Ban Concealed Weapons at the U

DBy Earl McDowell During the past month, The Minnesota Daily has published several letters and opinion pieces on the so-called “conceal and carry” law. For example, John E. Caile, communication director for the Minnesota pro-gun rights activist group Minnesota Concealed Carry Reform, NOW!, published an opinion piece on June 16 titled “A shift in the gun debate.” He has labeled those who disagree with him as “segregationists,” “vigilantes” and whiners.

I was surprised by the results of a Zogby poll cited in Caile’s piece. I searched the Internet and was unable to verify the results of the poll he cited. What I did discover is that the Second Amendment Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest legal action group against gun control, reported Zogby poll results that were different from what Caile indicated. I would like to know the following: How was the study referenced in Caile’s piece conducted? Are these results based on a cross-section of all citizens in the United States? What are the demographic breakdowns of these results in terms of gender, education, age, rural versus urban and region of the country?

I also would like to know what percent of the members of the National Association of Chiefs of Police responded to a conceal-and-carry survey referenced in Caile’s piece. Specifically, assuming 62 percent of the chiefs agree with the conceal-and-carry laws, what would be the percentage breakdown based on urban versus rural areas?

I enjoyed reading Bree Dalager’s June 23 letter to the editor. Her assertion regarding the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is wrong; the clause does not give citizens the right to bear arms. I agree with her premise: “Problems with gun violence do not lie with responsible, permit-holding people – it lies with criminals …” However, law-abiding citizens who own guns are responsible for their guns. She should remember that most guns used to commit crimes were originally purchased by law-abiding citizens.

I was most outraged by R. Packett’s personal attack of University President Bob Bruininks’ proposed gun ban at the University in the July 7 piece “More gun talk …” Packett should reread the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. It has nothing to do with a citizen’s right to “conceal-and-carry” a handgun. His attempt to threaten and to frighten Bruininks is ridiculous. Bruininks’ proposal to ban guns on campus is well-founded, not ill-founded. I also agree with Minnesota’s new law that universities may establish policies restricting employees from carrying a firearm “while acting in the course and scope of employment.”

For the record, the Second Amendment of the Constitution – “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed” – does not give citizens the right to bear arms. In fact, the intent of the Second Amendment was to protect citizens from a tyrannical government by permitting states to form militias. Supreme Court decisions in l876 and 1939 ruled that the right to bear arms was not a right granted by the Constitution. More specifically, in l916 so-called citizen militias were replaced by the National Guard. This was due to the passing of the National Defense Act of 1916; the Act recognizes the National Guard as the militia.

I feel that I can speak with some credibility on the gun-control issue. I have studied the issue for the past 33 years. My Master of Art’s thesis, “A study of the rhetorical events leading to the gun control act of 1968,” traces the gun control movement from 1920 to 1968.

I do not support the conceal-and-carry laws.

Earl McDowell is a professor in the Department of Rhetoric. He can be reached at [email protected]