By Ashley Mott
Senior Graphic Design major,
Arts & Entertainment Editor
Earlier this month, it was announced that Kentucky would be joining the other 15 states currently under a constitutional carry law. It was this announcement that stirred the pot of gun controversy once again. With people on each side of this gun war, shouting “yes” and shouting “no”, I’d like to voice my opinion and check the “yes” box for constitutional carry in every state.
Now, I know that this debate can be forever argued because no single person can depict the future, however, there are still some things that I would like to share with you all. The first being that Vermont was, in fact, the only state to never have a ban on concealed carry or open carry guns, except where it was required by federal law. They were the first to have a “constitutional carry” law and have had it since the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms was given to the United States.
Granted, back then we were simply colonies and not really states, however, even after stateship was determined, the constitutional carry law was still in effect, and that is why in today’s society it is commonly referred to as “Vermont carry.”
Why am I telling you this, you may ask. Simple, because I want you to understand how involved Vermont has been in their gun laws since the beginning. In total, the number of gun deaths in Vermont was less than 500 people in the span of 2011-2016, according to a compiled list of death certificates from the Vermont Department of Health in a study done by the Vermont Public Radio staff. That is less than 83 people a year, in a population of over 600,000 people.
In the state of Ohio, 2016 alone had just under 1,600 gun related deaths, according to data released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Healthcare Statistics website. That is approximately 1,600 people in one year in a population of just over 11 million people.
Now, I know the comparison isn’t exactly the same, but if you averaged those deaths over the same amount of time of 6 years that is just under 10,000 deaths related to guns in the state of Ohio. That is 20 times the amount of gun deaths in Vermont over the same amount of time.
Some would say that this is simply due to the nature of the size of the population, and that if Ohio were just as small as Vermont the death toll would also go down. I’m not negating this possibility, but I do want you all to realize what this means.
It means that the ability to open or concealed carry does not mean there will be more guns being used every day. It simply means that we, as Americans, have a right that we were given so long ago by our Founding Fathers, the right to bear arms.
I know a lot of people don’t agree with the ability to have a weapon but I do. I’m a 20-year-old female living in Cleveland, a city that is notorious for so many things, one of them being the danger that comes with being a girl in this city. When I first moved here, my family was terrified that something might happen to me.
My dad always told me, “Don’t forget Gibbs rule Number 1, never leave home without a knife,” and I took that to heart my first year, pairing it with pepper spray. I was scared s—less that something would happen to me.
My first year alone, there were more robberies than I could count, a shooting downtown and a shelter in place announcement put on the campus. Granted, I may not have been able to carry a gun then, but the thought of getting closer to the Ohio gun possession age of 21, makes me feel a lot safer.
Now, Cleveland State University doesn’t allow guns, in fact, most college campuses don’t, and that is a rule that I can accept. However, what I can’t accept is being in a situation where my state wants to limit my right to have the ability to know how to use a gun and carry one if I should please for protection only.
I may never have to fire a gun in my life outside of a practice range, but the knowledge that I have the ability to use any means necessary to protect myself, my family, my friends and in the (very, very far off) future my children means that I can rest easier at night.
It is for those reasons that when people bring up constitutional carry, I have to say that I am for it, whole-heartedly for it.
However, if those aren’t enough reasons to say yes, here is one more. We have never had a war on U.S. soil that wasn’t our own. We were never fighting a foreign entity, another country or continent in our own backyard. We’ve sent troops everywhere in between sure, but never our own states.
Many say that’s because of the fact that we, as Americans, have nukes, and yeah, that’s true. I wouldn’t want to attack a country that has the ability to just press a button and make my entire country go up in a mushroom cloud.
However, think about it this way: so many Americans are armed to the teeth, whether it’s knives, hunting guns, side arms or the occasional AR-15. Many of us have enough weaponry that if anyone tried to invade, they’d be toast.
Hell, I wouldn’t want to invade Texas. Three steps on anyone’s property and boom, foreign entity gone. I like to think that makes the U.S. pretty scary, and I’d like to keep it that way. If that means constitutional carry, then I am all for it.