Poor emotional health makes gun bill bad idea

College years and young adulthood can be the most emotionally vulnerable and turbulent times in one’s life. Recent mental health studies show that this trend is on the rise.

According to a national survey of more than 200,000 incoming university freshmen, the emotional health of college freshman is at its lowest point in 25 years, according to a Jan. 26 article in The New York Times. This is believed to be caused by factors like the terrible economic situation, looming post-college debts and the increasing pressure to find a place in today’s job market. These mental health problems could be a factor in violence if carrying concealed guns on college campuses is legalized.

For my TCU Common Reading in fall 2009, we discussed the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Many in my group argued that our rights were clearly stated right there in the amendment.

What people forget is that this country was founded more than 200 years ago when automatic weapons and high-powered explosives didn’t exist in the founders’ wildest dreams. Our right to bear arms was meant to give Americans the right to bear rifles to protect their land from Native Americans and the British, who both wanted it back. It was not meant to put automatic weapons in the hands of the world’s most unstable age group.

The problem is that people apply this “right” literally instead of relative to the time. But laws must be adapted to suit the needs of society. For instance, 31 states have primary seat belt laws requiring drivers to wear seat belts. Obviously, cars didn’t exist when this country was born, but do we call this infringing on our rights?

By legalizing guns on college campuses, we could be better prepared to defend ourselves from the dangers of today, but would adding more guns to the mix minimize or maximize the problems? College is home to declining emotional health, according to the New York Times article. Can you imagine what would happen if we allowed everyone to carry a weapon? The answer to your depression would be tucked in the back of your jeans, and in fights, students would pull out .45s, not fists.

The naïve justify it as a means of self-defense, but the realistic see it for what it is: giving more weapons to more people, thus increasing the weapons’ availability when conflicts arise. Even if you had one on you, would you still feel safe if you knew everyone else did too? Would you avoid conflicts with people in fear of what they’re carrying, or would you be more likely to start trouble yourself, knowing that if things go bad, you have a gun?

Either way, there are more opportunities for a slip up. College campuses are supposed to be a safe haven where we can walk to class without worrying about these things happening. It’s sad we live in a world where anyone can pass a test, get a gun and bring it to psych class.

The facts are there, but so is the obligation to look at what history has taught us and where the future is taking us.

Parker Rossier is a strategic communication and philosophy double major from Kansas City, Kan.