Column: Missouri is on path to returning unalienable rights to citizens

HB 1936 would allow the concealed carry of firearms in places like college campuses.
HB 1936 would cut down on the number of gun-free zones in Missouri. courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Brandon Bartlett is a freshman political science major at MU. He is an opinions columnist who writes about politics for The Maneater.

Missouri is moving toward returning its citizens’ Second Amendment rights with proposed legislation, HB 1936, which would remove several locations, including college campuses, from the list of gun-free zones.

However, it seems there are people who believe this would only raise the amount of gun crime in those areas. In a Columbia Missourian article, Kristin Bowen, head of Moms Demand Action in Columbia, speaks on her opposition to the bill.

“It is so important that we honor the people who were killed in Florida with action,” she said. “This isn't just about one bill winning or losing. We are looking to end gun violence and save lives.”

Of course, everyone is looking to end gun violence and save lives of innocent people, but when looking at the facts, it's hard to see how gun-free zones are in any way a solution to the problem.

Gun-free zones seem to be a beacon to the awful people who seek to perpetrate mass shootings, as 98 percent of these shootings happen in such places. According to The Blaze, the Crime Prevention Research Center states that “from the 1950s through July 10, 2016, 98.4 percent of mass shootings have occurred on gun-free zones.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Imagine a situation in which there is a building that might have a lot of people with guns in it and there is another building that presumably doesn’t have any people with guns in it. If someone is seeking to do as much harm in as little time as possible, they are going to choose the building with the “gun-free zone” sign on the front door. This is presumably what happened in the mass shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The perpetrator of this shooting had several movie theaters to pick from that were relatively close. There was a movie theater that was even closer to his apartment than the Cinemark that he ended up going to, but the Aurora Cinemark Theater was the only one with a sign designating that it was a gun-free zone. If the people in the theater had not been prohibited from bringing their concealed weapons then they may have been able to defend themselves.

Missouri has some of the least obstructive laws in the country when it comes to firearms and concealed carry. Some believe this would make taking places like college campus off the list of gun-free zones more dangerous but other states have already done what is being discussed and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of evidence for that position. Like Missouri, Kansas does not require its citizens to obtain a concealed-carry permit and instead relies on background checks that are administered when purchasing firearms. Despite the high number of citizens with the potential of having concealed-carry weapons, after implementing campus carry at the University of Kansas they saw a 13 percent drop in crime from 2016 to 2017, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. Despite the effectiveness of getting rid of gun free-zones, there is the issue of why people have been barred from practicing their God-given rights in the first place.

The right to bear arms is a natural right which cannot be infringed upon according to the Second Amendment of the Constitution. While one might be able to argue that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is a little bit vague, the Missouri Constitution is far more clear.

“The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms, ammunition, and accessories typical to the normal function of such arms, in defense of his home, person, family and property, or when lawfully summoned in aid of the civil power, shall not be questioned,” according to the state constitution.

The state government had no right to impose gun-free zones on public land in the first place and such laws have been an infringement upon our unalienable rights ever since. The Missouri Constitution goes on to say, “The state of Missouri shall be obligated to uphold these rights and shall under no circumstances decline to protect against their infringement.” Whether anyone agrees with colleges being gun-free zones or not, it is very clear that according to the constitutions of both the nation and the state that the state should be required to make public institutions places in which firearms can be carried.

Former Missouri Students Association senator Chris Vas addressed guns on campus at a Campus and Community Relations committee on April 25, 2017, according to previous Maneater reporting.

“If I stand across the street [from the university], I have unalienable rights to own a firearm, but if I step on this side of a street, all of a sudden my unalienable rights are gone,” Vas said.

It seems to me that passing this bill would be some common sense gun reform as we so often hear we need.

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