Constitutional Carry Could Cause Calamity

“Constitutional carry” is a relaxation of common sense to safeguard the Second Amendment from anything that could possibly be perceived as infringement.

House Bill 2597, also known as “constitutional carry” or “permitless carry” was signed into law by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt on Feb. 27 and is set to go into effect on Nov. 1.

The legislation will allow any person who is at least 21 and legally owns a firearm to carry openly or concealed with no permit necessary. That means there will be people walking around carrying a gun with no training.

There are limits to all of our rights as United States citizens. For example, the First Amendment is our right to free speech. In 1919, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said “the most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”

The Fourth Amendment provides “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure …” Despite this, one is still subject to going through airport security, drunken driving checkpoints and having their car searched following a claim that an officer supposedly smells something.

So, why should the Second Amendment be exempt, especially in a time when there are more guns than people in the country?

A 2009 study published by the American Journal of Public Health revealed that someone carrying a gun for self-defense was 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault. This is bad news for the “good guy with a gun” archetype.

Examples of this archetype becoming a hero exist, but they are rare and cherry-picked by gun enthusiasts. The dangers far exceed any marginal chance of being a gun owner in a situation like that.

In 2018, Emmanuel Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, was fatally shot from behind by police inside an Alabama shopping mall after he was mistaken for the shooter. While he was indeed armed, he was trying to help people to safety.

Law enforcement should be concerned about this legislation as well.

Former Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty is opposed to “constitutional carry” laws. Citty said training will have to change as guns will be easier to get, and officers should be concerned to know who is behind the gun and who has the gun.

After Missouri passed similar legislation in Jan. 2017, St. Louis experienced a nearly 25 percent increase in the rate of aggravated assaults with a gun in 2017 as compared to 2016. That comes out to 484 more gun-related aggravated assaults than the previous year.

A 2010 poll by Giffords Law Center of registered voters across the United States found that 57 percent feel less safe after learning that concealed guns may lawfully be carried in public.

Gun possession is also correlated with increased road rage, according to a PubMed study. People have lapses in self-control and judgement when emotions take over.

In 1967, Leonard Berkowitz, professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, conducted a study that revealed just the sight of guns increased aggression.

Participants were purposefully perturbed by someone posing as another participant as they were both seated at a table with either guns or sports items. The actual participant was allowed to deliver an electric shock to the fake one after being angered. When guns were present, the shock delivered was higher. This was named the “weapons effect.” Berkowitz concluded that guns not only permit violence, they can stimulate it too.

Second Amendment enthusiasts in the state are already planning on showing up to certain places carrying a firearm to gauge the reactions of law enforcement.

On Aug. 8, in the wake of the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, Dmitriy Andreychenko entered a Missouri Walmart wearing body armor, armed with a rifle and about 100 rounds of ammunition as a “social experiment.” It should come as no surprise that he said he now regrets the decision.

“Constitutional carry” laws are what turn a small squabble into a potentially life threatening altercation. When one insults another, a visible gun turns the perception of the affront from an insult to a threat on one’s life.

The average person is prone to perceiving a life threatening situation in a wild and unpredictable way. “Constitutional carry” is a significant public risk with Darwin-esque consequences for some.

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