Campus carry, a law offering university students to carry guns while following the set criteria on how, when, and where, is a hot issue of debate not only in institutions of learning but also across the nation. Since the debate is central to the security of the nation and is a provision in the US Constitution, the debate about the use, carriers of guns, and places allowed for carriage are a polarizing issue. It runs through the very nerve of the political spectrum that never brings both sides of the debate to agree on anything about gun ownership and laws that should govern its use. The main topics of debate are how the use of guns impacts public safety and security, economy, public, and community policy among other factors. The defense factors that each side puts forward are equally important making it practically impossible to agree with either side of the isle. The paper is a research project on the topic of campus carry using Repko’s 10-step research process.
Campus Carry Research
Campus Carry, a law that took effect on January 1 in the state of Texas allowing anyone to carry a gun even within institutions of learning under certain conditions, has wider implications for the entire nation. The candid belief that guns are central to the security of the nation with gun ownership being a provision in the Constitution causes a tough debate that meets the opposing side at a stalemate. There is enough evidence that proves the points put forward by each side. The debates and polarization behind campus carry pose legitimate questions and challenges to public safety, security and have implications for the economy. Thus, it is important to consider how any change to the existing status quo will affect the central factors of argument in relation to the security and economic interests of the nation.
The main idea of carrying guns not only in relation to campus carry but also to everybody concerned is a complicated issue that is difficult to understand. Therefore, lawmakers and stakeholders should come up with a balanced approach that will address each side of the debate. Gun ownership and use are central to the security of the USA; so, any attempts to make even the slightest changes are met with serious opposition. The most difficult part of this debate is that even those who oppose gun ownership and want it limited agree that indeed an armed nation is the best line of defense against foreign aggression and the best deterrent.
The next point of the argument is the economic factor. The gun industry employs thousands of people across the nation so that abolishing or even limiting and introducing ownership threatens to create a jobs crisis in the country. Those who support gun ownership for other reasons sometimes overlook that the opposing side takes into consideration the economic impact of making any influential changes to the gun industry. Jobs are central to the stability and security of any successful society. Thus, since there are real questions of great importance that have to be addressed, the economic and stability interest is much more important than other issues, a factor held in agreement by both sides of the debate.
The common agreements and disagreements between the opposing parties make the whole argument about gun ownership and use an issue of contention and misunderstanding for the nation. As the common factor of interest is a secure nation that is armed and creates jobs for its population, the main points of the sides of the argument – national security and the economy –can not be separated. Therefore, it is essential to find a golden mean for both sides to enact any substantial rules concerning gun ownership and use. Both factors are disciplinary and moral and cannot be separated to pursue any of them as they depend on each other, a position that has left the issue unresolved.
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Research Paper Annotated Bibliography
Campus carry is a very complex and controversial topic. The two areas that I have chosen to focus on for this research project are public safety/security and economy. In my opinion, these two disciplines are very important to the topic because they provide a strong background to the understanding of the issues and how to deal with them. Public safety and security is significant in the discussion because it is important that students and faculty know the procedures that need to be in place when campus carry takes effect. Also, having a strong background in public safety and security provides faculty and students with the correct policies and procedures on how to handle certain situations. The economy as a discipline applies to campus carry because understanding how the economy works in relation to a controversial topic can determine how it will run.
The first article “Student Development Theory in the Campus Gun Debate” explains the importance of formal rules and the standards of the problem of campus carry. It states that there is hope to adopt strict rules and regulations for carrying weapons on campus safely. The article allows us to view campus carry from a public safety and security perspective, which is very important in the research.
The article “HR: Specialist Texas Employment Law” gives a background on how public safety and security and gun laws go hand in hand. It emphasizes that guns are not permitted in places such as hospitals, amusement parks, churches, government buildings, and nursing homes. The article also states that private colleges and universities may choose not to allow the campus carry laws that have been in effect since 1 January 2016.
The article “Mental Illness, Mass Shootings and the Politics of American Firearms” shows how the gun debate across the nation relates to campus carry. It talks about the failures of the system and the existing gun laws in curbing violence. Cases of the mass shooting in schools, universities, and even military bases are discussed in the article in relation to politics. It shows the hard challenge faced by politicians and institutions on how to limit guns ownership among the people who are not mentally stable to carry them, at the same time making them available to others in the view of stopping a shooter; there should be a delicate balance that has proved hard to strike.
The article “The Militarization of the U.S. Civilian Firearms Market” talks about how the gun industry has gone to great lengths to protect the gun market that employs thousands of people around the nation. Making military-grade weapons to citizens helps the gun industry to retain a wider customer base in the view of creating jobs, which is clearly a question of morality and discipline. Campus carry is a policy aimed at boosting gun sales and retaining the manufacturing industry and its related service sectors across the U.S. It is a question of supporting the economy.
“How do US State Firearms Laws Affect Firearms Manufacturing Location? An Empirical Investigation” talks about the underlying economic interests in the gun industry. Being one of the states with the biggest gun ownership and gun-friendly policies, Texas has a big number of gun manufacturing factories. Campus carry is a law that enhances the economic well-being of the state as more gun sales mean more production and jobs. The race continues as each state tries to enact gun-friendly laws to attract investment from the gun industry to create jobs.
Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health is a book that talks about the conflict of interests especially in the gun industry and the debates around gun use. Guns are lethal but still legal. The argument that the country is well protected when civil society is armed is a central position that cannot be negotiated. What happens is enacting more laws to make more guns available without limits that lead to lethal circumstances like mass shootings. Campus carry is a new law in the same direction of having more guns available.
As campus carry takes effect, there remains to focus on the long-term implications of the policy. Allowing to carry guns on university campuses is a big step ahead in making guns more available for peoples. Incidences of mass shootings at institutions of learning in the past when campus carry was not effective to create a more disturbing picture of gun ownership legalization on campus. The fact that there are and will be more gun-carrying citizens as the law gets adopted by more and more institutions nationwide poses a question of whether the available state law enforcement agencies will be able to handle the rise of gun-misuse cases.
The question of whether the introduction of campus carry is in the best interest of public safety and security as well as economy has led to more questions about who is actually in charge – the government or corporations. In “Lethal but Legal: Corporations, Consumption, and Protecting Public Health”, Freudenberg argues that governments are abdicating their responsibilities of public protection by reducing their oversight of business, privatizing key services, weakening regulations, and making individuals more responsible (2014). Such a situation where the government is withdrawing leaving a vacuum is usually filled by corporations’ and business interests.
When corporations and business interests take over the role of government, it leads to an unbalanced approach to the most pressing issues like gun laws. Now, there arises the question: as more guns are being produced and made available to the people, including even military-grade weapons, whose interest does the situation serve? On the one hand, there is the justified cause of national defense and jobs created by the industry that supports the economy. On the other hand, there are interests of corporations and establishments that want to make profits.
Corporations tend to exploit and use to their advantage the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution by indirectly making gun ownership more of corporate oversight while trying to give the consumer all the rights to use a gun. The aggressive marketing strategies that seek to exploit the honor of the military by attaching the importance of guns to the success of the military seek to make more sales and achieve maximum profits regardless of the consequences of uncontrolled gun ownership.
The flood of militarized weapons exemplifies the firearms industry’s strategy of marketing enhanced lethality or killing power to stimulate sales. The resulting widespread increase in killing power is reflected in the toll of gun death and injury in the U.S. – A relentless count that every year takes 10 times the number of lives as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (Violence Policy Center, 2011).
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As gun sales are rising, there is a great impact on both sides of the debate. It is true that the majority of the population consists of good people that carry guns for legitimate reasons of protection and security. The rise also has seen more than ”2700 federally licensed manufactures of firearms for the civilian and law enforcement markets across the country” ( Brauer, Montolio, & Trujillo-Baute, 2016). In the same regard, corporations seem to be growing bigger and more influential while exploiting and taking advantage of the Constitution. While some have called for restrictive responses to this escalation in production and gun ownership, there seems to be no clear way of reigning on the scale of production and spread of guns in peoples’ hands.
In 2006, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that a public university campus does not have the authority to prohibit guns on campus. Then Wasserman (2011) identified two cases that limited the states’ power related to the Second Amendment. Specifically, the case the United States v. Miller and District of Columbia v. Heller has examined the meaning of this amendment to our Constitution. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of the United States has concluded that the right to bear arms is an individual right which cannot be infringed by the government (federal, state, or local) ( Legal Information Institute). Gun ownership is more prevalent among students who attend colleges in the South, West, and rural areas. Statistics also showed a significant positive relationship between high risky alcohol consumption (binge drinking, DUI, property damage) and gun ownership ( Hemenway, Wechsler, and Miller, 1999).
According to Bouffard, Nobles, Wells, and Cavanaugh (2012) who surveyed undergraduates at a Texas University, the likelihood of eligible students to carry a concealed handgun on campus, if allowed, is difficult to determine. It appears from their study that several students indicated the willingness to carry a gun if policy changes allow. It is one of the first empirical studies examining what changes might take place if students were allowed to carry guns on campus. Their study, however, did not look at the intentions of graduate students, faculty, or staff on the university campus. With unpredictable implications and inconclusive effects of campus carry, some are calling for a ban of guns on college campuses arguing that their presence increases the risk of violence. At the same time, others are arguing that violence and mass shootings have only increased in gun-free zones. Therefore, the presence of weapons by those who are trained to use them will provide additional safety for the innocent.
Integration of Public Safety and Security as Disciplines of Research
Both public safety and security as well as the economic factor present a uniform challenge in the campus carry debate. Even though the carrying of guns is a right in the U.S., the use of a weapon is the center of the debate. For a long time, it has been considered that armed civil society is the best defense against any form of aggression and a deterrent both within and outside the society. Not only in the U.S. but also in other parts of Europe, it is considered a center of the nation’s security. The gun industry is the core and bedrock of the global defense industry employing millions not only in the U.S. but also all around the world.
