I’m neutral on the question of whether guns should be on college campuses. I’m not comfortable with the combination of young people, alcohol and firearms although I’m open to debate about it. But I see no reason why concealed carry holders, who must meet certain requirement to get their permits, should not be permitted to carry on campus. There is an abundance of research showing that concealed carry holders are far less likely to be involved in crime than the general population. Allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry their weapons onto campus has very little risk and would extend the protective effect (i.e, criminals don’t know if someone is packing or not) to the students.
Guess what? Colorado is showing that this approach works just fine:
For most of Colorado’s history, firearms were legal on public university campuses. That began to change in 1970, due to concerns about campus violence by terrorist organizations such as the Weather Underground.
I’ll pause for a moment. This is one of the dirty little secrets of the gun control movement: it got its big impetus as a response to left wing violence, especially organizations like the Black Panthers.
In 2003, Colorado passed the Concealed Carry Act:
As the brief explained, Colorado’s law, like the law of almost every other state, provides an objective process for issuing permits to responsible adults. In Colorado, an applicant must be at least 21 years old, pass a fingerprint-based background check, and a safety-training class taught by a nationally-certified instructor. Even if a person meets all these conditions, the statute instructs the Sheriff to deny the application “if the sheriff has a reasonable belief that documented previous behavior by the applicant makes it likely the applicant will present a danger to self or others.”
As a result, in Colorado, as in other states, persons with carry permits, tend to be highly law-abiding. For example, in the five-year period between 2009-13, there were 154,434 concealed handgun carry permits issued in Colorado. During this same period, 1,390 permits were revoked. 931 of these permits were revoked following an arrest. Contrast this with the arrests of over 200,000 Colorado adults in 2013 alone.
Those stats are similar to those I’ve seen for other states.
Colorado State has allowed guns on campus for 12 years. There has never been a problem. The University of Colorado just lost a lawsuit and will have to permit them as well. The legislature tried to change this but one thing that stopped them was the testimony of a woman who was raped on the Nevada Reno campus. She had a permit to carry in Nevada but was forbidden from carrying her weapon on campus. Her testimony is a rebuttal to all the pseudofeminists who oppose women arming themselves:
The crime took place just a few feet from an emergency call box. “How does rendering me defenseless protect you against a violent crime?” she asked the Colorado Senators. State Senator Evie Hudak told Collins that if Collins had been carrying a gun, statistics showed that the gun would have been taken from her. Actually, statistics show that fewer than one percent of defensive gun use results in the defender’s gun being taken.
“Respectfully senator, you weren’t there,” Collins responded. “Had I been carrying concealed, he wouldn’t have known I had my weapon; and I was there. I know without a doubt in my mind at some point I would’ve been able to stop my attack by using my firearm. He already had a weapon of his own; he didn’t need mine.”
Because the rapist was not stopped that night, he later raped two more women and murdered one.
You know who else supports allowing concealed carry on campus? The Colorado Sheriffs, who note that they can not be everywhere at once and that concealed carry is a vital part of public safety.
Guns are not a panacea, obviously. And mass shootings are so rare that I think any specific policy response to them is misguided. I’m dubious that concealed carry will massively cut crime rates on campuses (which are already lower than the general population). But I see no reason why conceal carry holders should be forbidden from bringing guns on campus, no matter how “offensive” they might be the “University values”, as the UC Board of Regents so charmingly put it. And they just might confer a solid benefit.
(PS – I recommend reading that entire link, which is quite good.)