The debate over allowing guns on campus is raging across America. So far in 2015, 16 states have introduced dangerous bills that would allow hidden, loaded guns on public and private college campuses. But, enacting legislation allowing more guns to be carried on and around schools only increases the opportunity for gun violence.
We already know that permissive concealed carry laws are linked to an increase in violent crime, and workplaces that allow guns are significantly more dangerous to workers—more guns on campus place a burden and pose a risk for people who work at schools too. Additionally, the university experience introduces new stressors and social pressures to students, factors contributing to an increase in risky behavior—like drinking and drug use—that make college campuses a hazardous climate for relaxed access to firearms.
The gun lobby is also pushing an agenda that labels campus carry as a safety measure that would protect women from sexual assault. In theory, victims could use a gun to defend against a sexual predator, but the reality is darker—assailants would be allowed to carry concealed weapons, too. Sexual violence on campuses is also often committed by a person the victim knows, and often linked to situations where people are drinking—a potentially deadly scenario if concealed weapons are present.
Allowing guns on campus is an expensive gamble too—the University of Central Florida estimated that allowing more hidden, loaded weapons at school would cost the school $1.1 million, and the University of Texas system put their estimate at around $47 million to retrain staff and security and cover insurance premiums.
Thanks to the efforts of the gun violence prevention movement, we can report that so far in 2015 campus carry bills have failed in Montana, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The Law Center is fighting to prevent legislation like this from advancing, and we hope this momentum continues throughout the 11 states still considering laws with such potentially deadly consequences.
These bills are a prime example of the gun lobby’s push for more guns in public places through the guise of protecting students, in spite of data to the contrary. Apply a little common sense—is “more guns” really the answer to the question “How do we make schools safer places for students?”