On March 5, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) in a suit brought against the University of Colorado. SCC sued because the school’s prohibition of legally concealed guns on campus violated the state’s right-to-carry laws. Although the Court did not say they were in favor of concealed weapons at universities per se, they did acknowledge that the regulation of firearms is a power that resides with the state’s legislative body, not the administration of the school.
This ruling once again brings a focus to the debate of concealed carry on college campuses. What remains a mystery to pro-gun advocates is why a college campus should be thought of as somehow separate or different from any other place that people live and work when it comes to issues of self defense. Here are eight reasons why carry on campus should be allowed.
The Utah concealed carry laws that allow individuals to conceal guns on school grounds have been in place since the mid 1990s. This means the secondary schools that did not have gun bans on the books at that time, like USU, have been a working concealed carry laboratory for over 15 years. If any issues related to concealed guns blocking the absorption of data by fertile young minds were going to surface, they would have done so by now. As it is, keeping guns out-of-sight is successfully keeping them out-of-mind.
Unfortunately for those who continue to hold to this erroneous perspective, the real-world numbers do not support it. In the last 40 years, as the number of legal firearms in responsible citizens’ hands has risen to a record high, violent crime has continued to drop to an all-time low. Gun-rights advocates cannot scientifically prove the increase in gun ownership is the direct cause of crime reduction. However, it can now be said that the claim that more guns equals more crime is not a valid one. Therefore, allowing student and staff members to carry is unlikely to increase campus violence.
Don't forget, state and federal courts have ruled on several occasions that police officers do not have a duty to risk their lives in order to protect another person from harm. In other words, once they actually arrive, they are under no obligation to take a bullet on your behalf just because they wear a uniform. This is why legal concealed carry makes sense. The person nearest the threat who can act the most quickly to stop the threat is the person being threatened.
In studies of natural history, the animal kingdom is commonly divided into those creatures that are prey and those that are predators. The beauty of the human race is our unique ability to produce a third classification: the protector. The common error made by anti-gun groups like Armed Campuses is the failure to logically delineate the differences in the motivations of individuals who would use lethal force to be predators and those who are willing to use lethal force to stop the predation.
Let's not forget that these same adults, since a person must be 21 years old to have a carry permit in most states, are trusted on a daily basis with all kinds of materials they could misuse. Chemistry majors can lay their hands on everything they need to mix explosives. Medical students have access to scalpels, poisons and additive drugs. Various engineering programs give students access to everything from potential network-hacking electronics to blueprints for nuclear bombs.
So why aren't college campuses a source of social anarchy? It’s because students are invested in their education. They’ve worked hard to earn good grades and obtain a college degree. Adult students have a desire to live up to the responsibilities they have now and will eventually be given. If these are the same people we are going to eventually entrust with running our hospitals, economy and government, then perhaps it's time to trust them to act responsibly with defensive firearms.