On May 4, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed campus carry into law, bringing the total number of campus carry states to 11. And Deal’s signature came less than two months after Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed campus carry into law for his state.
The bottom line: Campus carry, like constitutional carry, is part of the ongoing pro-Second Amendment wave sweeping state legislatures around the country.
In November 2016, there were eight states in which campus carry laws had been passed and put in place. They were Colorado, Utah, Wisconsin, Oregon, Mississippi, Kansas, Idaho and Texas. Then, on Dec. 19, 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed campus carry into law, making Ohio the ninth state to put campus carry into place. (To be clear: Kansas passed campus carry in 2013 but gave colleges and universities four years to prepare for compliance; the law goes into effect on July 1.)
Campus carry, like constitutional carry, is part of the ongoing pro-Second Amendment wave sweeping state legislatures around the country.Colorado has had campus carry since 2003 and has been an example that lawmakers around the country can point to when pushing for concealed carry on campuses in their states. On April 20, 2015, Breitbart News reported that Colorado had gone 12 years with no mass shootings and no crimes by concealed permit holders. The same is true today, and this runs completely counter to anti-gunners who wring their hands and claim the passage of campus carry will lead to shootouts in classrooms and violence on campus.
Utah legalized campus carry in 2004 and has had an experience very much like that in Colorado. In 2014, the IdahoReporter.com noted that after 10 years of campus carry in Utah, the only firearm incidents tied to campus carry had amounted to a gun falling out of a backpack at Dixie State College and scattered incidents of students being reported for having a gun and telling friends they were carrying.
Campus carry became the law of the land in Wisconsin in 2011, after Gov. Scott Walker signed campus carry into law there.
Carrying on campus for self-defense was recognized as the law of the land in Oregon via a 2011 Appeals Court ruling on behalf of a Marine Corps veteran who was a student at Western Oregon University. The International Business Times (IBT) reported that the court ruled that state law “let permit holders carry on public college grounds.”
It is interesting to note that Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.,—the site of the Oct. 1, 2015, mass shooting—opted out of the campus-carry law, choosing instead to maintain a gun-free environment. This meant no one could be legally armed to shoot back when the attacker struck.
Mississippi allows campus carry for concealed-carry permit holders who possess an “enhanced” permit. Breitbart News reported that the “enhanced” permit was created in 2011, and in 2013, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood handed down an “Opinion to Clarify Gun Carry,” in which he explained that persons with “enhanced” permits can carry in places where regular permit holders are barred—including college and university campuses.
In Idaho, Gov. “Butch” Otter signed campus carry into law March 12, 2104. As with Mississippi, the Idaho law requires the acquisition of an enhanced carry permit for those who wish to carry on campus.
The campus-carry momentum continued in 2017 with legislation introduced in a number of states, including Arkansas, Georgia and Florida.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed campus carry legislation on June 13, 2015. The law took effect in August 2016. The gap in time between Abbott’s signature and implementation of the law was to give universities time to put together their respective campus-carry policies regarding where guns could and could not be carried.
The campus-carry momentum continued in 2017 with legislation introduced in a number of states, including Arkansas, Georgia and Florida. Moreover, a bill to broaden campus carry was pushed in Wisconsin.
On March 22, Gov. Hutchinson signed campus carry in Arkansas, and on May 4 Governor Deal signed campus carry into law for Georgia.
Deal’s signature marked the end of a two-year fight in which Georgia lawmakers pushed, then passed campus carry, only to see Deal veto it in 2016. Deal vetoed the 2016 bill because it did not include exemptions for daycare facilities on public college and university campuses. The bill he signed on May 4 contained those exemptions.
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 [email protected].