Opinion: Conceal-carry not as irresponsible as it may seem

Connor Spielmaker

Allowing concealed-carry licensees to carry on campus will not increase gun violence.  Photo by Connor Spielmaker
Opinion: Allowing concealed-carry licensees to carry on campus will not increase gun violence.
Photo by Connor Spielmaker

Feel that? Didn’t think so. Because I didn’t shoot you. In today’s cultural landscape, any time the word “gun” comes up, it seems to have a negative connotation. It doesn’t have to be like that. There are millions of people that responsibly own firearms to protect themselves and I am one of them.

That’s right! I am a 21-year-old gun owner who has applied, along with millions of other people in Florida, for my concealed-carry license. This allows me to carry my gun wherever I go, with some exceptions. One of those exceptions includes a place where I spend a majority of my time — college. It’s illegal to carry a concealed firearm on Florida campuses, and that needs to change.

This past November, there was a shooting at Florida State University. According to a press release from Florida Students for Concealed Carry, one of the victims, Nathan Scott, was an advocate for concealed carrying on campus. If this student had his weapon, he would have had the necessary tools to end the shooting immediately.

In January, Spinnaker posted an opinion article arguing to keep guns off college campuses. While I respect Cassidy’s opinion, I feel the need to respond as a gun owner.

One of the sentiments from that article was that current laws effectively keep guns off of our campus. It’s against UNF policy to smoke cigarettes within 25 feet of a building. Soon, it’ll be against the rules to smoke on campus at all. Does anyone sincerely think that tobacco users will leave their packs of cigarettes in their cars or at home?

Saying you can’t bring something somewhere, without taking any measures to actually stop it from happening, does absolutely nothing. Saying this law is keeping firearms off of our campuses is equivalent to saying people that want to speed don’t do so because of a speed limit sign. If someone wants to shoot a person on a college campus, a law preventing carrying on campus isn’t going to stop them.

Spielmaker
Spielmaker

The opinion piece implies acquiring a gun and a conceal-carry permit is a simple and easy process. In Florida, you can’t just walk into a store and walk out with a gun and license to carry it. First, a gun costs several hundred dollars and ammunition is much more expensive than in the past. Add in $75 on average for a concealed-carry course and at least $112 dollars just to apply for the license and you’ve probably already spent at least $500 just to have a firearm and carry it with you. So it takes some decent coin to even be covered by this law.

You also have to prove competency with a firearm in order to carry it for self-defense, and then you go through a local, state and federal background check. About three months later, you get your license.

Allowing concealed-carry licensees to carry guns on campus doesn’t let just anyone come on campus with a firearm. And even if it did, unless they were 21-years-old and already did all of the above, they’d have to wait at least a few weeks before they’d be able to carry their gun with them. If you don’t already own a gun, it takes three days before you can even walk out of a store with one.

One of the primary arguments against allowing firearms on campus is that students under stress may act out. If you Google “stress,” many of the hits are related to finances. So, by that logic, we shouldn’t allow firearms in banks, right? Except in Florida, you can concealed-carry your firearm in a bank. The law doesn’t say why, but my guess is it’s allowed since you could be carrying things of value. To me, my life is just as valuable.

I understand the worry. If you read the news or Google “firearms,” everything points to scary. But if you look at the facts, crime is down. Headlines like “Firearm violence is up” and “Record firearm-related crime” are common, but statistically, overall violence has decreased. According to the Naples Daily News, firearm violence in Florida has hit record lows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the low violence rate has to do with an increase in concealed-carry licenses. I’m just saying that while there are more firearms on the street, there hasn’t been an increase in crime.

So, just because there might be more firearms on campus doesn’t mean there’d be more shootings. All this law does is take away an easy target. A gunman couldn’t walk onto campus and know the only people they have to worry about are the police. They’d also have to hope they don’t run into a citizen ready to stop them. If a gunman were to walk into your classroom right now, who would stop him? The law changing just makes it legal for someone who has gone through the necessary training and possesses a license to end it. It’s not about glory or being a hero, it’s about just maybe preventing a tragedy.

For more information or news tips, contact Connor Spielmaker at tv@unfspinnaker.com; if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].