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Letters to the Editor >> Opinion

Self-Defense is Not a Privilege, It’s a Necessity



Here in California we already have some of the most egregious and unreasonable gun control laws in America, the worst of which are two separate “assault weapons” bans (banning weapons by name and cosmetic features), and a 10 round magazine capacity limit.

Did these laws stop the shooter Friday? Have gun control laws stopped anyone from doing anything? Someone with a concealed carry permit could have.

In California, only the Sheriff of the county of your residence is allowed to issue concealed carry permits, and in Santa Barbara County, unless you are rich, white and make a sizable “donation” to Sheriff Brown’s election campaigns, you will not be issued a permit. In some counties the Sheriff requires prospective applications to go through the police academy, buy $1,000,000 in liability insurance and undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Imagine if they had the same requirements to attend the church of your choice or to protest a certain cause.

To obtain a permit, two of the (many) requirements are to show “good cause” and to be of “good moral character,” which give Sheriff Brown and his deputies a huge “out” to subjectively deny who can carry a concealed firearm. From what I understand, even inquiring about an application will cause an automatic denial when the paperwork is filed. The “correct” way to obtain a permit is to get a judge or elected official as a “sponsor” thus ensuring approval. But only rich white people have those connections, and a brown graduate student like myself does not. Then again, those same people are the ones who live in Montecito or Hope Ranch behind quarter-mile-long driveways and hire off-duty police officers for security, so they only carry a firearm when they’re in Downtown Santa Barbara or Old Town Goleta when around people who are aren’t as rich or white as they are.

The list of concealed carry permit holders is not subject to any privacy regulations, which defeats the purpose of obtaining a permit if anyone can find that you have one (except for police, judges, prosecutors, politicians and anyone else whose life the government has deemed more important than yours). In addition, concealed handgun permits are only valid for a short time, can be revoked for any reason by an existing or newly elected sheriff and you can only carry the firearm specified on your permit.

A concealed firearm could have saved George Ied’s life. A woman with a concealed firearm could make rapists and muggers think twice. Someone with a concealed carry permit could have done something against the shooter the other night. A concealed carry permit could benefit those who are beat up, robbed and stabbed (or worse) by the aggressive panhandlers and others in Downtown Santa Barbara. Concealed carry permit holders could actually do something against many of the violent drugged-up criminals who would attempt to attack them. But here in Santa Barbara Country, self-defense is a right reserved only for the rich and well-connected, which doesn’t make it a right at all. More like a privilege that only “special” people can have.
V. Shasty is a third-year mechinical engineering graduate student.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, May 29, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.

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24 Responses to Self-Defense is Not a Privilege, It’s a Necessity

  1. Alex Reply

    May 31, 2014 at 9:08 am

    The real world is obviously a dangerous place, especially for women. #Islavista had riots, 3 brutal rapes by gangs of strangers and multiple apartment break-ins since January…all before this monster attacked our community. Men, break free of the #misogyny society perpetuates and make a stand for the women in your life. Defend their honor with ideals and action. If they aren’t already trained in self defense, teach them what you know and give them the power to protect themselves when you aren’t around. As an Iraq veteran, I train my #gaucho girlfriend to protect herself. She carries mace, a stun gun and in light of whats happened, I want her to have the right to carry a gun. Unfortunately, California laws make it impossible for even trained #veterans and #retiredpolice officers to apply for an #opencarry or #concealedweapon permit. I also teach her #selfdefense tactics and how to be #streetsmart We don’t tolerate the fear of #rapeculture in our little family here at #ucsb I never want her to have to wait for 911 responders, when she is capable, trained and of sound mind to protect herself and possibly others. This is why our 2nd amendment was written…for citizens to have the #freedom to protect themselves from criminals, evil psychotics and murderers that would get their hands on a gun or knife and kill you anyway. #elliotrodger was hellbent enough to use his BMW. Please #California vote in #strictergunlaws for psychotics and make it easier for #goodcitizens to pursue an education and not perish without a chance to fight back that is our right. Let the memory of those gone, do something to stop it from happening again. #mygirlfriendisagaucho This #gauchogotmyback #womanwarrior #gauchostrong #islavista #santabarbara #NRA #nationalrifleassociation #prayforislavista #prayforucsb #yesallwomen #peaceandlove

    See my girl and her gun:

    http://instagram.com/p/oheZlhxRXN/

    • Bryan Reply

      June 11, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Granted I am assuming you taught her to use a handgun for personal defense as a rifle isn’t practical, I don’t think you need one. As far as personal defense goes, i would argue pepper spray and a taser would do the job quite well. Guns are the great equalizers in that weak or strong, a gun gives you the ability to end a life. The good thing is that you can defend yourself against the strong, the downside is they are on the exact same playing field as you, and you are playing potentially for your life. Why not get rid of all guns? To defend yourself travel w/ a friend if you are in a shady part of town, carry pepper spray and/or a taser. I would be hard pressed to see a potential criminal continue to rob you after getting pepper sprayed. Carrying a gun just ups the ante by betting your life that you are capable of getting the drop on the criminal as well as being a faster more capable shot than the assailant.

