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Editorial: Symbolism of SB 116

By TNH Editorial Staff

If you ask a roomful of college professors how to improve a problem, the general answer might be “education.” This applies to issues of race, sex and gender. But when it comes to guns, the state institution takes a swerve. 

Like a car, a gun is dangerous. Unlike a car, the state does not choose to reduce the risk of gun misuse through education.

Though Senate Bill 116 would allow New Hampshire citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit, UNH students would see no changes. Despite a lack of immediate relevance for the student body, Senate Bill 116 is a good thing for New Hampshire.

Criminals have little regard for gun laws. When we regulate guns, we prevent good citizens from being able to protect themselves. The black market arms violent criminals while the law disarms the general population.

When we loosen gun laws, we make good people stronger. From use as tools in rural environments to self-defense weapons in urban areas, guns are part of what make American citizens more self-determining, and less helpless.

On a broader note, one should consider the good precedent set by rolling back a piece of regulation.

Politicians who vote down legislation run into the objection that they are merely saying “no” without offering an alternative. But when politicians say “no” they are often keeping another charge, another form, another tax, another permit, out of the lives of their constituents.

Senate Bill 116 is an example of proactively making a population freer. Too few of our representatives in government make that a priority.

Regulation happens when society feels people cannot be trusted with something: alcohol, tobacco, a gun. But deregulation is an act of respect towards the people. It recognizes that the average American adult does not need to be infantilized by the state or the federal government.

The topic of guns on campus was brought up back in November when an incident involving a firearm occurred in the Gables. No shots were fired, but the mere presence of a gun initiated a strong response from the university police. It is clear that the university takes firearm possession seriously and that seems to be standard for other college campuses across the country.

The debate will continue in Concord over SB 116 for New Hampshire residents. UNH students do not necessarily need to worry about this since our campus falls under the policies outlined by the university. But for residential students who fall on either side of this debate, this bill is something they should keep an eye on.

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