When liberal professors, gun control advocates and so-called “mainstream” media talking heads rail against students’ ability to carry guns on campus for self-defense, they usually do so by warning of how guns and schools do not mix, or how classroom shootouts—and other demonstrations of violence—are certain to result. The problem with these claims is that there is no empirical evidence to support them, but there are mountains of evidence to contradict them.
Consider University of Kansas professor Jacob S. Dorman, who released an open letter of resignation last week based on his belief that “there is no place for firearms in classrooms.” In other words, guns and schools do not mix. In his letter, which was published by the Lawrence Journal-World, Dorman said:
I have enjoyed getting to know Kansans from all parts of the state as my students, neighbors and friends, and especially benefited from getting to know Kansans from rural communities where gun ownership and hard work are equally a way of life. But Kansas will never secure the future that it deserves if it weakens its institutions of higher learning by driving off faculty members or applicants who feel as I do that there is no place for firearms in classrooms. Kansas can have great universities, or it can have concealed carry in classrooms, but it cannot have both.
When the was the last time you turned on the television and saw news coverage of an active shooter situation on a campus that allows concealed carry for self-defense?One can almost smell the hubris. It is Dorman’s way or the highway. He sees no justification for law-abiding students to carry guns in classrooms for self-defense, so he is leaving the school. But not before he also claims that “concealed carry has proved to be a failure” and that “arming students has done nothing to quell active shooter situations.”
He offers no evidence for the claim that “concealed carry has proved to be a failure” or that campuses with armed students continue to see as many active shooters as campuses without armed students. Instead, both statements are presented as fact, although both are easily refutable and demonstrably false.
Ask yourself, when the was the last time you turned on the television and saw news coverage of an active shooter situation on a campus that allows concealed carry for self-defense? When was the last time you read a story online about such an attack? The difficulty of thinking of even one example—if such an example exists—is testimony both to the benefit of campus carry and the success of concealed carry.
Consider Ohio State University (OSU) professor Merrill Kaplan, who took a stand against campus carry less than two weeks after an attacker armed with a car and knife chased down and injured unarmed students on the OSU campus.
The attack occurred on Nov. 28, 2016, and it breathed new air into efforts to secure campus carry in the state of Ohio. On Dec. 5, 2016, Kaplan was quoted in the school’s newspaper, The Lantern, saying:
One of my nightmare scenarios is that an attacker bursts into my classroom, with a weapon, and that students leap to their feet and there’s crossfire, and there are several people who [are] armed, who are not law enforcement, who make the situation more complicated, with more lead in the air. The chances of that happening go up when there are people in that room who have guns.
Where is Kaplan’s proof that armed concealed-carry permit holders in a classroom would increase the chances of a shootout or would draw their guns and recklessly begin firing in the event of attack? In reality, Kaplan’s claims are disproven by evidence and by experience.
Colorado has had campus carry since 2003. Where are the shootouts and the classrooms with lead flying through the air?Evidence shows that attackers do not target areas where law-abiding citizens are armed, and this is especially true of mass attackers. They simply do not go places where their would-be victims can shoot back.
On Oct. 15, 2015, the Crime Prevention Research Center’s John Lott wrote, “Since at least 1950, all but two public mass shootings in America have taken place where general citizens are banned from carrying guns.” What Lott discovered is either a heck of a coincidence—65 years of attacking gun-free zones with only two exceptions—or it is proof that common sense is not wrong when it tells us that being armed deters criminals from attacking.
In addition to the evidence presented by Lott, experience teaches us that professor Kaplan is wrong as well.
For example, Colorado has had campus carry since 2003. Where are the shootouts and the classrooms with lead flying through the air? Where are the news stories of students leaping to their feet only to be caught in crossfire?
Where are these stories? They are nowhere, because they do not happen. Instead, on April 20, 2015, The Washington Post reported that Colorado had experienced 12 years of campus carry with no mass shootings and no crimes by concealed-carry permit holders.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.