Dear Dallas Morning News,
In the editorial by Dennis McCuistion supporting the campus carry law, he states, “The data says guns on campus will make us safer.” McCuistion incorporates true but unrelated statistics about deaths due to gun violence and Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders. He also tries to support his claims with “educated opinions” which isn’t evidence and can be dismissed as irrelevant.
I not only disapprove of Senate Bill 11, but also disagree with his argument for it is lacking foundation. Yes, the CDC reports 33,878 deaths resulted from firearms in 2013 and yes more were suicides rather than firearm-related homicides, however McCuistion fails to mention what correlation that has to gun laws and restrictions which was mentioned in the previous paragraph. In his editorial there is also an emphasis that CHL holders are less likely to be involved in criminal activities, however in most cases “safer” CHL holders are not the ones to be worried about; even without a CHL there are other ways to obtain handguns. The mentioned, “educated opinions” that support the open carry law are not opinions that are directly affected by the issue.
McCuistion is very proud of his fact checking of Mr. Crisp’s sources from his editorial about negating Senate Bill 11 and it is much appreciated. McCuistion even points out that Mr. Crisp’s argument leads readers to believe that more gun laws and restrictions are the answer based onMr. Crisp’s citing of the National Journal. This is completely true based on the correlation between restriction and gun violence that was back up with evidence. McCuistion’s next paragraph highlighting his stellar facts leads us to believe that the number of majority of deaths of firearms didn’t even come from firearm-related homicides but suicides. People killing other people with guns doesn’t really seem as bad when more people are killing themselves with guns, right? Some might say yes, but just because the CDC reports more deaths by guns were from suicides than homicides doesn’t contradict the fact more gun laws showed less gun violence. To put it simply, more gun restrictions leads to less people killing other people. Let me be clear: it is tragic to see that more take their own lives with firearms, but that doesn’t change the amount of those that are being killed by firearms, nor does that lessen the truthfulness of the National Journal article.
In addition, McCuistion talks about how in 2013, there were 50,869 convictions; 158(.31%) were CHL holders. He then makes the quick assumption that the ones doing criminal activities do not hold Concealed Handgun Licenses. Again, his statistics are spot on but do he really think that just because only CHL holders are allowed with guns on campus, it’ll stop potential non-licensed shooters from coming onto the college campus? Much less stop them from opening fire? 99.69% of convictions in 2013 did not have CHLs. That’s a much larger portion of people committing crimes with guns and without CHLs. This evidence could prove CHL holders commit less crimes but it also suggests that the majority of people, the people college students should worry about committing crimes don’t have CHL’s; now that handguns can be carried it makes those 99.69% of people less identifiable. Is the armed person sitting next to you a licensed student or a possible shooter? Should we ask?
Although McCuistion admits the responses he gathered from PoliceOne as being nothing more than just opinions and not evidence that concealed carry laws are beneficial, it seems almost absurd for individuals to even consider them when it comes from those that are not affected daily. Have you ever looked at how actual Texas college students feel about it? Take The University of Texas for example, according to an article by the Austin AmericanStatesman, UT students showed their opposition to the bill. Their protest formed from their saying, “Cocks Not Glocks.” Their reason for this was expressed through their facebook page stating how the state of Texas doesn’t have rules about bringing guns to class but does have strict rules about sexual expression. This reasoning was followed by the statement,“You would receive a citation for taking a DILDO to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class. Heaven forbid the penis.” Opposition from UT students doesn’t just show their blunt disapproved of the campus carry law but it also shows the injustice they feel that’s going on because of foolish safety priorities being enforced throughout college campuses.
Although only CHL holders are allowed on campus and those licensed individuals make up .31% of convictions in Texas, does having a CHL really make you qualified to carry a gun around? I’d like to think getting a CHL is a rigorous process that tests a range of abilities of the individuals wanting to be able to carry around a deadly weapon around their waist. When “How to get a CHL license in Texas?” is searched online (which I’d guess is what most who want to obtain a CHL do) the first thing that comes up on the screen is, “4 EASY STEPS TO GET YOUR TEXAS LTC (FORMALLY KNOWN AS THE TEXAS CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE CHL BEFORE 1/1/16)”. This quote belongs to Spartan Defense who offers defense classes, Licence to Carry (LTC)and other opportunities regarding firearms and self-defense. Organizations like these are helpful but it does highlight the simplicity that comes into obtaining a license. This may be useful for those getting the license but what about those who aren’t? If it’s that easy anyone could do it. For example, Leif Reigstad from the Houston Press wrote an article titled, “Why Was It So Easy for Me to Get a Concealed Handgun License?” In this article, he expresses how he shot a gun, ten rounds, for the first time and the next time he shot a gun was during the shooting test for his LTC, which he passed. As long as someone meets certain Texas requirements, they are able to have an LTC which allows them to purchase firearms as well. Legally purchasing a firearm isn’t the only way to get one. Many can be obtained illegally or taken from family members, friends or anyone who actually has one.
McCuistion’s statistics, facts and resources can be true and reliable but uncorrelated is unacceptable. The reason his argument is failing is because his facts don’t support what he’s trying to say. Individually they may be true, but within the editorial they make no sense and thus hold no foundation or support. McCuistion’s evidence is easily dismantled because there is much more support when one has correlating facts and evidence to the argument.
I cannot tell Dennis McCuistion or anyone like him to change his mind or suggest that he reconsiders his whole way of life, however I do recommend that people listen to those who are the opposite of them. Reading letters like mine is a good start, however researching on your own and actually analyzing why those opposite others are so opposed to this bill might not change someone’s mind but it might help an individual, like McCuistion to understand why their evidence and claims are a bit lacking. The goal doesn’t have to be to change people’s mind but instead help them understand your side and enable them to keep it in their pocket when learning about other opinions. One person cannot write from just one end of the political or social spectrum; you must walk down both ends and then use that direct evidence to support your writing. Relevance and reliability are two different things, but you need them both to comprehend and perhaps change people’s views.
4 EASY STEPS TO GET YOU TEXAS LTC (FORMALLY KNOWN AS THE TEXAS CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE CHL BEFORE 1/1/16). (n.d.). Retrieved from Spartan Defense website: http://www.spartandefense.com/?chl=classes&tag=license-information-3-easy-steps
Phillips, D. (n.d.). Voices From Texas on Campus Carry [Newsgroup post]. Retrieved from New York Times website: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/26/us/28concealed-listy.html
Reigstad, L. (n.d.). Why Was It So Easy for Me to Get a Concealed Handgun License? [Newsgroup post]. Retrieved from Houston Press website: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/why-was-it-so-easy-for-me-to-get-a-concealed-handgun-license-8045919
Wilson, M. (n.d.). UT students use sex toys to protest campus carry law [Newsgroup post]. Retrieved from Austin American Statesman website: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/students-use-sex-toys-protest-campus-carry-law/48cIn8dCyJZpGl3rkMsSTJ/