Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Letter to Editor: Response to gun on campus article

Posted on April 11, 2017 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By: Jason Parker, Transfer Student 

The debate over campus carry of firearms has now been framed by Professor Dusan Bjelic as a safety issue with Muslims and immigrants on one side and white students on the other. This is a narrow-minded and dangerously bigoted point of view, as lawfully carrying a firearm is a right granted to all American citizens regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. More importantly, the state of Maine allows the concealed carry of firearms to all citizens who are legally able to purchase a firearm. As USM is a state-funded school, compliance with all state laws should be compulsory, including laws regarding firearm possession.

The argument being made is that carrying firearms on campus will endanger immigrant and Muslim students or that students will be quick to use a gun in an argument or drunken state. This is just pandering to illusory fears of those opposed to the right of the people to keep and bear arms. We live in a state where constitutional carry is permitted, where there are large immigrant and Muslim populations, and yet we can also boast one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country.

This idea that once a firearm is introduced as a daily right to the citizenry, murderous violence shortly ensues has been proven patently false time and again in the grand experiment of federalism and state’s rights under the Tenth Amendment. The statistics cannot be refuted: where strict gun control is implemented, violent crime increases, and where restrictions on carrying and concealing of firearms are relaxed, violent crime goes down.

This idea that white people only want guns to protect themselves from Muslims or brown people is just another attempt to divide Americans into racial and ethnic groups and to play the victim card when convenient. The truth is that people of any race, religion, creed, color, sexual orientation, et cetera are never above being a victim of violence perpetrated by anyone. Using racial bigotry to support one side or the other in this argument is fear-mongering at best and life threatening at worst.

What the debate comes down to is this: are you willing to allow yourself to become a victim by disarming yourself and others? Or are you willing to allow law-abiding citizens, who happen to also be students, to protect themselves when their lives are threatened? Finding yourself in a situation against an attacker is the worst moment of your life. As someone who has been in these situations, I can tell you that being shot at is scary. Being shot at and not being able to defend yourself is the most terrifying and helpless feeling you will ever experience.

Political correctness is the absence of reason when looking at a situation. We cannot deny that there are safety issues in this country or that there are racial and ethnic problems in our diverse nation, as there will always be clashes of cultures when put together in the melting pot of America. Our diversity is our biggest strength as a nation, but political correctness has turned that strength into a means to divide us. We cannot allow ourselves to ignore the threats we face here at home.

We also cannot ignore the statistics of where mass shooting occur, as almost 100 percent of these events occur in gun-free zones. This fact cannot be denied, but political correctness is willing to ignore it to perpetuate a perceived racial divide.

Every American citizen has the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are also afforded the right to keep and bear arms to defend ourselves from those who wish to use violence against us. As a sovereign American citizen, it is my lawful right to carry a firearm to ensure that I never again am in a situation where I am being shot at and can do nothing to defend myself or those around me.

This right should not end when I step onto campus to pursue happiness via higher education. By carrying a gun on campus, I assume the self-imposed responsibility of defending others from violence, regardless of race. Whatever misguided opinion one sadly bigoted professor holds, my firearm and I would stand between the innocent and the aggressor, regardless of the religion or skin tone on either side.
Note: The Free Press staff could find no evidence from impartial sources to support the claim that there is a correlation between “strict gun control” and an increase in violent crimes. Additionally, staff could find no evidence from impartial sources to confirm that “almost 100 percent” of mass shootings in the United States have occurred in gun-free zones, as the definitions of “mass shooting” and “gun-free zone” vary widely.