Open carry and open dialogues


Drew Taylor

Drew Taylor

This Friday, an open-carry rally took place on campus at Kent State. Students were warned about the event through a university-wide email that explained that an outside organization would host said demonstration. 

Many of the open-carry and concealed-carry advocates at the demonstration were not students at Kent State. However, students joined the group as well. According to those involved in the event, the goal was to create an open dialogue with others about gun rights, the Second Amendment and people’s safety. But frankly, the idea of an “open dialogue” just makes me roll my eyes.

I’m not saying it is wrong to create a discussion about important issues in society. That’s exactly what politics is all about. Nor am I saying the group didn’t have the right to have their demonstration, as the law allows them to do so.

But not every issue should be treated like we were in debate club, where simply having a dialogue with the other side will solve any problems. Public policy topics such as guns, health care, policy brutality and the military are not just a matter of opinion. They have a direct impact in the life — or death — of thousands of citizens across our country and the world.

An example: Health care policy, and the highly contested issue of a single-payer system, cannot be seen simply as a political opinion one holds. After all, it is literally a matter of staying alive for many. The same goes for gun policy. What some on both sides of the argument fail to see is that while for many the gun debate comes down to “I like guns,” or “I do not like guns,” for others it is a matter of loved ones dying.

I don’t point the finger exclusively at those at the open- and concealed-carry rally. This is not an attack on them. But you cannot believe it is unfair for a family member or friend of a victim of gun violence to be uninterested in an “open discussion” with the other side.

Nor can you believe it is unfair for victims of police brutality or people who rely on the Affordable Care Act to survive to openly sit down and debate the issue when their lives are on the line. 

The demonstration was probably meant in good faith, and those who attended did not cross the line. But if an open dialogue was the goal of the group, I hope they can also accept that, at the end of the day, deaths due to gun violence are too much of a problem for a demonstration like that to be the solution.

Drew Taylor is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected]