While on Spring Break this past week, I managed to stay away from Facebook and much of the internet. Instead, I got the news a day late by reading the Dallas Morning News.
One thing caught my attention and made me ponder for a few: the Texas Legislature allowing conceal carry handguns on public college campuses. Now, I have spoken about guns on this blog several times (here, here, and here). I am an avid sportsman and outdoors man. I use guns regularly and am teaching my children to use them. I have a healthy respect for guns, but I do not fear them.
I do not believe banning "assault weapons" like AR-15's is a good idea.
I fully support the 2nd Amendment.
I do think background checks to purchase guns is a very good idea.
I don't think we have a gun problem in the U.S.
I don't think concealed carry is a bad idea. I don't think open carry is a bad idea.
I don't believe concealed carry or open carry will lead to a revisiting of the Wild West.
I don't believe concealed carry or open carry will solve the problem of crime.
Maybe those bullet points will sufficiently tick off both sides of the aisle. Maybe not. Here's something I don't support: concealed carry on college campuses by students.
It's not that I don't think many of them are responsible. I think they are. I believe I certainly was. It's not that I don't think they can't handle weapons. I could shoot at that age with no problem. It's deeper. I don't support concealed carry on college campuses for the same reason I don't support banning assault rifles. The stats.
The FBI numbers for people killed with assault rifles or other rifles is miniscule compared to the real killer: handguns. The numbers are overwhelming on that one.
The numbers are also overwhelming when it comes to who commits mass shootings. The vast, vast majority are committed by males under the age of 25. Why? Because the male brain doesn't fully develop until that age. Furthermore, there is a certain beverage which is consumed in large quantities on college campus which further inhibits clear thinking.
So, let's put this stuff together: guns + alcohol + an age group within which most mass shooters fall. To me, that equals a very bad idea.
Now, I know there are those who argue for safety. I know there are those who argue we are limiting safety by implementing such laws, but again, look at the numbers. How safe are you on a college campus? How safe are you on any public school campus?
The fact of the matter is: we are extremely safe on school campuses. We are extremely safe on college campuses. In fact, if you really want to break it down, we know which communities experience the highest levels of crime. We know where most shootings occur. The demographics are published. It is no mystery.
The problem is fear is pumped into our lives daily by the media, by the government, and by others who try to either 1) make you depend only upon yourself for your safety or 2) depend upon the government to make you safe and secure.
It's really a false set of alternatives with several false gods competing for your allegiance. There is the false god of safety and security preying upon your fears of harm--telling you that around every corner is a boogy man; a murderer; a rapist; someone who is intent to do you physical or mental harm. Holding safety's leash is the fear of death which can consume even the strongest intellect. The false god of safety whispers in our ears, depending upon what he can prey upon, either to look to one's self for salvation (Carry a gun. It will make you safe and secure. You can defeat your enemies. You will have a new sense of confidence in yourself!) or to look to the authorities (They are trained to handle things. They will arrive at a moment's notice. They will handle the bad guys more efficiently and better than you can. They will minimize the risk to others.). The truth is we need both individual vigilance and governmental agencies working together to minimize crime and maximize safety AND, more than that, I am convinced, we need to put the false god of safety in its place by refusing to bow to him.
I mean, when you make safety your god, you give up freedom and you live in fear, and if there is one thing I have come to understand about the Gospel, is that the perfect love of Jesus for us drives away fear.