Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Update: Decreasing Violence in Colleges

In a recent Time's article, the issue of violence on college campuses was raised again. As I discussed in Idea: To Decrease Violence at Colleges, Allow Weapons on Campus I think the number of weapons allowed on campus should NOT be increased, whereas some politicians and pro-gun organizations think the opposite.

The Time's article called, After Virginia Tech, Little Change discusses how many lawmakers, such as those I mentioned in my previous blog article, want to allow guns on campus. Aside from these pro-gun toting activists, information on mentally ill people is being shared with the Federal government to prevent these types of people from purchasing weapons. The interesting point I found in the article is that apparently the percentage of gun deals done without assessing the Federal database are 'unclear,' to say the least:

"Gun-control proponents say it could be nearly 40% of guns; gun-rights groups say the number is under 3% — mostly just family members selling rifles to each other over kitchen tables."

It's very interesting that both groups have come up with such drastically different numbers. Since each side seems to be polarized to either side of the spectrum on the issue, I think a neutral company or organization should do a study on this. That is the only way a true perspective can be gained. But, as the article states these gun deals done without consulting the Federal database are irrelevant because:

"It's also worth remembering that the vast majority of violent crimes — some estimates say 95% — are committed by people who are not technically mentally ill."

The only commonality, which the article points out, is that guns have been used in situations such as Virginia Tech, and the mental stability of the shooters are not always similar. So, here is my question, if guns are always used in this type of violence, then why do lawmakers and politicians want to increase the amount of guns on campuses? Just because it is your second amendment right to carry weapons doesn't mean that you HAVE to. I mean, back in the 1800s in English crown colony's it was legal to whip someone if they were found guilty of a crime, but that hardly was ever enforced.

Thom Manard, of the States United to Prevent Gun Violence, sums it up very nicely when he says:

"What never really seems to occur is a real, thorough discussion on the fact that often the only common denominator in these tragedies is the use of guns. There is no other weapon that is legally available that can kill so many in such a short period of time. It's amazing that more people don't make that simple acknowledgment."