Guns on college campuses
January 3rd, 2012
10:42 AM ET

Guns on college campuses

by John Martin, CNN

(CNN) – As of the end of last semester, more than 60 members of Liberty University's faculty, staff and students have applied for permission to carry concealed weapons on campus. The Lynchburg, Virginia, college's Board of Trustees changed the university’s policy on firearms in November. The new policy allows the school's police department to give permission to members of the university community to carry guns under certain conditions.  The policy is explained on Liberty University’s website .

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said that he hopes the policy changes will prevent campus shootings, citing the December 8th fatal shooting of a Virginia Tech police officer. Liberty University’s website says that approximately 70 other institutions allow weapons on campus with prior police permission.

While some gun advocates support the National Rifle Association's position that gun owners can prevent crimes on campus, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence  says that the NRA is trying to force colleges to allow guns onto campuses – guns that the Brady Campaign says campus police chiefs do not want at school. The group cites a 2009 study that says that the majority of campus police chiefs don’t believe allowing students to carry concealed weapons would prevent campus killings.

In the wake of mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois University in 2008,  the issue of guns on campus isn't likely to go away soon.  Eighteen states considered legislation to allow concealed-carry weapons on campus in 2011. Most of those bills did not pass, but activists on both sides of the issue expect the debate to continue  in 2012.

Filed under: College • Issues • Policy
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Crikey7, according to what you stated, the only problem you see with carrying concealed firearms is the training may not be suffecient to ensure proper safety. This is irrevelant considering many people have different levels of comprehension and learning ability. Just because the trainer didnt't train someone well enough, or because a student refused to listen, doesn't make the firearms themselves any less or more "safe". Just saying, with a drivers license its still your responsibility to take safety into account. Its something that you earn through testing and study, but nobody is going to stop you if you feel like running a 4000 pound vehicle through somebodys house. The same applies with a conceal to carry license, you can teach them everything you know but if they decide to walk out on the street and shoot somebody that is their choice and their practice of the safety. Nothing to do with training. Its all choice. Like to discuss education and teen choices now?

    January 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  2. jon

    Guns aren't meant to stop the killing. Its so that when a whack job stand up in class and starts shooting there is a chance he will be stopped before he runs out of ammo. Unfortunately most people wish to live in ignorance believing that there will always be someone else to save them if something goes wrong, or that they can defend themselves with pretty words.

    January 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Santa Claus + Thomas Paine

      I completely agree with the commenter "jon." I am tired of the "bow down to the madman with the gun" mentality and the "if the gunman comes in, you can't do anything, just be a passive victim and hide under a desk" mentality. I am tired of the submissive mindset that subjugates Americans and others to the will of mass murderers.

      We, law-abiding citizens, should be allowed to carry concealed weapons (with state-issued permits, if necessary) for the purpose of self-defense in an increasingly volatile society. Gun-free zones DO NOT work. I frankly do not care if the statistics support or contradict my position. A criminal has a monopoly on power in areas where every regular person (or potential victim, I should say) is unarmed. Period. That is common sense. For example, Seung-Hui Cho could have been stopped earlier in the rampage by an armed student if on-campus concealed carry had been allowed at Virginia Tech.

      I don't see why law-abiding adults (i.e. teachers and staff) in schools should be prohibited from having legal firearms in their vehicles or desks on school property. School lockdowns do not work. They DO NOT prevent shootings or save enough lives. In fact, being forced to hide under a desk is tantamount to being led into a death trap, becoming easy prey for a deranged shooter. Survival is a RIGHT in all cases, not a flexible privilege in certain situations. If humans relinquish this right to political correctness and officials who prefer to clean up the mess afterwards instead of trying a new strategy, where will the world end up?

      January 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
  3. gunslinger007

    Sheep are confortable being it takes no effort to be one. And liberal leaders can control sheep easier, hence liberals like sheep. IF colleges had a "show me" day and all students who carried (legally or not) exposed thier concealed weapon I'd say you sheep would be amazed how many "Sheep Dogs" were there to protect you....and no; there's not an increase of injury or deaths on campus. Sorry libs.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  4. Amazed

    Its amazing to me how anyone can say that allowing guns will keep people safer! 99% of the world does not allow its citizens to carry guns, and guess what, they have less than 1% of america's gun related crimes. Now provide guns to what are in fact hormone raging children and give me a break! I don't understand why we are even having this conversation. You wonder why the rest of the world thinks we're aliens.

    January 5, 2012 at 5:05 am |
    • Wolfgang

      Where did you get your bad information? The rest of the world does not have only 1% of America's crime. Have you ever pondered why the states that have restricted gun ownership and/or no legal conceal carry permitting have the highest crime rates? Think about this fact........ Always question what you believe to be true. If you were not reasoned into your opinion, you can't be reasoned out of it. Don't drink the Koolaid. Don't buy the idea that the Brady Bunch wants you to believe. Without the Second Amendment, you will lose the rest.