      • shawmutt Reply

        June 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm

        Pepper spray and a tazer may not be effective, and is pretty useless against more than one assailant.

        Review some of the youtube videos of what really happens when a citizen uses a firearm against a criminal (or group of criminals). They run. Fast.

        Don’t take my word for it. I suggest you do some reading on this forum with posts by cops that use it regularly:

        http://forums.officer.com/t6001/

        My own story is the time I sprayed it just to see how it works. A lot came back and hit me in the face.

        Why not get rid of all guns? As long as criminals have guns citizens should be able to have them. You need to understand something about criminals. Pull your wallet out of your back pocket. How much money do you have in there? There are people out there willing to kill you for that amount. There are people who will kill you if that amount isn’t enough. You don’t have any money? Consider yourself lucky if you just get pistol-whipped. They are animals preying on the weak.

  2. raoul duke Reply

    May 30, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Look at what just happened in Georgia, the cops threw a flash bang grenade that landed in a baby’s crib. Highly trained redneck sheriff SWAt teams make mistakes. Weapons can be missused by anyone.

    The area of the country this takes place in makes no difference other than the fear that the average criminal in knowing that if you come in through the window in IV, you get to rape anyone you can overpower. In Texas, you get 150 grains of lead to the face from a girl with a .45

  3. JimInHouston Reply

    May 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    ” To suggest that if gun laws were more lax one of these students could have stopped the shooter is just naiveté at it’s worst. ”

    Appalachian School of Law, UT tower shooter

    “The facts, both domestically and internationally, show that more strenuous gun laws lead directly to fewer deaths by guns.”

    Ignorant or a liar — choose one. John Lott, “More Guns, Less Crime”, is one of many sources for you to study. But even worse, those gun control laws almost always lead to far more overall violent crime (not just the narrow set called “gun deaths”). The UK experience is highly instructive.

  4. Krusty Shakelford Reply

    May 29, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Genius! Let’s give thousands of guns to the thousands of drunks on an average IV weekend and see how things turn out. That’ll for sure be the best form of prevention. Nobody would leave their house/apt. Enrollment would drop to zero and UCSB would be a ghost campus within a year.

    Look kid, the left prefrontal cortex of your brain is not fully developed until you reach 25. That region is largely responsible for reason and decision making. When you grow up, you will realize how foolish you’re thinking actually is.

    • raoul duke Reply

      May 30, 2014 at 12:10 am

      The enrollement at UTexas is very high, and they have lots of guns. So much for that argument.

      • Krusty shakelford Reply

        May 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

        Texas is gun country. California is not. Why dont you respond to the rest of my comment if you can.

        • JimInHouston Reply

          May 30, 2014 at 6:54 pm

          So are you saying that Californians are somehow less competent or more irrational than Texans?

          • raoul duke Reply

            May 30, 2014 at 9:21 pm

            YEAH!

  5. Matthew Reply

    May 29, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Anyone who argues against gun reform is so blinded by their own naivet, egotistical myopathy, that they can’t see such an obvious and simple fact; Mentally unstable and psychologically unfit individuals should not be able to purchase a gun. If you believe otherwise, you certainly, should not be able to purchase a gun. It’s absolutely fucking preposterous that while a physician can deem an individual unfit to drive a car, and therefore notify the DMV to revoke that privilege, there is no way for a physician to deem an individual unfit to purchase a gun, because federal background checks are so damn impotent. It’s pathetic that we need to have this conversation in the first place.

    • shawmutt Reply

      May 31, 2014 at 7:02 am

      Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the current state of firearm laws and determine how they work, or don’t work.

      It would also benefit you to learn about the current state of mental health research and the laws and issues surrounding that. For instance, those suffering from mental health issues are far more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator. I’ll even give you a place to start: http://depts.washington.edu/mhreport/facts_violence.php

      This mental health canard that’s trotted out as a source of all our evils is simply a 21st century witch hunt. The premise goes against everything we know about mental health, everything we know about the perpetrators of violence in this country, and ignores the laws we already have on the books. It simply doesn’t follow the facts. But hey, it sounds good to the fearful masses!

  6. Jeff Reply

    May 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    What kind of a coward writes an editorial under a pseudonym? The same kind of coward who needs a gun to feel safe. The same kind of coward who places a 250 year old law written by slaveowners over his fellow man.

    • shawmutt Reply

      May 29, 2014 at 7:33 pm

      Gee, Jeff, why don’t you tell us how you really feel about about the Constitution? I mean, after all, it’s just a bunch of words written by slave owners.

      • Jeff Reply

        May 30, 2014 at 10:32 am

        It is. Stop fellating the Founding Fathers and think critically.

