Brent Tenney says he feels pretty safe when he goes to class at the University of Utah, but he takes no chances. He brings a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic with him every day.
"It's not that I run around scared all day long, but if something happens to me, I do want to be prepared," said the 24-year-old business major, who has a concealed-weapons permit and takes the handgun everywhere but church.
It's not exactly "liberal" of me, but I don't think this is a bad thing. Tragedies such as Columbine and Virginia Tech have shown that the police are shy about walking into situations where demented gunmen are wreaking chaos, and they aren't on every darkened street corner where you might encounter a mugger either.
Besides that, it says in the Bill of Rights that citizens have a right to firearms. It seems like the point of contention is centered around the part about "a well-regulated militia." Here's my take on all this...
I support people exercising their constitutional rights. I don't want the government interfering with religion, pro or con. I don't want the government spying on us without a warrant. I don't want the government holding people endlessly without trial or charges -- even if they are foreigners. And I don't want laws saying that there are places where, for some reason, the second amendment doesn't apply.
Some of my friends on the right have made the point that there's no better target for an armed madman that somewhere like the Virginia Tech campus, which is a place where guns are prohibited except in the hands of the police. I'm not saying that's why Cho did what he did -- I blame his mental illness and those who didn't follow through on his obvious need for treatment -- but when he started shooting, the people who respect the law found themselves helpless in the face of his attack.
I believe that if a person has no criminal record, shows himself to be competent in his knowledge of gun safety, when it is and is not proper to use a firearm, and if he shows that he can handle his weapon with an appropriate degree of skill, there is simply no rational reason not to allow him to be armed. Anything less is saying that we're just as disrespectful toward the US constitution as Bush is.
Make no mistake. I don't want a gun in the hands of those who are unstable, uneducated on the subject or unskilled in the use of a weapon. I don't want people to buy a gun on a whim, and just drop it into their purse with no training and no experience whatsoever. People like these could easily make a bad situation worse by firing randomly, or when it wasn't necessary.
But I don't want a police state with a cop on every corner in the name of "security," and I don't want any more cases where a lunatic with an illegal gun can casually walk from one room to the next, firing off over one hundred shots in three different classrooms and nobody could do a thing about it.
Laws don't stop those who have no respect for the law. The law is supposed to work for the benefit of the people. And for those reasons, I can think of no good reason why we should not allow firearms in the hand of those who have earned them.
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