F. Norman Vickers
This Viewpoint is written in response to Rebekah Hargrove’s Aug. 22 Viewpoint in the Pensacola News Journal titled “I do not want to be a victim.”
In essence, she endorses proposed “Campus Carry” legislation proposed by state Rep. Greg Steube and state Sen. Greg Evers. She bemoans the fact that currently, even as a person duly licensed to carry a firearm, she is legally prohibited from bringing one on a college campus. As such, she feels unable to defend herself against rape and attack.
The article indicates that she is a medical social work/master of public health graduate student at Florida State University and president of Students for Concealed Carry at FSU.
I believe that all can agree that we should be concerned for the safety of all students, male and female, on campus.
If we look at the scientific evidence, then perhaps a contrary view to that of Ms. Hargrove might prevail. Ms. Hargrove is in a graduate program of social work and public health. Two of the fundamental questions of science are:
How do you know? and What is the evidence?
Ms. Hargrove only tells us how she feels. She doesn’t give us any evidence to support her position or that she will, in fact, be safer on campus carrying a firearm. She only tells us that she will feel safer.
Now that Internet connections by computer, cell phone and tablets are easily accessible by many, including grade-school children, a simple search, such as “Do Guns Make Us Safer?” will reveal that, depending on the particular study and the subject population, when guns are readily accessible, one is far greater likely to injure him/her self, a family member or close associate rather than an assailant. Depending on the study population, the likelihood of injury to self or associate is six to 40 times greater than injuring an assailant.
One representative article, easily searchable on computer or cell phone, is titled ”Firearm-Related Injury and Death in the United States, Annals of Internal Medicine, 7 April 2015, Vol. 162 #7. It gives statistical data supporting that position. The majority of medical associations, including American Medical Association, American Public Health Association, and American College of Surgeons have endorsed the statement that limitation of easy access to firearms will reduce injury and death. They also condemned the “physician gag laws” such as that passed by the Florida legislature which prohibit physicians from asking whether there are gun in the home.
In response to Ms. Hargrove, I suggest that she examine the evidence. Will carrying a firearm on her person, in fact, make her safer? Or does the overwhelming evidence to the contrary suggest otherwise?
F. Norman Vickers is a retired physician who practiced in Pensacola for 36 years. He is a community activist and serious amateur musician. He has lived safely in Pensacola over 50 years with no guns in his home or on his person.