        • shawmutt Reply

          May 30, 2014 at 11:23 am

          Well, thinking critically, if the 2nd Amendment is as outdated as, say, slavery or preventing women from voting, it should be a simple matter to gather folks together and amend the Constitution, right?
          Thinking critically, we are a Republic that was formed to protect individual rights. Not the rights of panicked, irrational people that want to try and legislate away senseless violence–but our natural right of self-preservation, using the Constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms (the best tool for the job when prevention fails).
          After all, “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
          Before hurling insults and accusing someone of a lack of critical thinking, take a step away from the keyboard and a good look in the mirror.

  7. Michael Boyd Reply

    May 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Guns, The constitution grantees an individuals right to own a gun, it also grantees a city or community the right to say you can not carry that gun. You can own it, take it out and go hunting with it, or even if it is one of them snake guns for protection you can not carry it in public. I am sorry but our cities and towns may not like people caring guns, our history is filled with cities and towns doing just that, controlling the guns for the protection of the community or town.

    Now to actually use all of this wonderful propaganda, I would suggest the movie about Wyatt Earp. A city in the old west got tired of people carrying their guns and inflecting noise and injury upon the good citizens of that city. It is a great story about two men of Cause, one seldom talked about and now more likely lost to history, The Man who stood before the city assembly and with good intentions asked that guns be removed form public and put away.

    The other how history likes a hero of enforcement, Wyatt Earp, a man of Cause with guns blazing did he take their guns, and their lives.

    • JimIinHouston Reply

      May 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      “also grantees a city or community the right to say you can not carry that gun.”

      Really? So how does that square with the “bear” part?

  8. shawmutt Reply

    May 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Sorry Seth, it has been documented with regularity that good guys with guns stop bad guys. One repository of defensive gun uses can be found at reddit.com/r/dgu. The contributors submit the daily defensive gun uses as documented in local and nationwide news outlets. Given that most defensive gun use stories don’t get media attention unless someone is shot, it seems your argument is full of holes.

    You think the second amendment is outdated? Then have it amended, simple as that. Put up or shut up.

  9. Seth Reply

    May 29, 2014 at 9:41 am

    There are so many holes in this ridiculous argument I am not even sure where to start. To suggest that if gun laws were more lax one of these students could have stopped the shooter is just naiveté at it’s worst. It has been documented with regularity that even in situations like this when a person is carrying a weapon they choose not to use it (See Tucson). Not to mention the potential confusion once police do respond – how do they know the “good guy” is vs. the “bad guy?” Who are the police supposed to target if ten people in firing away wild west style?

    The facts, both domestically and internationally, show that more strenuous gun laws lead directly to fewer deaths by guns. There is absolutely no factual basis that putting more guns on the street does anything other than leading to more lethality. Your theoretical opinion based on some odd obsession with owning and carrying inanimate objects can’t, won’t, and doesn’t stand up in the face of reality. And I for one, am no longer going to simply stand by because gun obsessors think they hold the golden key to this issue based on some twisted and inexplicable interpretation of an outdated constitutional amendment.

    • JimInHouston Reply

      May 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      “Not to mention the potential confusion once police do respond – how do they know the “good guy” is vs. the “bad guy?” Who are the police supposed to target if ten people in firing away wild west style? ”

      Funny thing…it just doesn’t happen. There are many instances in which a CHL holder has downed an attacker and the police have had no trouble sorting out who is a danger to them.

      It only takes a little thought to figure out how the cops can do that. Are you up to it?

      • raoul duke Reply

        June 1, 2014 at 9:39 pm

        The CHL holder usually takes the attacker by surprise… Cops are usually much easier for a shooter to identify. The shooter is never expecting the random Joe on the street to shoot back.

        The element of surproise is what works in favor of the private citizen carrying.

        • Bryan Reply

          June 11, 2014 at 4:33 pm

          that same element of surprise is what allows the shooter to shoot you before you can get your gun out. Works either way. I would argue unless you are trained in combat situation, once bullets start to fly your first thought (if you have one) is to take cover not stand there and reach for your gun. That is assuming you brought you gun w/ you when you wanted to go out to party. And hey a bunch of drunk kids armed with guns sounds great, I can’t think of how it would escalate a fight or anything not to mention accidentally discharge (oh right that recently happened here in IV as well). So you have one situation where the bad guy with a gun is potentially stopped by the good guy w/ the gun before he can shoot anyone (assuming you can shoot him before he drives by) and 50 situations where carry a gun on the regular leads to problems. I know you have no inclinations to go out and shoot ppl, and i am sure you are responsible to not accidentally discharge your weapon or draw it in a fight, but by the numbers more guns means more bullets, means more ppl get shot. No guns means nobody gets shot, simple as that. You want self defense against a knife, robbers and rapists? Travel with friends, lock your doors and buy pepper spray and a taser. I dont need to knee cap someone to subdue them, pepper spray and a taser will make em piss their pants and run or get picked up by the cops. There are non-lethal forms of defense and you can’t argue with the simple fact that more guns means more bullets compared to no guns

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