Stability is the key to the success and well-being of society. It is guaranteed when a nation is secure from internal and external threats and has a successful economy that can employ its people. The campus carry debate with its supporting and opposing sides faces one common dilemma. No matter how many arguments can be brought for or against campus carry laws, they get stalled by one big reason that combines both public safety and security as well as the economy to confront the basic interest of national stability. There is evidence that gun ownership has made the nation secure. The hardest part, however, comes in with the small percentage of the population that is not in a condition to carry guns or guns in the hands of terrorists.
Law-abiding citizens will always observe and follow rules that govern ownership and use of guns. A person with bad intentions or a terrorist does not care about the rules; they care more about the results, in the particular killing. It is true that if more good citizens are armed, there are lower chances of a mass shooting occurring because there will be enough people to neutralize a person with evil intentions or a terrorist. Not all good people are ready to carry guns because they expect the law enforcement structure to protect them. The ones who choose to carry a gun are either reluctant to use their weapons or really do not know how to use them and under what circumstances.
It is clear that gun ownership and use is not going to change in the U.S. Politicians cannot find a common ground that can give way to enact sensible rules to control how guns are circulated and under what circumstances a person is allowed to use a gun. Terrorists and criminals will always exploit the existing weaknesses in gun laws to easily achieve their ambitions. Though mass shootings are becoming more and more rampant, still there is unanimous agreement that gun ownership has made the country more secure as a weapon of defense and more stable as a job-creating industry that employs millions of people.
Guns cannot be outlawed in the U.S.; the only possible solution for the government and lawmakers is to find common ground in enacting rules that serve the country in the best interest. Gun ownership is central to the security of the nation and is not in the best interest to outlaw guns. Even in countries with the most strict gun ownership rules, criminals and terrorists will always find ways to acquire weapons. Law-abiding citizens will always observe laws, unlike criminals and terrorists who will neither understand nor observe any laws caring only about the results of their actions.
The government and lawmakers should find common ground in agreeing to enact laws that are reasonable. Not everybody is in good mental health to carry a gun: mentally unstable people should never be allowed to own weapon. Gun suppliers and retailers should have a unified federal registry where every gun buyer is registered and the details made available to law enforcement agencies. It makes it easier for law officials to track down criminals and mentally unstable gun carriers before they can commit any harm. The recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, happened because law enforcement officials could not effectively track down the suspect due to the existing rules that limit their work.
The government should not have such a sensitive sector of national security controlled by corporations and special interest groups who care only about profits and not the results of their actions. It is clear that corporations and special interest groups run the show. The government and state administrations are not allowed to interfere with gun control rules. That benefits businesses. No matter how hard it is, there is always a way to find common ground and enact relevant rules that can protect every citizen in the country. Freedom is precious, but at times, it comes with a big price if not checked.
Law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are capable of doing their job and ensuring that law and order are observed. There is no need for having such structures if citizens can be trusted to handle their own security and govern public order, which is not quite productive. Therefore, law enforcement agencies should be given the required authority to make sure that they perform their duties effectively without limitations because some cases involve preventing a terrorist act, which cannot be carried out because of limitations set by the U.S. Constitution. The Orlando mass shooting happened because of the limitations to the powers of the law enforcement structures. If such agencies cannot work effectively without hindrance, then mass shootings and cases of terror are bound to happen.
Campus carry is a law that has fueled the debate about gun ownership and use since it took effect on 1 January 2016. Both sides of the debate have strong arguments that have led the whole debate to a stalemate. Those who support campus carry argue that guns play a central role in the nation’s security being a good line of defense against any foreign attack and a deterrent model. They also state that a lot of good people who are armed are the best chance to stop terrorists and criminals in an instant.
Those who want strict gun control laws say that guns are circulating freely without any form of control, which means that they can land in the hands of criminals, terrorists, and mentally unstable people who are not in a position to possess a weapon. They further state that if citizens can take charge of their security, then there won’t be any order, which will lead to more chaos and eventually overpowering the existing law enforcement agencies in the country. Such arguments create a tough situation for politicians to find common ground and come up with any meaningful reviews to campus carry and the existing gun ownership and use laws.
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The uncompromising stance observed by both sides of the debate creates a vacuum in the administration structure, which is exploited and taken advantage of by corporations and special self-interest groups that are keen to make profits. The vacuum creates great opportunities for the gun-manufacturing corporations to take charge and make more weapons available regardless of the implications of such actions. Even though gun ownership is a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, it does not clarify what type of guns should be carried by citizens. For business interest groups, they have taken on a more aggressive approach of using the honor that the military commands for their advantage through advertisements and selling military-grade guns to the public.
Gun ownership and use, as well as campus, carry laws are there to stay. The only and secure way forward is to introduce limits for every great act of freedom. It is never too hard for the government and law-making structures to find a solution to the problems that are facing gun ownership and its use. Good people never cause problems with their guns. Law-abiding citizens will never buy military-grade weapons. It is only criminals and terrorists that will go for such weapons of high capacity destruction. The challenge is to make sure that criminals and terrorists never get hold of such weapons. That requires great coordination efforts among the government authorities, politicians, and law enforcement agencies. It is not clear how this can be implemented, but it is a challenge that has to be faced sooner or later.