Students at the University of Utah are allowed to bring guns to school due to recent shootings taking place at colleges across the country. Like many I have mixed feelings, but here’s how I view the gun rights vs. control issue in general:
There are a few values that are important here:
- The amount of violence in general.
- The level to which violence is deterred from criminals knowing law-abiding citizens are likely to be armed.
- The amount of additional harm that comes from firearm accidents/misuse.
It seems to me (although I’ve been known to oversimplify) that we should be able to construct a simple logic statement based on solid metrics.
If violence in a given area exceeds amount
x, citizens should be allowed to carry concealed firearms as long as the level of harm to the population due to accidents/misuse does not exceed that of the deterrent value.
In other words it’s a simple matter of having solid metrics with which to judge net good vs. net harm. If there is more harm due to the accidents/misuse than there is a drop in violence from the deterrent, then it’s simply not worth it. And if the deterrent is stronger than the resulting harm from accidents, etc., then it should be continued.
Like all things risk the key seems to be the metrics and their interpretation. But surely we can find some way to improve in this area.