Campus Concealed Carry: The Toga Party Fallacy
March 06, 2015
Students for Concealed Carry and other campus groups are making a strong, and in places successful, push to allow law-abiding civilians to carry concealed on college campuses, which often are gun-free killing zones, as was demonstrated at Virginia Tech in 2007.
Some of these groups have tried to suggest that concealed carry is the answer to the epidemic of sexual violence supposedly tormenting our campuses because of a "rape culture" prevalent in bad old American society. It's always tempting to try to coopt the other side's issue. But in this case, it lets the antis lampoon the idea of some drunk sorority girl pulling a heater to fend off an even drunker frat boy after the kegger.
Let's take the fun out of that by introducing a few facts.
- Minors can't have concealed carry licenses, so that tipsy freshman won't be lawfully carrying.
- Only a minority of students now fit the 1960s student profile: 18-21 years old, living in on-campus housing and attending full time.
- Students are much more likely today to be in their mid-20s or older, be attending part-time while working, and have previous military service. These are taxpaying adults, not sex-crazed teenagers.
- Today's campuses are hardly leafy little enclaves like Faber College from the movie "Animal House." Many of them, even famous institutions like Yale and USC, are in very bad neighborhoods. While the central buildings may be apart from the surrounding community, campuses have sprawled into annexes and rented space that may be pretty forbidding, especially at night.
- While I don't doubt campus police forces have improved their professionalism from the Barney Fife gang that patrolled when I was in college, you can't exactly expect the FBI.
So is campus concealed carry intended to stop your little girl from getting molested in the back of the Delta house? It is not. Some effective education about the dangers of binge drinking might be more useful there. As a former college boy, I won't be such a hypocrite as to suggest making the togas a little less slutty might pay off, too.
But should a 27-year-old mother and part-time student have to walk through a dark parking lot in a bad part of town armed with nothing more than car keys and a hard stare? No. And that's why lawful concealed carriers should be able to bear arms on campus.