June 26, 2018

As colleges and universities start back into session, lawmakers and pro-gun and anti-gun activists alike will be taking a serious look at the policies regulating firearms on campus.

Since 2015, there have been 15 active shooting incidents on college and university campuses.

No federal law restricts guns on college or university campuses. Most states either prohibit or restrict firearms on college or university campuses, or allow those institutions to set their own rules banning firearms. Seventeen states, including DC, have laws prohibiting or restricting guns on higher education campuses, 10 states have laws allowing the concealed carry of guns on campus, while 23 additional states leave the decision up to each campus.

Every year, lawmakers take a closer look at policies regulating firearms on campus and states weigh in with their views. Legislation runs the gamut of:

(1) Across the board Prohibition on concealed carry weapons on campus.

Opponents of concealed carry on campus claim that:
• More guns on campus will lead to an escalation of violent crime and suicides by students.
• Gun owning college students have a greater propensity for engaging in risky, sometimes violent, behavior.
• They argue that it would be virtually impossible to distinguish legitimate gun owners from active shooters making the job of law enforcement more difficult.
• “Gun-free” campuses are relatively safe as evidenced by low murder rates on these campuses.

(2) Nationwide Allowance of concealed carry weapons on campus.

Pro-gun proponents point out that:
• Concealed handgun licensed holders are five times less likely than non-licensed holders to commit violent crimes.
• The 10 U.S. colleges and universities that currently allow concealed carry on campus have not seen an increase in shootings, violent crime or suicides on campus.
• Students and faculty members have an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
• Police typically can’t respond quick enough to stop an active shooter attack. Armed students and faculty members could stop violent crimes in progress on campus.

(3) Permitting each individual university and or college to decide for itself whether to allow concealed carry weapons on campus.

Many people feel that the government should not regulate what the policies of every college or university must be with regard to concealed firearms on campus. Behind the ideas is the realization that a college campus in Los Angeles, California is very different than a college campus in Lincoln, Nebraska and states and college administrations should have some say over who can carry concealed firearms on campus.

What all legislators seem to forget is that people who have a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon are responsible people. They are not the ones that will be active shooters on a college or university campus. These individuals have taken the time to properly train in how to use a gun safely and register their guns with the government. They are patriots and would much more likely use a gun to stop a shooting spree than to start one.

While we can speculate what effect gun laws have on the crime rate on campus, the facts speak for themselves. There is no evidence that campus gun laws have any effect on the crime rate.

The National Rifle association has named “nationwide concealed carry reciprocity” one of their top priorities and now that Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White house, it could still very well happen in 2017.