In the last few weeks in Illinois, there has been a continuing debate about whether to pass House Bill 148, which would allow the concealed carry of firearms statewide. There have been many people, even some of our own such as President Roger Taylor, who have spoken up for the need to at least get college campuses exempt from this bill, should it pass. However, we on the staff of The Knox Student (TKS) think the larger problem is that the bill to legalize concealed carry in Illinois exists at all, let alone that it might end up becoming legal on college campuses.
Firstly, it is to our benefit to consider what we think about when we say the word “defense.” In what ways has our society become a place in which “self-defense” has somehow become synonymous with the word “gun”? Why are there so few people who seem content with the idea of fixing the origins of gun violence and so many people who think more guns will reduce violence? Even when said aloud, it becomes obvious that this may not be the best idea.
An article called “Q&A: Preventing Gun Violence in the United States” on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health website promotes the idea that gun laws need to be stricter, citing the fact that many states do not even require to run a background check on an individual in order for them to buy a gun. This article also mentions other things that would help regulate firearms in the U.S., such as limiting the amount of firearms a person can buy in a month (making it more difficult to sell them to criminals who would not be approved to buy a gun) and making it difficult for those who have been convicted of domestic abuse to own firearms.
In addition to this research, the article also cites a different research project at Harvard University, which proved that “states with a higher prevalence of gun ownership have more gun-related deaths.” Who are we trying to fool by creating a law that would allow us to scare each other away from pulling out our pistol because we know the other person will just shoot us too?
With such lax laws in so many states, it is easy to see why guns have become a problem in our society in the first place. But it is also obvious that places like Johns Hopkins have done extensive research about how to fix the misuse of firearms, especially in criminal situations. If these theories (that could be potentially simple to carry out), like enforcing background checks for all people who want to purchase a firearm, show a solution that would reduce these dangers to all of society, why are we trying to force laws that make these firearms more readily available? We need to remedy the problem of firearms falling into the wrong hands.
We should put an end to the idea that more guns equals a greater sense of security. Instead, we need to enforce stricter screening for firearm owners and make sure guns do not fall into the wrong hands. It is not enough to make sure that this bill does not get passed for college campuses. As concerned citizens, the staff of TKS, especially given the research presented above, opposes the passing of the concealed carry law in Illinois. Instead, we need to redefine our idea of self-defense, which we can do by regulating gun laws and reducing the presence of firearms, not increasing them.