The Harbinger Online

Concealing Our Concern

In the United States, the effects of inexperienced people using guns is more than apparent. Injuries, suicides, murders and accidents happen regularly as a result of firearm ownership. It was reported recently by WSB-TV in Conyers, Ga., that a man accidentally shot himself at a gun show. According to Komo News, in Shelton, Wash., a man shot and killed his wife while cleaning his gun, claiming it was an accident. And, perhaps most horrifically, a girl in Arizona accidentally shot and killed her shooting range instructor.

These shootings have a few things in common. The first is that they’re all accidents. They’ve also all occurred in the last nine months, with the first two occurring in the past month. The big differences? The shooters were a husband, a child and a gun-enthusiast. Normal people who, when handling guns, made grave mistakes.

Over 30,000 people died in 2011 as a result of gun-inflicted wounds, and every year that number is steadily rising. These deaths are horrifying, and it is our duty as American citizens to make that number as small as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to require firearm training, safety and permits for gun owners. And without all of these requirements, the possibility of concealed carry without a permit in the state of Kansas is extremely detrimental.

Senate Bill 145, otherwise known as concealed carry without a permit, has been passed in the Kansas Senate and House, and will eventually go to Governor Sam Brownback. If it passes, the bill would allow Kansans to carry concealed guns in public without permits. The Harbinger does not support this bill and believes that everyone in the state of Kansas should be required to carry a permit for any and all of their firearms.

To get a concealed carry permit, a person must undergo eight hours of firearms training. This training gives you experience in cleaning guns, handling them and using them for self-defense. What Senate Bill 145 will do is allow gun owners to skip this step. If this bill becomes a law, anyone in the state of Kansas over the age of 21 can carry a gun with them in public without any sort of training or experience. And this inexperience is what leads to injuries and fatalities, as has been shown time and time again.

In 2013 in the state of Kansas, the number of deaths due to injury by firearms was 11.4 per 100,000 people. Conversely, that number is 14.1 in Arizona, 16.8 in Arkansas and 19.8 in Alaska, all states that allow concealed carry without a permit. While correlation does not always equal causation, it is not out of the realm of possibility that if Governor Sam Brownback allows Senate Bill 145 to pass, the number of firearm-related fatalities in our state could grow much larger.

To allow concealed carry without a permit to become law is to allow accidents to happen on a much larger scale. When people don’t know how to handle a gun, the risk of an accident, injury or death is much higher. Unsuspecting people are put in danger. As was written in an ABC News article, the U.S. accounted for 80 percent of firearm-related fatalities of the 23 wealthiest countries in the world. The last thing we need is to let that number grow.

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