COUNTERPOINT: Gun owners have plenty of rights
Baylor Bynum, The Oklahoma Daily
On Nov. 1, Oklahoma enacted bill 1733, which allows Oklahomans to openly carry loaded or unloaded weapons. Before, Oklahomans were only allowed to carry a gun if it was concealed.
Though I dislike guns and am generally in favor of the most extreme forms of gun control, I agree with my opponent that this law is a good thing for Oklahomans — but not for the sake of the rights of gun owners.
In a country where there are actual disenfranchised communities who need more liberties — like immigrants and the GLBT community — it is laughable to say that gun owners need more liberties.
Americans have plenty of gun rights. We have some of the most liberal gun laws in the Western world, and 14 other states allow citizens to openly bear their weapons.
I think this transparency is a good thing. Sure, it is definitely going to be a little disconcerting the first time I see Joe the plumber walking down the street with a gun attached to his hip, but I would much rather be aware of the fact that Joe the plumber has a gun than be surprised by it if he decides to use it.
Now, instead of simply worrying if the guy next to you at the gas station is hiding a gun, you will have empirical evidence of the gun’s existence and of the mental health or self-esteem of the person who is pumping gas next to you.
If you have to go about life in America with a gun strapped to your body, visible or not, you either have a level of paranoia that might classify you as insane, or you are overcompensating for some serious personal deficiencies.
The ability to defend oneself is important, but it wasn’t the reason for this law. Technically, if someone wanted to defend themselves using a gun, they could have under the concealed carry law.
So, what is the reasoning behind letting everyone see you have a gun?
One argument for open carry is that a visible weapon would deter crime, and I am not refuting this could happen.
Weapon carriers are more likely to deter people in general.
Given the choice of talking to a person with the gun and talking to a person without the gun, I am going to choose to talk to the person without the gun (although the eccentricities of the gun-toter would probably make for a more interesting conversation).
The passing of this law, like the passing of State Questions 759 and 765, which eliminated affirmative action and the Department of Human Services respectively, is not an increase of liberty.
It is yet another example of living in a frustratingly Republican state that can’t see the answer to all problems does not necessarily come in the color of red.
Janna Gentry is an English senior.