Opinion: The True Cost of Open Carry

Eden Amberber, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Guns are a part of American culture. We buy them, we collect them, and now we can, with a handgun license, openly carry them. On Jan. 1, Texas’ open carry law went into effect. This bill allows those who are licensed to carry to do so in public areas. However, open carry is prohibited in gun-free zones like schools, courthouses and any other location with a clear sign prohibiting the carrying of a weapon. Even with these regulations, open carry only exemplifies gun culture. Open carry is a bad idea.

According to NPR, compared to 1968, there are twice as many guns per capita in America, making the total approximately 300 million guns. With these numbers, there is no denying that America’s fascination with weapons, and protecting themselves with these weapons, is increasing. This idea only contradicts itself. Open carry is not the solution. Guns were created with the sole purpose of making it easier to take someone’s life. They make violence easy. Simply their presence will lead to more violent situations.

According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, just being around a gun increases a person’s risk of being fatally shot far more than when a gun is not around. Guns do not care who pulls the trigger, or the intended target, the bullet goes wherever it goes. Guns misfire, they go off on their own, and sometimes they get dropped. Carriers will never know when things could go wrong. It is far better to avoid the situation altogether.

Open-carry supporters cite the prevention of terrorism as a necessity for the legislation. They are right to some extent. Guns will make them safer in these unsafe situations. But, the chance that these weapons will be used in these situations are near to none. According to CNN, domestic violence gun deaths are responsible for approximately 2,000 times the number of deaths caused by terrorism. Carriers are making themselves a tiny bit safer against the near zero-chance that they’ll be attacked. At the same time, they are making themselves and those around them a lot less safe. The negatives continue to outweigh the positives.

When a person sees someone with a weapon, they’re immediately deemed a threat. There is no denying it. That’s reality. Allowing open carry does nothing constructive for American safety. It only disrupts it. There is no denying that the ownership of guns is a constitutional right. Americans simply need to realize that our “rights” don’t need to be carried to an extreme for a better America. Open carry only provokes fear and danger. State government officials need to revisit this legislation and redetermine the true cost of solidifying gun culture.