UPDATE: Governor Abbott explains why he will sign the Campus Carry bill that passed the state legislature. These remarks were made on the Mark Davis Show on KSKY-AM.
John Lott’s newest piece at Investor’s Business Daily is part of a debate on this question with Bloomberg’s Frank Wilkinson (his piece is available here). Here is Lott’s piece. Let us know in the comments what you think of the two pieces.
But other than fears about safety and difficulties in recruiting and retaining quality faculty, he has offered no evidence to support his claims.
Texas has joined at least nine states allow permitted concealed handguns on college campuses: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin, and public universities in Pennsylvania, outside the Penn State system, mandate concealed-carry on campuses.
Public universities in Florida and Kentucky let permit-holders keep guns in their cars on campuses. Another 22 states leave gun policies up to individual schools.
Yet despite all this experience, McRaven fails to come up with hard evidence of any problems.
Has any of these states experienced an exodus of faculty? No. Have his concerns about “an increase in both accidental shootings and self-inflicted wounds” been realized? No.
Over all the years that states have allowed permitted concealed handguns on campus, there have been a total of just four accidents, none of them life-threatening and three of the four involving just minor injuries.
With more than 800,000 concealed-handgun permit-holders in Texas, there’s a good chance someone next to you in a grocery store or restaurant is carrying one.
Across the country, permit-holders are incredibly law-abiding and fewer than a thousandth of 1% lose their permits for any firearms-related violation.
In Texas and other states with permit-issuance and revocation data, college-age permit-holders turn out to be at least as law-abiding as others.
McRaven asserts that the University of Texas system already has done what’s necessary to ensure safety by using emergency notification systems and having campus police. However, even if victims are able to call police, under the best of circumstances, response times will probably be no faster than five or six minutes.
The main security problem is never mentioned: Attackers have the strategic advantage of choosing where and when to attack. Since the officers are in uniform, potential killers can either kill the officers first, wait for the officers to leave the area before attacking or pick another target.
McRaven worries that suicides will increase but ignores the fact that permit-holders have much lower suicide rates than the general population. In Michigan, the rate for permit-holders is just 37% that for the general population.
In a recent survey of North American economists who have published peer-reviewed research on firearms, 72% do not believe the presence of a gun increases the risk of suicide. If someone wants to commit suicide, there are many ways for them to do it.
University law enforcement personnel are said to oppose permitted concealed handguns, worrying about “the ability of our officers to differentiate between the bad actor and persons seeking to defend themselves.”
For mass public shootings, there’s not a single example of a police officer accidentally shooting a permit-holder or in which permit-holders have accidentally shot a bystander.
PoliceOne, the largest private organization of law enforcement officials in the U.S., with over 450,000 members, surveyed its members and found that in “tragedies like Newtown (Ct.) and Aurora (Colo.) … a legally armed citizen” would likely have reduced the casualties.
Attempts to ban guns from areas simply mean it’s the law-abiding victims who are unarmed. Instead of making places safe for victims, they’re made safe for the attackers.
• Lott is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.
A related op-ed was also published in the Daily Caller.