The Corner


How about Facts Rather Than Emotion in the Campus Concealed-Carry Debate?

One of the conflicts between those Americans who favor individual rights and those who favor statist control over us is the concealed-carry dispute. Specifically, should responsible people who have permits be allowed to carry their weapons on a public college campus?

The “progressives” instantly say “No!” because firearms are bad things that ought to be owned only by government officials. And on college campuses, the opponents of firearms say that if students are allowed to carry them, the result will be professors afraid to bring up controversial topics for fear that some gun-toting student will get angry and start shooting.

The other side responds that in the absence of any data showing that such things happen, we should uphold the Second Amendment rights of students (and others) who have permits to carry.

In today’s Martin Center article, Jenna Robinson argues that this dispute should not be resolved with emotion, but instead with facts.

She points to one state that has allowed concealed carry on campus for years, without incident: “In Colorado, for example, concealed carry has been legal since 2012 when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the University of Colorado’s longstanding policy banning guns from campus violated the state’s concealed carry law. In the three years following that decision for which data are available (2012–2014), there were no murders on public university campuses in the state.”

It seems much more likely that the presence of a gun in the hands of a law-abiding student or faculty member would be used to stop a shooting spree on campus than that such an individual would start one.

Robinson’s conclusion hits the bullseye: “Without evidence that campus gun laws have any effect on the crime rate, lawmakers should defer to the Second Amendment. Students’ and faculty members’ rights to gun ownership should not be abridged by arbitrary and baseless campus regulations.”

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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