A spirited debate has erupted anew over allowing concealed carry on college campuses in several states, according to a story in The Hill earlier today, at the same time that a new Gallup poll shows a majority of Americans think more concealed firearms “would make the country safer.”
The Hill piece, by Colorado State University professor Raymond Hogler, notes that “More states are joining the rush to bring weapons to public institutions of higher education. Concealed carry legislation in Texas prompted a recent cavalcade of dissent that featured students carrying sex toys and the resignation of a prominent faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin, Daniel Hamermesh, a well-known labor market economist.”
The University of Wisconsin’s Daily Cardinal has an opinion piece, published on-line last night, headlined “Concealed carry on campus is dangerous.” The piece quotes an Oct. 2 Kansas City Star report that said there have been 52 school shootings so far this year. That figure, the newspaper said, “was the tally by the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety, which is careful to verify each instance.”
Examiner took a random look at some of these shootings. One was a mid-summer incident involving a drug deal between teens that turned bad in the parking lot of an elementary school. Another involved a gang turf confrontation between two groups at a high school in Arizona during a January basketball game, at which none of the participants were students from either school.
To be fair, Everytown’s list also included the Umpqua Community College shooting and the incident at Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff. However, the list also included an Oct. 15 incident at Langston University in Oklahoma at which a non-student, apparently attending a Homecoming Week concert, fired a gun into the air, and was subsequently arrested. This may raise questions about how the Michael Bloomberg-funded group defines a school/campus shooting.
This week, legislation to allow campus carry in Florida passed out of the state Senate Higher Education Committee on a 5-3 vote. Supporters contend the campus will be safer with legally-armed adult students or staff will make the school safer, an argument that gets some support from the Gallup poll, released earlier this week.
According to Gallup, 56 percent of Americans believe concealed carry makes the country safer. There’s an interesting, albeit not surprising, breakdown that shows 82 percent support for concealed carry among Republicans, 59 percent among Independents but only 31 percent among Democrats.
That same survey, discussed by this column earlier in the week, revealed that Americans are divided on whether so-called “universal background checks” would reduce the number of mass shootings. Just under half the people think such checks would make a difference, while slightly more than half think it wouldn’t, according to Gallup.
Hogler’s piece in The Hill today notes that 19 states ban guns on campus and 23 states allow schools to implement some sort of gun policy, while eight states allow campus concealed carry. He suggests a compromise of sorts: “Administrators in colleges and universities with concealed carry could determine who has a concealed carry permit by requiring all incoming and current students and employees to state on an employment or application form whether or not the individual has a concealed carry permit.
“That information,” he added, “would be compiled in a database accessible to students, faculty and administrators. Anyone found carrying a gun without a permit or failing to register the permit would be immediately terminated or expelled.”
Hogler’s suggestion may pose a problem with self-defense advocates who could argue that it should never been listed anywhere who is carrying. It’s nobody’s business, experts might contend, and by putting this information on an open database, it might actually make these armed citizens the primary targets of an attack.
While the Florida measure gained traction this week, a bill in Wisconsin to allow concealed carry inside campus buildings at University of Wisconsin campuses worries some state lawmakers, according to the Royal Purple News. State Rep. Andy Jorgensen, a Democrat, was quoted stating, “The campus carry act, as it’s being called, is ill-conceived and a knee-jerk reaction to the Oregon campus tragedy that I believe will take us in the wrong direction. Studies have shown us that more guns mean more gun-related deaths.”
It’s not clear to which studies he refers, but there is considerable data-based disagreement on that subject. And according to the Gallup poll results, the majority is on the other side.
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