Conceal & Carry On College Campuses, Good or Bad?

Conceal and Carry legislation in the United States has grown from 8 states issuing permits to January of 2011, there will be 37 states that issue conceal and carry permits allowed. With shootings at Virginia Tech and the University of Alabama, there has been continued discussions about whether or not conceal and carry permit holders should be allowed to “pack” on campus.

There are 9 steps according to “” to obtain a conceal and carry permit in Missouri. It’s not cheap either, an initial $100, and a $50 renewal fee every three years.


I think the conceal and carry practice is a good one, and should be supported by citizens. Growing up, I’ve been around guns frequently. Whether shooting milk jugs and soda cans in the backyard with my dad or rooting on my cousins as they go deer hunting in the fall, I’ve seen multiple sides of the recreation shooting.

Concealed and carry guns are banned in a few places banned: elementary/secondary schools, courthouses, churches, banks. Individual places of businesses may place a sign that prohibits the weapons as well. In the 2009 Missouri legislative session, there was a movement to allow concealed and carry weapons on state universities.

This movement was met with stiff opposition from university leaders around the state, saying that the integrity of the university could be at stake. University police departments said if they entered a room with two people pointing guns (one being having a permit, another being the perpetrator), they wouldn’t know who to target. University officials pleaded with legislators that potentially, if someone fails a test or class that they would threaten their professor.

I think that conceal and carry permit holders should be able to carry on a college campus. The scenario that the university police argue is very unlikely to happen because I presume someone who has a permit would obey the police when they would order the gun to be put down. These types of scenarios are discussed in permit classes.

To address concerns about retaliation for a failing grade: this is illogical. Potentially, this threat could happen today. By making this argument, do university officials actually believe that they should be worried about those who have gone through the legal process of obtaining a permit?

A university environment would have very few people who have a concealed and carry permit for a few reasons: (1) the majority of the population is under 23 (2) purchasing a handgun is likely going to be cost prohibitive (3) the labor intensive permit process won’t be desireable for college students.

The only restriction I would support on a concealed and carry permit holder is if they live in the dormitory or in a shared living space. The university should provide a secure, convenient environment for the weapon and allow the student to get their weapon whenever they choose. Again, the need for this would be very limited: What 23 year old is still living in the dorms?

People are often skeptical of people having guns on them, saying that type of environment doesn’t facilitate civil debate or discourse. Schnucks was one of those skeptical companies, that banned permit holders from carrying in their stores. After six years, they just removed their signs that used to ban concealed weapons.

University officials should know that violent crime doesn’t happen by those who legally obtain a permit and carry their weapon on them. Violent crime happens when weapons are (often) illegally or wrongfully obtained, altered.


Having grown up in rural Minnesota in a hunting family and I strongly support gun rights. I will address whether conceal and carry laws should permit students to bring a firearm on campus within the context of gun rights and conceal and carry generally. Much of the controversy comes over the interpretation of the 2nd amendment which states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Many argue that today’s National Guard in each state serves as its militia and therefore there is no guarantee for an individual right to bear arms separate from this. The problem is the militia in the early days of America was a grassroots operation as opposed to today’s formal government-run National Guard which effectively operates as a state-side extension of the regular military. When reading the Constitution, it is important to understand the reason and intent that went into it. In other words, context is everything as it leads us through cultural, social, and linguistic barriers to proper interpretation. Clearly, the intent of the 2nd amendment was to ensure an individual right to bear arms so as to ensure people could protect themselves against threats, particularly from governments both foreign and domestic. Today, the context of militias has changed somewhat, but the right – and the basis for it – remains.

