I am a BYU student who has recently become more informed about the apparent public debate on concealed weapons which occurred about a year and a half ago. Upon reading as many articles as I could, I found what I felt were some appalling statements made by students, who I feel are either uninformed or affected by an apparent fear of guns.
I am currently going through the process of acquiring a concealed weapons permit for the state of Utah so I may carry a firearm on me at all times according to the state laws and my rights as a U.S. citizen. I was not surprised to find that BYU does not permit carriers of this license to carry on campus. What I want to know is why do so many students feel that policies which nullify this state law will somehow make them safer?
In the state of Utah, as of September of 2003, there are 56,167 concealed weapons permit holders. According to Utah BCI (Bureau of Criminal Identification), the state averages about one permit revocation per month due to firearms crimes. That means in an average year, .02 percent of citizens who legally carry a concealed weapon will commit a felony involving their firearm. It seems to me that the citizens who do carry a legally concealed firearm don’t pose much of a threat to the community. In the entire state throughout 2002, a total of 1,262 weapons offenses occurred in Utah, with a total population of about 2.23 million. Statistically speaking, a carrier of a concealed weapons permit in the state of Utah is 2.5 times LESS likely to commit a crime involving a firearm! Sounds to me that if you want to reduce the possibility of violent crime on campus, you’d insist that all students acquire a CCW permit! Obviously, that’s a bit of a stretch, but I believe I get my point across.
If Utahns want to be safe from gun-related violence, they need to have more citizens be educated on gun safety and more citizens be trained in their proper use. And above all, the ridiculous mind-set that guns are some kind of doomsday device that can spontaneously create death at any moment needs to be overcome! You’re much more likely to die in a car wreck than any kind of gun violence, yet you don’t see students petitioning to have cars outlawed, do you?