraska–Lincoln doesn’t allow concealed carry on campus. If police receive evidence of an armed person on campus, they take it seriously and alert other students.
In the Lincoln Journal Star article, Sen. Garrett said, “The gun-free zones are what’s killing us.” Having gun-free zones can hurt us because concealed carry weapons won’t be allowed for safety, but someone who is trying to endanger lives can still stroll in. People with concealed firearms aren’t the problem.
More than 50 percent of Americans believe the United States would be safer if more people carried concealed weapons, according to a Gallup poll published in a Washington Post article. There have been two mass shootings at places where states don’t usually allow concealed carry, schools and places of worship. If we were to eliminate these gun-free zones, citizens with concealed carry would be able to defend themselves and other people around them.
Other Nebraska gun-free zones in addition to schools and places of worship include state buildings and emergency rooms. States such as Illinois have stricter concealed carry laws and more prohibited locations. But Illinois has a higher crime rate. Some states with higher gun control have higher crime rights and homicides. Gun control laws have had no effect on those who choose to act outside them.
Concealed carriers are acting within the law. The people that have a concealed carry know how to shoot a gun because they have been through training. To acquire a concealed carry, the person has to go through background checks, pass a shooting and handling test, pay a fee and go through many other requirements. They also have to own a Firearm Owner’s Identification, FOID, card that allows them to purchase a firearm or firearm ammunition. And that requires even more background checks and other requirements.
These people aren’t the ones creating mass shootings. They acquire their guns through legal and safe means. The people that really want to generate homicides will find other ways to access a gun.
Just like Sen. Garrett said, prohibiting guns and concealed carry isn’t the problem. If a state were to prohibit guns everywhere, there would still be gun violence, homicides and suicides. People find a way around the law. Compare this to the use of marijuana in states where it isn’t legal. People still smoke it.
Firearms are a serious action and shouldn’t be taken lightly. The people who are certified to have concealed carry are serious about guns and gun safety. Gun-free zones should be eliminated because those who have a concealed weapon aren’t the ones threatening safety.