Reasonable conceal and carry laws are also, I feel, a right. The right to bear arms for protection/defense naturally extends to the right to carry arms today as it has throughout our entire history. While I support this right, it is important to note that there are circumstances where it is just and necessary to provide limited and reasonable exceptions in terms of whom and where the right extends to. The key is to balance the priorities of ensuring the right to bear arms with other reasonable interests such as public safety and private property rights. With few exceptions, concealed firearms should not be allowed in public places (including schools/campuses) because of the obvious danger they pose to the public as well as the liability that may result from abuse of the right in a public setting. The government has an interest in protecting its citizens everywhere, but particularly in public. Another area where a reasonable exception to conceal and carry may be merited is in cases of an individual with a history of violent crime. As well, it should be the liberty of private establishments to dictate whether concealed firearms are allowed on their property. Even in the Wild West guns were banned in certain establishments (in some cases entire towns)

Aside from these narrow exceptions where a clear interest in public safety or private property rights is at stake and where a reasonable person would find that the public safety or private property interest clearly outweighs the right to bear arms, the right to bear arms (including conceal and carry) should be upheld.


As a Virginian, this debate has taken on new meaning in the past 3 years.  Since Seung-hui Cho killed 33 students at Virginia Tech (including himself), the concealed carry on campus debate has flared up.  However, I think that the arguments that revolve around this topic are flawed at best.

The thinking that surrounds conceal and carry on campuses relates to the prevention of such massacres like the one at Virginia Tech.  I have heard commentators say things like, “If another student in that class would have been armed, this tragedy could have been prevented.”  But what does that say about the society that we live in today?  That we must turn college campuses into armed fortresses and students into veritable sentries in order to prevent someone who is at their last wit from going out in a bloody blaze of glory?  Is this what we have come to expect from institutions of learning in America?

America has one of the highest rates of death by firearm in world, according to the United Nations and the Kaiser Family Foundation.  Why would we want to spread the potential for bloodshed to an area where our citizens are supposed to feel the safest?  Instead of seeking to “fight fire with fire”, perhaps we should take a closer look at the men who commit these heinous crimes against humanity.  Maybe we should urge those that detect these social symptom patterns to notify the proper authorities and urge these people to get some formal help.  Better yet, we should probably consider closing some of the gaping loopholes that allow anyone to purchase guns at these arms shows and online without any kind of background check.  The fact that no arms dealers have been prosecuted for giving a clearly unstable man weapons speaks to the lax firearm regulation infrastructure that exists in America today.

These simple safeguards could have prevented Virginia Tech by perhaps delaying Cho’s acquisition of firearms long enough for his mental issues to be given more serious consideration.  There is a better way to make college campuses safer than to allow conceal and carry into our classrooms.  I would like to think that our society has not given up on its most vulnerable citizens so much as to think that there is only one (fatal) way of dealing with them.


I don’t have any problem with properly licensed students, faculty, etc. being able to carry a concealed weapon on college campuses. I don’t see what it is about a college campus that precludes conceal and carry laws from applying there when they apply in the vast majority of other unsecured public places. I’m sure there are arguments to be made about the potential hazard it may pose, or serving as distractions to the learning environment. I won’t dismiss those outright, but I’m not terribly inclined to be convinced by them.

First of all, I think that if you are going to go spend the day and the money it takes in order to get the requisite permit then that probably says something about your responsibility/character/intentions. Certainly is unlikely to always be the case, but I would suspect there is a distinguishable difference between a person who bothers to obtain a license and one who does not.

The main reason, however, that I wouldn’t have a problem with this is that there are already concealed weapons holders out and about almost anywhere you go. I don’t see any reason why a college campus should be afforded some special status. It’s not too dangerous for a person to take a concealed firearm into the movies or a restaurant. When is the last time you went out for the evening and were concerned about who might be carrying a concealed weapon? Right. So why is the thought that this might be debilitating for a college campus?

I don’t think persons carrying concealed weapons in a legal manner on a college campus would be a big deal. I suspect it’s one of those things that people get all up in arms about, but if it actually were to happen you would seldom, if ever, hear much more about it.


One Response to Conceal & Carry On College Campuses, Good or Bad?

  1. My personal opinion is that all gun free zones are potential killing fields, and that they should be outlawed wherever they exist.

    We have the right to protect ourselves wherever we are—the Second Amendment guarantees this natural right. We live in what was set up to be a Constitutional Republic.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: