The Corner

After Three Decades, the Texas Campus Carry Bill Will Finally Cause Blood to Run in the Streets

The Texas legislature has passed campus carry. Per the New York Times:

Students and faculty members at public and private universities in Texas could be allowed to carry concealed handguns into classrooms, dormitories and other buildings under a bill passed over the weekend by the Republican-dominated Legislature. The measure is being hailed as a victory by gun rights advocates and criticized by many students and professors as irresponsible and unnecessary.

The so-called campus-carry bill is expected to be signed into law by the Republican governor, Greg Abbott. It would take effect in August 2016 at universities and August 2017 at community colleges.

Predictably, the naysayers have started their oh-gosh-the-blood-will-run-in-the-streets campaign:

Opponents say the notion that armed students would make a campus safer is an illusion that will have a chilling effect on campus life. Professors said they worry about inviting a student into their offices to talk about a failing grade if they think that student is armed. And Democratic lawmakers and some university leaders worry about increased security costs and the bill’s effect on recruiting potential teachers and students from other states.

“The perception in academia will be that Texas is a free-fire zone with yokels in the classrooms packing heat,” said Lynn W. Tatum, a professor at Baylor University in Waco and the former president of the Texas conference of the American Association of University Professors.

Well, if that is indeed the “perception,” then “academics” will have proven themselves to be both extremely intellectually shallow and downright ignorant of the facts on the ground. Since 1987, when Florida first passed its “shall-issue” concealed carry law, any liberalization of the rules has been met with exactly the same claim. People in supermarkets will kill each other over cornflakes! Drivers will translate their road rage into serial murder! Friends in bars will start dueling after one too many beers! The Wild West will return to America’s streets!

It never happens. Ever. Indeed, in recent decades the opposite has happened. Overall gun crime has dropped dramatically since 1987; concealed carriers have proven themselves to be far less likely to commit crimes than everybody else, including the police; and, in the states that allow campus carry, there has not been “a single resulting act of violence (including threats) or a single resulting suicide attempt.” People who intend to do others harm on college campuses do so without the blessing of the law.

As it happens, the Texas “campus carry” law is actually pretty standard. At present, seven states force their universities to permit licensed carriers to carry on site, while 23 leave the issue up to each individual college (for the record, I favor this approach). That’s 30 states in which campus carry is either the norm or permitted under some circumstances. As of today, just twenty states prohibit the carrying of weapons on college campuses. If Greg Abbot signs this bill, he will make that number 19. And you know what will happen next? 

Nothing.

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