The Dangerous Truth About Gun Free Zones

In Wisconsin, a bill allowing campus carry in college buildings, dorms, classrooms, etc., will be introduced next legislative session. Guns are already allowed on college campuses as long as the owner has a concealed carry license and the gun is fully concealed. However, schools are allowed to put up “Guns Prohibited Here” signs on university buildings, making it illegal to enter with one. This new bill would end that and allow guns into these premises.

Many people are outraged at the idea of allowing students to carry guns into classrooms. Students and professors alike have been signing petitions against the bill. What these liberal activists don’t understand, is right now, there is nothing, besides a sign, stopping a person from carrying a gun into a campus building. The current law cannot and will not stop anyone who wants to break it. Should a criminal want to enter a college building brandishing a gun, they will. A law prohibiting them from doing so won’t stop them. This new bill will merely level the playing field. Since any legal firearm has to be concealed already, no one will know their classmate has a gun. And because of the provisions in place, namely that a student must have a concealed carry permit, there won’t be any greater risk to student safety. In fact, allowing students to carry guns into classrooms, will increase their safety.

Those who oppose this bill represent the populace who desire stricter gun control laws. Anytime there’s a mass shooting, the first call to action by the Left is to strengthen gun laws. However, what these gun control activists don’t understand is that there are gun laws in place already, yet time after time, tragic stories come across the news. If during any one of these shootings, a victim or bystander had a concealed gun, the outcome may have been drastically different. A gun that is already present is better than one that shows up later (the police do a great job, they just can’t be everywhere at once). Strengthening gun control laws will only curtail law-abiding citizens from obtaining a gun, it won’t do anything to stop criminals. Criminals, by definition, don’t abide by laws.

If a person truly wants to harm another, they will use any means necessary. We saw this in Jerusalem when a man drove a truck into a crowd of people. If it is impossible to obtain a gun, another weapon will be found. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. In fact, tightening gun control could further increase the occurrence of mass shootings. As average civilians are discouraged from buying guns for self-defense, hunting, or game purposes, there will be fewer people to stop criminals in a life or death situation. If the assailant is the only one with a gun, what deterrent is there?

The nine states with the lowest crime rates all allow their citizens the right of concealed carry (Lampo). States allowing for concealed carry have a 24% lower violent crime rate and a 19% lower murder rate than states not granting citizens this right (Lampo). These statistics from the Cato Institute, a think tank located in Washington DC, make a strong argument for allowing private citizens the right to own a gun. The results are clear, legal gun ownership results in less violent crime being committed on average, not more.

Strict gun control laws will not solve the problem of mass shootings in America. Criminals will still find a way to obtain a gun. All gun restrictions do is stop law-abiding citizens from defending themselves. The solution should not be to create new gun laws; it should be to enforce the ones already in place. In a perfect world, there would be no need for weapons of any kind. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Average citizens need a form of self-defense. Just ask the students at Seattle Pacific University, Ohio State University, and Umpqua Community College if they would have liked a firearm to help protect them.

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Congressional Term Limits Aren’t the Way to Make Washington Work Again

A few weeks ago, another contributor for this Think Right Politics wrote an article entitled “It’s Time to Implement Term Limits to Drain the Swamp”. As can be assumed from the title, this article focuses on the reason why we should impose term limits on our politicians. However, I would like to offer up a differing viewpoint on this issue.

Congressional term limits are not the key to making Washington work again, more bipartisanship is. Politicians are democratically elected. If a constituency doesn’t want a certain person to hold public office any longer, they can vote them out. Nothing requires the people to vote for a politician. If the elected official isn’t doing a good job of reflecting the opinions and concerns of the people they represent, then they won’t remain in office much longer. It’s true that incumbents generally win and it’s hard to challenge someone who’s already in office. This can potentially hinder outsiders from running against those already in office. However, incumbents can be defeated if they haven’t represented the people well. This happened in Wisconsin during the 2010 senatorial race between Russ Feingold, the Democratic incumbent, and Ron Johnson, the Republican challenger. Russ Feingold wasn’t performing as he had promised. As a result, the outsider, Ron Johnson was elected. This is a perfect example of democracy doing its job. We need to be able to trust the democratic process in electing the best representative for the people. The thing that creates career politicians isn’t the public official, it’s the people. If a constituency keeps voting for a person that isn’t reflecting their best interests, then the populace needs to become better informed. It’s not up to government to fix these issues.

Imposing term limits would result in politicians being less accountable to the people they represent. During their last term, they wouldn’t have to be representative of their constituency. There would be no ramifications for them if they weren’t. Some argue that when politicians are so focused on winning the next election, they don’t create real change for fear of not being reelected. Most of their energy goes towards to their campaigns instead of policy. Elections also becomes a large expenditure for candidates. However, Congressional term limits are not the solution. To fix that problem, it’s better to look at the duration of terms served by representatives. Those in the US House, only serve two year terms. If this were increased to four years, campaigns wouldn’t be so integral to being in Congress. Having elections, like we do, causes politicians to be accountable. In a representative’s last term, there could be years of them not serving their community. Without fear of not being reelected, there’s nothing to keep public officials from pursuing policy that only reflects their personal interests.

To truly have a representative democracy, any American citizen not convicted of a felony should be able to run for public office, even if they already held it. Barring people from candidacy isn’t something that reflects America. In the corporate world, people aren’t fired from their job because they’ve been in the position for too long. They’re fired for performing below standards. People aren’t barred from applying to the same job multiple times. Why should Congress be any different? Politicians are rewarded for performing well by being reelected and punished by losing in the next election.

Those that have served longer will also have more knowledge that will enable them to represent their constituency better. When newly elected officials first enter congress, they have a lot to learn. The veterans are the ones in leadership positions because they’ve proven themselves. Freshman senators and representatives have little to no experience representing a constituency in Congress. It takes a while to learn the ins and outs of working in Congress. In every other aspect of life, those that have served longer and have more experience are rewarded. They’re more respected and in positions of power. Those in Congress shouldn’t be any different. Those who have proven themselves effective and have served longer shouldn’t be punished for that. Granted, not everyone who has served a long time has proven themselves. People don’t deserve positions of leadership just because they have served longer. However, if the congressman or woman in question has proven themselves, they should be rewarded instead of chastised. The knowledge of a veteran should be praised.

It can take a while to truly make a difference. Elected officials should be given as many opportunities the people are willing to give them to be effective. “Draining the Swamp” is not the answer to fixing Washington, working together is.