Nov. 17, 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- Representative Swearingen of OSU will put innocent lives in a tremendous amount of danger through his “Equal Carry” Act. On November 17th, 2018, our fellow Oklahomans could very well be dead soon if this bill is passed in the house.
The bill sought to decrease the age of concealed carry handgun license from 21 to 18 years old. Providing a gun to someone who hasn’t even graduated from college should naturally ring as an unsound argument to the delegation.
Undoubtedly, eighteen years old possess certain rights. Representative Swearingen said, “eighteen years old are of the age to vote and to consent, drive and serve in the military. They have proven themselves capable to have a handgun.”
However, Swearingen’s rationale was vastly flawed in its design. In what ways have an eighteen-year-old proven themselves to carry a gun but have not yet “proven” themselves capable to consume alcohol as the legal age to drink is 21?
At the age of eighteen, a person’s brain acts on the will of the amygdala—the emotional response activator—rather than the prefrontal cortex—the place of higher logical thinking capabilities. Therefore, if we consider current social underpinnings such as the rise in awareness of prominent acts of racism, homophobia and islamophobia, this bill will threaten the lives of people belonging to these communities at an even greater risk.
If eighteen-year–olds act on impulsive, emotionally charged areas of the brain, putting a handgun in their possession could result in intentional catastrophe through hate crimes.
Now, of course, eighteen-year-olds who drive have hurt people, but in most cases, it is not intentional such as exhibited in hate crimes. Furthermore, even with one proposed amendment suggesting extensive psychological evaluations, there is a high probability that it will focus on profiling those who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses. The notion that only mentally ill people would use a gun in ill intent has always been a socialized stigma.
In fact, the New York Times reported that according to various polls “roughly half of Americans either believe that failing to identify people with mental health problems is the primary cause of gun violence or that addressing mental health issues would be a major deterrent.”
The article also stated that, “overall, mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent 1 percent of all gun homicides each year.”
So, illustrious delegation, why is a gun more important to have in our state than an irreplaceable life?