Letter to the Editor: Student’s response to professor’s anti-gun opinion

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Answers to Professor Nel’s guest editorial:

“A radical new experiment”
The right to self-defense is a natural right preserved in the Constitution alongside rights like free speech and privacy. Individuals do not require permission to express themselves or to enjoy privacy. Rather, the government requires permission to infringe upon these rights. The same should be held true for the right to self-defense. This means that lawful individuals over the age of 21 are allowed to concealed carry without a permit. However, if one wants to purchase a firearm, one must still pass a background check. In addition, the FBI reports that states which restrict concealed carry see drastically higher violent crime rates than states which support concealed carry.

An appeal to authority
Professor Nel brings up the military’s policy of restricting access to guns as a positive example of gun control. However, this policy completely failed to prevent the mass shootings in Chattanooga in 2015, at Fort Hood in 2009 and 2014 or inside the Washington Navy Yard in 2013. Gun-free zones do not make people safe. The eight largest mass shootings since 1999 occurred in gun-free zones, and according to a 2014 report by the Crime Prevention Research Center, shooters target gun-free zones.

Opinions on safety
Professor Nel asserts that students might feel uncomfortable knowing that their classmates may be armed, and cites an opinion article that claims carrying a gun is foolish. However, rights are not protected because they are popular, but rather because they are necessary. According to The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Americans use firearms in self-defense against criminals millions of times each year. Eighty percent of cases involve the use of a concealed handgun. Twenty-five percent of cases occur away from the defender’s home. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 77 percent of violent crime occurs in public spaces. Given that Kansas State is a public space, and given that it cannot afford to ensure the defense of students, staff and guests, we must support their right to defend themselves.

Benjamin Ristow
Sophomore, Department of History

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