Campus Carry: Cheer It, Don’t Fear It

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posted on May 17, 2017
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Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun news site The Trace isn’t just your home for the “gunsense” talking points of the day: Now you can also find anti-gun speculative fiction about campus carry. University of Missouri student Dan Roe recently authored a (hit) piece “A Missouri Student Imagines Life on an Armed Campus.” As you can imagine, it’s a place filled with fear and apprehension. Not to give anything away, but there are protests with sex toys, an encounter with an armed man straight out of central casting, an errant Frisbee and a fleeting brush with someone who isn’t a “menace, not this time.” It’s a story with a happy ending, unless you’re Roe, who is presumably still miserable about attending a public university where legal concealed-carry permit holders can legally carry concealed.

Roe’s column tries hard to present a scary situation, but ultimately it’s a story in search of a real conflict. Roe would love to be able to include nightmare tales of concealed-carry permit holders whipping out a gun after hearing a different opinion in class, or professors intimidated by their carrying students. Those things simply haven’t happened in states where campus carry is the law of the land. Instead, the worst thing Roe can think of is being frightened by running across someone who’s legally carrying. Frankly, that says more about him than it says about campus carry.

The worst thing Roe can think of is being frightened by running across someone who’s legally carrying.I can’t help but wonder, does Roe ever leave campus? Is he this freaked out when he’s walking around the Wal-Mart in Columbia, Mo.? When he’s out to eat? When he’s walking off-campus? I doubt it. Chances are good, however, that he is spending time around more concealed-carry permit holders than he realizes. He doesn’t think about it because it’s not an issue. And just like concealed carry off-campus, concealed carry on campus isn’t an issue, either.

I have a story for Dan, and unlike his hypothetical, this one is actually true. A 22-year-old woman is walking to her car after class one evening. Although she’s a concealed-carry permit holder, her university prohibits carry without express permission. She does everything she’s supposed to do—walks in a group, stays in well-lit areas and keeps her eyes open for danger. She’s in sight of the campus police department when she says goodbye to her friends. She only has about 40 feet to walk to her car. She doesn’t make it. Instead, she’s grabbed and dragged down between two cars in the parking garage, and sexually assaulted in sight of the empty police cruisers (it turns out the campus police department isn’t staffed 24 hours a day).

After she is raped, and while the suspect is still on the loose, the university president gives her permission to carry. She’s instructed not to tell anyone, however. The university doesn’t want other students getting it in their heads that they have the right to protect themselves. That hypocritical attitude helps turn the student from a survivor of sexual assault to an advocate for campus carry. Amanda Collins is her name, and she’s one of the bravest, most courageous people I’ve ever met.

Opposing campus carry doesn’t do anything to dissuade criminals.Crime on or near campus is a real thing. From sexual assaults to armed robberies, students and staff can become the victims of armed attackers in an instant. Opposing campus carry doesn’t do anything to dissuade criminals. Instead, it prevents those able to legally own and carry firearms from being able to protect themselves—not just while they’re on the campus itself, but also on their way to or from campus.

Dan Roe worries about running into a concealed-carry permit holder while walking across the quad, but he’s got no reason to fear. Those who would prey on Roe and his fellow students, on the other hand, should worry. The “helpless college student” of years past is, in many states, becoming the capable and competent concealed-carry permit holder of today. As a parent, I don’t fear this development. I cheer it.  

Cam Edwards is the host of “Cam & Co.,” which airs live 2-5 p.m. EST on NRATV and midnight EST on SiriusXM Patriot 125. He lives with his family on a small farm near Farmville, Va. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @camedwards.

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