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Tennessee, Arizona, Georgia and Virginia have all enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars. Eighteen other states–Connecticut included–currently allow weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol.
Expanded gun rights are affecting many states throughout the U.S. due to two landmark Supreme Court rulings confirming individuals’ rights to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes. This has some debating the presence of guns locally.
“I would feel really nervous and threatened if I saw someone with a gun while I was out to eat with my friends,” sophomore Jenel Conde said. “Honestly, is it really necessary?”
Connecticut law permits residents over the age of 21 to carry a handgun anywhere (with the exception of a few state department buildings) as long as they have a permit from the Department of Public Safety, and the property owner has not banned the presence of firearms.
According to Capt. John Lujick of the Hamden Police Department, it’s extremely uncommon for residents, and even police officers, to carry weapons into restaurants and bars.
“We as police do not have concerns over legitimate gun ownership as long as the rules are followed and the owners of the firearms are normal, emotionally stable citizens,” Lujick said in an e-mail.
“Violence does happen with legit [sic] owners,” Lujick said. “However, it is a rare occasion when a properly licensed person turns criminal regarding firearms.”
For the last three years the Hamden Police Department tracked 30 sales reports per month. According to the reports, there have been a total of 1,080 pistols sold in Hamden during this period.
“I don’t think this is a great idea because most gun injuries come from misuse, and alcohol does not mix with guns,” said Steve Gullo, owner of Whitney Bar and Grille.
According to the NRA, states that have Right-to-Carry laws have, on average, lower violent crime rates than those without. Since 1991, the number of states that have Right-to-Carry laws has risen from 17 to 40, and violent crime has dropped 38 percent.
Quinnipiac strictly prohibits “possession, transportation, storage or use of firearms, air guns, splat guns, BB guns or any other dangerous weapon,” according to the Student Handbook.
“It has been suggested that if students on college campuses carry weapons, the tragedies such as those that occurred at Virginia Tech or Northern Illinois University or going back further in time, the sniper from the tower at The University of Texas wouldn’t have happened. I see the logic of this in that someone armed might stop such a gunman run amok,” constitutional law professor Elizabeth Marsh said in an e-mail.
Gun possession may increase the chances of serious injury or death, Marsh said.
“Say a student has a fight with your roommate or with someone he or she is dating,” Marsh said. “If a gun is handy, a student might reach for it and use it in the heat of the moment rather than seeking other methods of resolution.”