Utah, the first state in the union to accept a weapon as a state symbol, the state we live in.

As we celebrated the acceptance of the Browning M1911 as a symbol of our state, there was a vocal minority crying out about a weapon officially becoming a representative icon. The measure passed anyway, and in 2011 we became a state that is represented by a tool of death.

The Browning M1911, a 9mm handgun, protected many American soldiers overseas. Most of the weapons that John M. Browning, a Utah native, created have been popular during wartime. The soldiers used these weapons to help protect our freedom by ending the lives of those that wished to harm America or her allies.

gunsThe whole nation watched us with a sick kind of pleasure as we declared with legislative power that this gun will forever remain a part of our state history and tradition. The news even made it into The Telegraph, a British newspaper.

We live in a state that has some of most relaxed gun laws in the country. Most people can get their hands on one, and if you get it at a gun show, you don’t even have to get a background check. It can be yours as soon as you hand over the money.

The right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment. It states, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Most of us seem to have forgotten the intent of this amendment.

It’s second for a reason. After having the ability to freely express yourself, the need for a militia in every town to protect yourselves from a tyrannical government comes second. To our founders, words were far more important than actions. Words inform the people, and an informed populace is the most important thing in a free society.

Lately, it seems that the second amendment has taken the forefront. You know, the one I just spelled out for you up there. It seems like most people skim over the first part, focusing mainly on the second part.

“Guns don’t kill people,” has become the rallying cry of those that think the government is trying to make you docile so they can implement their evil socialist regime.

“I need this M4 to hunt deer,” others claim as the reasoning for owning a weapon that is used by the military to take human lives.

The simple truth is that a gun is nothing more than a tool of death. It was designed to end lives, whether they are human or otherwise.

You may say you need it for self-defense, but how do you defend yourself with a gun? You use it to kill the person you are defending yourself from.

UVU allows its students to bring weapons on campus. Though carrying weapons openly on campus is illegal, those with a concealed carry permit are allowed to bring their weapons to shcool with them. And they do, according to a concerned member of the faculty.

Students around you could be carrying weapons in their backpacks. Whether it’s just a personal choice made by the students, or if it’s because they feel unsafe while on campus, or even just because they can, weapons move around our campus every single day.

I’m sure you’re thinking that these people carrying guns around campus have had the best training, or they had to take a test to ensure they won’t misuse their firearms. You might even assume that it’s required to prove that you can fire a weapon and hit what you are aiming for.

You’d be dead wrong.

In fact, it’s relatively simple to get a concealed carry permit in the state of Utah. With a little research you can find that the permit itself only costs $46. You have to pass a state-certified class to get that permit though, which, through a simple Google search, I found costs roughly $45. This is for a three-hour class.

How easy it is to get a permit already won’t matter if HB76 passes, allowing anyone over the age of 21 to have a concealed carry without a regulated permit.

That’s all you need.

A three hour class, a little bit of money, and you, too, can carry a gun with you as you meander the halls of our institution of higher education.

Let’s take a look at the first part of our Second Amendment again, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state . . .”

Are these students forming a militia on campus to protect our freedoms? If they are, they don’t seem to be well regulated. From what I can tell, you never know who might or might not be carrying a gun. You never know how many handguns could be around you at any given moment.

Just imagine as they walk through the halls, they are planning, looking for the best position to take out an active shooter. People are walking through the halls of our college not thinking of their educations but of how to stop someone that wishes to harm students on campus.

Should we ban all weapons on campus to give students a chance to learn in an environment of peace? Or is the looming danger of someone opening fire on students too compelling to ignore?

We have police on campus to protect us from that danger, and many, if not all, of the faculty members have taken active shooter training and know how to protect us.

We should let those who have had more training than a three-hour course protect the student body.

We can make UVU a better place for learning by transforming the environment of fear to one of peace. All it takes is a little understanding and a willingness to give up your gun for a few hours a day.

We can make it work.