Campus Carry: An Idea That’s Time Has Not Come (and Never Should)

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One student was killed and three wounded at Northern Arizona State after an altercation that ended when one of the students got his pistol from his automobile and started banging away.

“Prosecutors said Jones was involved in a fight with other students around 1:20 a.m. Friday and ran to his car where he picked up a handgun. This is not a case of self-defense, the prosecution said.”1

Half of college students engage in binge drinking; 690,000 students are assaulted by someone who has been drinking; over 1,800 die as a result of alcohol-related unintentional injuries.2 In addition, young male suicides with a firearm have been increasing for the last decade.3  Fatal firearm accident rates are also highest for males aged 20-24.4

Nonetheless, the gun lobby and its slavishly devoted and well-compensated political mouthpieces continue to push vigorously for greater access to firearms for college students on college campuses.5

Recent research shows that concealed carry has no effect on crime.6 Opponents of firearm safety find this heartening:  “see, concealed carry doesn’t increase crime!”  What they forget is that earlier research does shows that those with concealed carry licenses are convicted of few crimes.   However, that research also shows that the crimes for which concealed handgun licensee are convicted are significantly more likely than the convictions of those without a license to be a crime that involves violence, firearms, and a death.7

As always, opponents of firearm safety will say that outlawing concealed carry on college campus would not have stopped this assailant.  True.  But, this assailant’s behavior reinforces what we know about young men, alcohol (though it is not mentioned in the article, it will be later), and firearms. An enormous distance separates youth violence without access to firearms to youth violence with access to firearms.  The same is also true for adults with anger issues.  The distance is, unfortunately, written in the blood of the victims of firearm violence.  .

Some states now allow carrying in bars.  I can see some logic in this if one is trying to tidy up the edges of the gene pool, but the possibilities of collateral damage to other bar customers outweighs any possible gains in genetic engineering. Can we get anymore cavalier about firearm safety then to make it legal for citizens to mix guns and alcohol?  Maybe, but it is hard to see how much farther we can go.

For a variety of reasons, people in power are buying into the NRA’s real agenda—anyone with any gun, anytime, and anyplace.  If people haven’t figured it out yet, the NRA doesn’t really care about gun carnage.  They NRA leadership only cares about pleasing firearm fanatics and supporting the firearm industry’s commercial interests.

American sometimes seriously discuss “American Exceptionalism.”  It seems that our Exceptionalism has devolved into being the only highly modernized industrial society that has politicians craven enough or dumb enough to declare “a 12 month open season” for killing its citizens with firearms.

WikiMedia--West Midlands Police

  1. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10 09/us/norhtern-arizona-univerzity-shooting
  2. “College Drinking,” accessed March 23, 2015, http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/special-populations-co-occurring-disorders/college-drinking.
  3. Garen J. Wintemute, “The Epidemiology of Firearm Violence in the Twenty-First Century United States,” in Annual Review of Public Health, 36: 5-19.
  4. “Data on Unintentional Fatal Injuries Involving a Firearm,” last updated February 9, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/fatal.html
  5. Effect of Newtown Massacre. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/state-gun-laws-after-newtown, and “Tracking State Gun Laws: 2014 Developments,” accessed March 5, 2015, http://smartgunlaws.org/tracking-state-gun-laws-2014-developments/
  6. Phillips CD, Nwaiwu O, Szu-hsan L, Imanpour S, Ohsfeldt R. Concealed Handgun Licensing And Crime In Four States. 2015. Journal of Criminology.
  7. Phillips CD, Nwaiwu O, Moudouni DK, Edward R, Szu-hsuan L. When Concealed Handgun Licensees Break Bad: Criminal Convictions of concealed handgun licensees in Texas, 2001-2009. 2013. American Journal of Public Health.
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