Letters to the editor

The article “Gun Control Debate Continues” raised a number of interesting points, including the deterrent value of concealed weapons, the safety of other students and the defensive use of firearms. I would like to add my own two cents to the debate.

There is considerable evidence documented by John Lott at Yale and Gary Kleck at Florida State that liberalizing concealed carry laws reduced violent crime by varying amounts—8.5% reduced murder, 5% reduced rape, etc (see “More Guns Less Crime” by John Lott and Kleck, 1997).

These same studies indicate that the rate of violent crimes committed by permit holders was well below that of the average population, suggesting that permit holders are less likely than people drawn from the average population to commit violent crime.

Gary Kleck’s own survey suggests that defensive gun use is much closer to 800,000 times annually and a Department of Justice survey (“Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms” 1994) suggested that defensive gun use is on the order of 1.5 million times annually.

I wonder if GT students are aware that the police have no legal obligation to protect them? Courts have repeatedly held that police cannot be held responsible for failing to protect someone from harm, even if they appear to be negligent in their duties. Tech police are not obligated to protect any individual on campus, nor can they be held responsible for failing to do so. According to virtually every court in this country, people are responsible for defending themselves.

So, if you don’t want to hope that the police feel like protecting you (in at least one case I cited, a 911 call to the police was not answered for 45 min resulting in a woman’s death) then get a concealed weapons permit and some training and protect yourself. No one else will.

Brady Aydelotte

MSE Grad

As a holder of a Georgia Firearms License (GFL) and someone who lawfully carries a firearm for protection wherever he goes (where legal, of course), I just wanted to address some points in the recent article titled “Gun Control Debate Continues.”

The gun control mantra for years has been that gun violence can be reduced by legislating on firearms. The major weakness of this approach, of course, is that only the law-abiding choose to obey these laws. As a graduate student I have a lot to lose, and a felony for possessing a firearm on campus would be career-ending for me. This is the case for all law-abiding people on campus. Criminals, however, really don’t care about laws and “gun-free zones.” In fact, to them a “gun-free zone” is equivalent to “victim-rich zone.”

An undergraduate student in the article was quoted as saying, “I just wouldn’t feel safe with guns on campus.”

The problem here is, like an ostrich with its head in the sand, this student only feels safe not knowing about the guns already on campus in the hands of criminals. Her fear should rationally be of these criminals, not of the tools carried by lawfully licensed GFL holders to protect themselves and others from said criminals.

On the idea of licensed GFL holders, someone with enough motivation to acquire a GFL also has the skills and training to handle firearms safely and use them competently. Taking responsibility for one’s own safety and that of their loved ones holds great gravity and is something few take lightly. Any abuse of this responsibility is punished.

This brings me to my next point. The article quotes the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence with a statistic pointing out the small percentage of gun deaths that are ruled as justifiable homicides. This is such a dubious and misleading statistic in that it ignores that fact that most defensive firearm uses do not even involve shots being fired. To understand this, you have to take a quick look at the criminal state of mind. They do not want to deal with an armed citizen and risk their own lives.

As for specifically banning guns on campus, firearms can already be concealed on public campuses in Utah by properly licensed individuals. Why haven’t we heard of the horror stories from there? Because there are none.

As someone who was legally approved by a judge to obtain a GFL, abides by the law, and takes his own safety very seriously, what exactly changes when I cross that 1000 ft barrier around campus property? The answer is nothing, except that now I have to disarm myself and be prepared to be a victim.

Jonathan Maikisch

ECE Grad