This year Illinois finally instituted the Firearm Concealed Carry Act after a federal court ruled the state ban on Concealed Carry Licenses was a violation of the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Illinois began issuing the permits in the last few weeks. The first five thousand permits have been mailed, with an expected number to exceed 300,000 this year alone.
But what impact will this have on college campuses? Sadly, none. The ban on concealed carry on school grounds remains in place. This reflects the ignorant view that the mere presence of a firearm leads to violence. Tell that to the brave police officers that carry guns on campus every day – you don’t see them behaving violently.
Therein lies the crux of the matter. It is not the firearm that is the instigator of violence. Guns are inanimate objects without minds or free will, not magical talismans that turn ordinarily peaceful people into criminals. They are tools that can be used for good or bad purposes.
Those that go through the process of obtaining a concealed carry permit are required to demonstrate proficiency with a gun and have a background check prior to being issued their license – these are not the people committing crimes with guns. Statistics have shown that CCL holders commit crimes at near or below that of police officers. Criminals are not going to bother with obtaining a CCL since their intended actions are already a violation of the law.
The nonsensical part of most concealed carry laws is the continued exclusion of places like banks and schools. Why does it suddenly become a crime when a law abiding citizen with a CCL steps onto the property of a bank or school? Does the anti-gun crowd seriously think that they instantly become a killing machine? Do they not understand that it is the values of the person and not the presence of a concealed firearm that matters?
A person with the intent to do harm is not going to walk up to the edge of campus and suddenly stop because there is a ban on carrying weapons on school property. There is no invisible force at the borders of a college campus that is going to repel any intended shooter. In the event a shooting ever occurs, campus police will instantly respond and place themselves in harm’s way to protect students, but by then there will already be casualties. The most logical answer is to allow those that have been issued a CCL to carry on campus and, if the need ever arises, be there to defend fellow students.
As a military veteran and CCL applicant, I pray that the need to draw my firearm will never arise and that no college will ever experience the tragic events that schools like Virginia Tech have seen. But if we believe that banning legal firearms from campus will prevent such acts, we are living an illusion that may one day be dispelled.
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