      January 5, 2012 at 8:47 am |
      • gunslinger007

        Typical fascism when "those who are safe tell everyone else no to safety" ? The loser at VA Tech, shot students who were begging to be last to die? SICK! When administration locked inside safe offices tell students to be sheep.....? Politicians with body guards? YOU are in control of your destiny....not a punk politician only concerned with his/her promotion and retirement benefits. Take charge, or be taken charge of; your choice

        January 5, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • twang

      There may be less GUN crime without guns, but someone bigger and stronger can do whatever he wants with you and your family. When its all over you can call a cop ( if your alive )

      January 5, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  5. zak

    By the way if i wanted to buy an unregistered firearm i could do so very easily for under $200 dollars within 24 hours. It is easier for anyone to buy a gun on the street than it is an underage kid to get alcohol from a store. as a concealed permit holder i can tell you i can conceal very large hand guns under minimal clothing with out anyone knowing the difference. With that being said out of the thousands upon thousands of people on any given campus at any time how many unlicensed untrained unethical people are carrying. Then ask yourself how many trained permit holding individuals are carrying. There will be many many more people you would not want carrying a gun on campus than those who if anyone should be. Now ask yourself on that dreadful day at Vt how would you feel if a person, permit holding or not, drew there firearm and shot that terrible person before he was able to kill a fraction of the people he did. even if they hit innocent bystanders in the process they would still be a hero in my book.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • twang

      If you know people selling unregistered guns for under $200 you should turn them in. They will be selling your guns next

      January 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  6. zak

    I am 24 years old and got my concealed days after i turned 21. I have carried a gun almost everyday since where i legally could. I was still in college when i first got my permit and cant tell you how much i resented not being able to carry on campus. To put that into perspective, a college campus is a place where every walk of life, every socioeconomic background, and well any other category you can put people into come together. this would include the mentally stable and unstable. in this environment people are constantly pushed to the breaking point by way of either the mental demands of school, the financial burden of paying for it, and social aspect of being thrust in a new place with tens of thousands of people and no friends often great distances from any support of family or the life they once new. With that being said it is a hot bed for mass shooting murder suicides. After passing a FBI background check and extensive training course i can not comprehend why i am not allowed to carry in literally the most likely place i would need a gun to protect myself and others god forbid the situation presents itself. If i can carry a gun in almost every other area of our state i should be allowed to carry at school as well. as far as crime goes it happens everywhere regardless of the time, place, or laws. When ever i consider the possibility of committing a crime or being within arms length of criminal activity i make sure i don't have a gun on or near me. Let me remind you that the penalties of anything illegal are way worse for me with a gun as a concealed carry permit holder. Bottom line is i am 10,000 times more likely not to break the law in any way while carrying. When i have a gun i am a better citizen and am able to defend myself and others. Thank you Ohio for the privilege and freedom to do so.

    January 4, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • twang

      Damn right!

      January 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  7. Myke

    During my police academy training, we participated in an exercise where we all had Airsoft pistols in our holsters during a classroom lecture. A "crazy" man entered the room and ran down the middle aisle with a hand gun waving above his head. All officers drew their weapons and fired. Guess how many officers were hit by crossfire? About half – 30 people would have died and the "crazy" person never fired one of his ten available rounds. THIS is why guns in classrooms is dangerous. People need to be taught how to disarm people, hand-to-hand, and not allowed to send additional bullets into a crowd.

    January 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • nspirals

      You use hand to hand techniques...If the crazy guy has a gun, you will lose 100 out of 100 times. Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight, you want to bring your fists to a gunfight. Wow.

      January 4, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • gunslinger007

      Myke, and during your hand to hand training how many "successful" hand to hand encounters did you have....unfortunately when it take 3+ officers to take down a perp you analogy is flawed. Crazies are less likely to enter a room with concealed weapons......having the ability to carry doesn't mean it will happen however as a deterent criminals will think twice.....

      January 5, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • twang

      I've always heard they dont accept officers with IQ's above 73. I guess its true

      January 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  8. TheButterZone

    Ditto whamprod.

    January 3, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  9. helikopteron


    January 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • helikopteron

      Sorry. Ditto to Whamprod.

      January 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  10. whamprod

    Opposition to lawful concealed carry on campus is based on the erroneous supposition that people with concealed carry permits are somehow more likely to be criminals than those without. This blog post cite's the Brady Center as an authority in the matter. But if you look at the Brady Center's website, they plainly state that we are "concealed carry killers." This is in direct contradiction to the facts. People who lawfully obtain a carry permit undergo a background check. The vast majority of those who do not carry a concealed weapon do NOT undergo any kind of background check before being allowed on campus. In the state of Texas, that background check is extremely thorough, and in the state of Texas, this is born out by the fact that CHL holders commit crimes at a small fraction of the general population's criminal tendencies.

