The Michigan Daily’s editorial on Tuesday (Rethink Gun Legislation, 02/01/2011) was on target with some points, but missed others.
Neither “side” in our strident American political climate is justified in rushing to a regulate or deregulate extreme. This argument is echoed by moderates from both sides of the aisle, as well as independents. There can be no doubt that the immediate rush of proposed deregulation laws observed in Michigan and elsewhere (Arizona Senate Bill 1201, South Dakota House Bill No. 1237) are a bit of pre-emptive politicking by staunch conservatives who fear a wave of attempted regulation.
Indeed, there seems to be intrinsic merit to the argument “certain environments are ill-suited for the concealed carry of firearms.” But to use blanket statements like “large crowds” and “places where people are drinking” tends to ignore specific instances where deregulation would be ok. As an example, let’s use one of the proposed deregulation spots: residence halls. Many students drink in the dorms, but there are many who don’t. How do we choose who can legally carry a firearm? The answer may be a combination of carefully nuanced legislation which addresses our ability to maintain and track the sale of firearms, without a heavy focus on actual locations where carrying a concealed weapon is legal.
I disagree with the article’s claim that allowing faculty and staff to carry concealed weapons (CCW) could have “horrible consequences.” Banning CCW from public offices, public spaces, or public schools will not solve the problem; it didn’t stop a massacre from occurring at Virginia Tech, and it wouldn’t have stopped Jared Loughner. Gun regulation has historically limited only those who responsibly use firearms.
To reiterate, gun control legislation — or de-regulation legislation — shouldn’t be so concerned with where and when it’s appropriate to carry weapons, but rather meticulously tracking the sale and ownership of each firearm which finds its way into the citizenry.