Lux et nine-millimeter

You can't handle the truth
    By David Bookstaber

headshotAs most Americans do, I looked forward to my 21st birthday. Yes, that eagerly-awaited coming- of-age when I became old enough to apply for a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

Not only should every law-abiding Yalie have a carry permit, but the University should accommodate the legal use of firearms. Along with the traditional orientation sessions on safe sex and alcohol abuse, Yale should offer students the 10-hour handgun safety cou rse required to apply for a carry permit. We learn a lot about the importance of the First Amendment, but never get to exercise our Second Amendment rights. Which right is going to help you more when you're walking back to Pierson at 2 a.m.?

Yale must also change its rules to allow properly licensed students to store and carry their guns on campus. After all, the lines separating "campus" from the 23rd most dangerous city in America are exceedingly tenuous. If some New Haven teenagers we pass on our way to class carry guns, so should we. After all, as effective as the police are, they can't be everywhere all the time. The New Haven of the 21st century is not a friendly place for Yalies. We are no longer safe even behind the ivy walls of our Ivory Tower, where we could be rubbing shoulders with rapists, pedophiles, and murder suspects.

Imagine what it would be like if Yalies were allowed to carry guns, and if large numbers of students kept current carry permits. If every criminal around campus knew that there was a substantial probability his next target would be armed or a bystander would pull out a gun before he could get away, outlaws would look for trouble elsewhere.

The laws governing the use of deadly force in Connecticut favor those who would use a gun for defense. So do firearm ownership laws. For example, by filing the appropriate forms and paying special taxes, one can legally acquire fully automatic guns and even silencers (which in many states are strictly the domain of feds and criminals). Of course, strict laws regulate gun use. Even with a permit, a gun must be concealed when carried in public, and firing it, except in defense, is illegal. Thus, we shouldn't fear that an armed student body would result in unrestrained mayhem.

Some people would argue that guns have no place in the close quarters of college classes and dorms. But if a mentally sound, law-abiding, 21-year-old Yalie isn't responsible enough to own a firearm, who is? Any argument that Yale students are unfit to possess guns applies sooner to the ordinary citizen who already does. And in his outstanding book More Guns, Less Crime, John Lott incontrovertibly counters the myths that legal gun use increases crime or accidents. A Yalie who goes through the process of getting a carry permit and legally purchasing a firearm will contribute to, not detract from, our general security.

Surely you are now eager to apply for your own carry permit. Here's what to do: go to the police station on Union Street and ask for an application. Bring three letters of reference, a copy of your birth certificate or green card, a photo, and proof of residency. You need certification from the military or National Rifle Association that you have completed a course in handgun safety. Hopefully, Yale will offer such a course in the near future. You will need to get fingerprinted and have your forms notarized. The fee is $35. Of course, you can't get a permit if you are a felon, and if a background check turns up a criminal record or mental instability your application will probably be rejected. Otherwise, your permit will be ready within 10 weeks. What better way can Yale prepare its graduates to be responsible citizens than by arming them?

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