    I would pose two questions:

    1) Exactly what laws actually *prevent* someone from illegally carrying a gun onto a campus? Preventative laws are only effective against the law-abiding. They only restrict the actions of those people from whom one has nothing to fear. On the other hand, preventative laws are completely irrelevant to the criminal, who will carry a gun onto a campus regardless of what the law states.

    2) How on earth do you expect to identify someone who is carrying concealed in the first place, whether it is lawful or not? "Concealed" means "concealed." Every day of every year, millions of people leave their homes armed with a firearm. Some do so lawfully. Some do not. But nearly all of them are carrying concealed. Short of a TSA-style invasion of personal privacy at every access point to campus and at every classroom doorway, exactly *how* are you going to prevent a gun from being carried on campus?

    The simple and inarguable truth is that you can't. People are giong to carry guns onto campuses, either legally or illegally. When you make it illegal, you accomplish one of two things: you either 1) disarm a law-abiding person, making him or her more susceptible to being victimized by a criminal; or you 2) criminalize an otherwise law-abiding person who is absolutely no threat to your existence who decides to ignore the law in favor of his/her ability to defend themselves. But neither possibility disarms the person whom you should really want to be disarmed: the criminal.

    The Brady Center lumps in all sorts of firearms killings that have absolutely nothing to do with lawful concealed carry into their phony "statistics" which lead to their calling us "concealed carry killers." If they are correct, then I must be defective because I have never killed anybody. If guns kill people, then mine are all defective because not one of them has ever been used to kill anybody.....let alone even scare anyone.

    On those campuses around the nation where concealed carry is legal, the streets are strangely not running in blood. The argument against campus carry has its roots in the evil idea that a person does not have a right to self-defense. Any organizations, including the Brady Center or any other anti-2nd Amendment activist groups who advocate against campus carry, are motivated by an evil ideology, and that evil is demonstrated when they lump law abiding citizens who possess carry permits in with murderers by calling us "concealed carry killers." It is *they* who kill by trying to condemn millions of their fellow citizens to the role of passive victims. THAT is evil on its face, and evil at its core.

    January 3, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Roy

      Well said Wham.

      January 3, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Chad

      Well said. Criminals who would commit violent crimes are unnaffected by gun control laws and will carry anyway. The only thing gun control laws accomplish is to create unarmed victims.

      January 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
      • dep487

        Well said, Chad. Criminals don't obey any laws if they can get away with it. Restrictive gun laws only make it harder for regular, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves when we law enforcement officers can't be there to help. We can't be everywhere and it is up to each person to protect his/her family and him/herself the best that they can. Nobody should have to be at the complete mercy of ruthless, armed killers and have to go to their deaths pleading and bowing down like sheep.

        January 6, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Crickey7

      That is not at all why many are opposed to guns on campus. Many are opposed because as a matter of safety, having more guns around is statistically proven to result in more deaths and injuries. I do appreciate that concealed permits require training. The problems are that training lapses, it doesn't really prevent people from obtaining a permit for the wrong reasons. and the NRA is currently backing a federal law that would force each state to recognize a concealed permit from any other state. So the permit standards on a college campus with students from various states is only as good as the least restrictive state.

      It would be wrong, as you say, to suggest that allowing concealed permit holders to carry on campus will result in the streets running red with blood. It would be equally wrong not to recognize that one effect of laxer gun laws on campus is likely to be an increase in firearm-related deaths and serious injuries, in ones and twos.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • Justin

        Having more guns around does not "proven" to create more deaths and injuries. Whatever statistic you saw that stated this was severely in error. In fact I own quite a few guns and have not died or been injured by one.

        I live in North Dakota, and we have one of the highest per capita gun ownership rates in the entire country, and other than the oil field influx or crime, we have one of the lowest violent crime rates in the US.

        January 4, 2012 at 11:27 am |
      • Crickey7

        Your individual experience shows nothing–obviosuly, dead people aren't writing in about their experience. Nor does North Dakota's–you have to look at comparable states with lower rates of gun ownership to see if the gun ownership rate impacted public health. Nor did I say the only risk was violent crime. The rates of accidental death, suicide and domestic violence are potentially affected as well.

        I believe in the Second Amendment. I'm saying you are seriously deluding yourself, though, if you think keeping guns off campus either violates the Second Amendment (read Heller) or doesn't improve safety there. Nor does saying so make me "evil"–people who throw around garbage like that look ridiculous.

        January 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm |