Student and gunI’m delighted to see this. Students from 110 universities around the United States are today protesting campus prohibitions on carrying firearms for their protection.

This is overdue. When a school shooting happens, people wring their hands and wonder how tragedies, like the one at Virginia Tech, can be prevented. At the same time many of those people advocate the disarming of innocent, law-abiding students who join the ranks of sitting ducks on a daily basis at campuses around the country, helpless to defend themselves in such a situation.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is a concerned group of students, parents and citizens who organised in the wake of the V-Tech massacre. Their credo is simple:

“Students in Universities all over America are licensed to carry concealed weapons. But when we step foot on our campuses we must be unarmed. Too many have been murdered, raped, robbed and beaten on our campuses! Enough is enough! Allow the CCW holders on our campuses to protect ourselves and those around us!”

SCCC group founder Chris Brown says:

“As a college student and a concealed handgun licence holder, when I step onto campus I am left unable to defend myself. My state allows me to carry a handgun in public, but there is some imaginary line drawn around college campuses for silly reasons. And those silly reasons are getting people killed, raped and robbed.”

As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog, laws allowing average citizens to carry firearms has reduced crime levels in every state in which they’ve been implemented. The reason? Would-be violent criminals are never sure which of their victims will be armed, which deters the criminal action in the first place and saves lives. There is no reason whatsoever which would make this dynamic absent on a university campus. As SCCC says on its website:

“In the last twenty years, the vast majority of the mass shootings in America—from the Texas Luby’s massacre to the Columbine High School massacre—have happened in ‘gun free zones.’ Labeling an area ‘gun free’ may make some people feel safer, but as the shootings at Virginia Tech taught us, feeling safe and being safe are not the same thing.”

Indeed, and in fact it strongly suggests the opposite: that ‘gun free’ areas are more dangerous! The idea that law-abiding citizens with the ability to defend themselves will inadvertently trigger an outbreak of shooting is an idea not borne out in reality. Who believes this? Well, the Brady Bunch for a start. Their response to the SCCC says:

“Far from saving lives, [allowing students to carry] would dramatically increase gun violence risks to college students and trample on academic freedom. Drugs and alcohol use, plus suicide and mental health issues, all peak for people 18-24. Let’s not add guns into that volatile mix.”

Could it be that they need to point to research on drugs and alcohol because there are no statistics directly supporting their point about firearms? After all, the students are merely asking that their existing right to carry be extended to the campus: if students are currently already carrying guns into restaurants, gyms, parks and shopping malls then all the information we need should already exist. Where is it, Brady Campaign? If you are right, there should be a wealth of data showing that students can’t be trusted to carry a gun without going crazy with it. Where is it? Your arguments are based on the theory that the mere presence of more firearms, even in the hands of peaceful, law-abiding people, will inevitably lead those people to shoot others with them. It isn’t an untested principle: where is the data?

As we’ve shown on this blog, the data is in, and the claims are bogus. And not just bogus but very damaging: Virginia Tech university placed a prohibition on carrying firearms prior to the massacre that occurred on that campus just a few years later. Spew as much conjecture as you like: the fact is that just one other student in the vicinity of that shooting carrying a firearm would almost certainly have saved lives that morning.

I say congratulations to Students for Concealed Carry on Campus for having the wherewithal to challenge this nonsense in the name of their own safety, and I can think of no more pertinent cause nor fundamental right than that.