OPINION: The Gun-flower State

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Welcome to Kansas, where the skies are not cloudy all day/And any Tom, Dick or Harry can openly carry and own a gun without a permit.

Gov. Sam Brownback recently signed a bill that allows the kind, reasonable citizens of Kansas (and probably some not-so-kind) to carry a concealed weapon without needing a permit, according to the April 2 Kansas City Star article, “Brownback signs bill that allows a permit-free concealed carry of guns in Kansas.” This new law will go into effect July 1, 2015, making Kansas the sixth state to allow “constitutional carry.”

Just yesterday morning there was a shooting incident in Aggieville, and the suspect was in possession of a handgun, according to the May 3 KMAN article titled, “One in custody after Aggieville shooting incident.”

Thankfully, only one adult male went to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Incidents like this one, though, make me question why it is we are allowing citizens with no form of proper training to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

According to the State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General, (a state that is infamous for its strict gun laws) requires all firearm purchases and transfers to be made through a California licensed dealer in the Dealer’s Record of Sales process. Someone hoping to own a gun must be 18 years of age to purchase a rifle or shotgun and 21 years of age to purchase a handgun, and they must prove California residency. Those wishing to purchase a gun must also have a Firearm Safety Certificate.

While other states require permits and safety classes to even purchase a firearm, conservative Kansas has proved once again that it cares about the constitutional rights of its citizens. Its government officials care so much about our right to carry a firearm, that even people on welfare can buy a weapon … but you can’t buy certain items, like lottery tickets or liquor. It sure makes it seem like gun companies and distributors paid our dear governor off … but that’s none of my business.

According to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislation Action, the state of Kansas does not require a permit in order to purchase a rifle, shotgun or handgun. Anyone can walk into a Wal-Mart and purchase a firearm without being properly trained how to use it. I believe in the right to bear arms as much as anyone else, but how is it logical to allow someone who may or may not have any experience with guns to simply waltz into Dick’s Sporting Goods and purchase a deadly weapon? “What a terrifying thought,” I say to myself as I walk out of the store with my shotgun and a case of beer.

There’s always the argument that guns don’t kill people; people kill people. But wait … guns do kill people, even when people don’t mean for it to happen. This has been proven time and time again.

According to the Dec. 31, 2014 Washington Post article, “The inside story of how an Idaho toddler shot his mom at Wal-Mart,” a 2-year-old boy shot his mother in the head after grabbing a handgun from her zipped purse. This little boy is going to grow up without his mother and be filled with regret just because his mother apparently needed her firearm in the grocery store.

The U.S.’s fascination with guns is sickening. On average, 282 people in the U.S. are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, suicide attempts, accidents and police intervention every day, according to a Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence fact sheet, titled, “There Are Too Many Victims Of Gun Violence: As a Nation, We Are Better Than This.”

We’re making it easier and faster to purchase a deadly firearm. In our society, guns are a part of life, and they represent our fundamental freedoms. I’m not suggesting we take all the guns out of Americans’ hands, but I am suggesting we make it more difficult to get them there in the first place. Let’s make all gun-toting citizens understand the power and danger they possess.

Callie Ogborn is a freshman in mass communication.

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