Jan 152010
Authors: W. Scott Lewis

As the debate over concealed carry heats up at CSU, it’s important for students, faculty and staff to keep in mind that this shouldn’t be an ideological debate. One doesn’t have to choose between the stance that “guns are bad” and the stance that “free citizens should be allowed to have any gun anywhere, at any time.”

One can support allowing trained, licensed adults to carry concealed handguns on campus while believing that convicted felons shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms, that machine guns shouldn’t be sold to the general public and that secured locations, such as federal buildings and airports, should place tight restrictions on gun possession.

Ideally, the debate over concealed carry on campus should be a rational discussion of the facts. And currently, the facts suggest that allowing concealed carry on campus doesn’t hurt and has the potential, in certain circumstances, to help. Sadly, CSU’s own administrators seem unable to come to terms with these facts.

The administration’s argument that there is no evidence that concealed carry prevents crime is a weak rebuttal to the mountains of evidence supporting concealed carry on campus.

Regardless of whether or not concealed carry prevents a statistically significant number of crimes or saves a statistically significant number of lives, there is one point on which most research organizations, including the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and the National Academy of Sciences, agree: concealed carry does not lead to more gun crime or more gun deaths. It does not make things any worse.

As for the “what if” scenarios posed by board members, anybody can argue any side of any issue ad infinitum using “what if” scenarios. But “what ifs” are nothing more than creative speculation or make believe. They prove nothing.

The fact is that, after six and a half years of allowing concealed carry on campus, CSU has not experienced a single gun theft, a single gun accident or a single act of gun violence, including threats and suicides.

Likewise, statistics on concealed carry show that concealed handgun license holders are approximately five times less likely than non-license holders to commit violent crimes.

And of the relatively few incidents of violent crime committed by permit holders, hardly any are incidents of individuals losing their tempers and using their guns in anger, the only type of crime that might be prevented by prohibiting lawful concealed carry.

Ignoring the facts, a handful of gun control advocates suggest that concealed handgun license holders would be unable to react in time to defend themselves against a Virginia Tech style massacre (one of many scenarios in which a person might need to defend himself or herself on campus).

These people have apparently forgotten the story of Professor Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor who, like three other victims at Virginia Tech, died trying to barricade a classroom door against the gunman.

They’ve forgotten the account of Garrett Evans, who, prior to being shot in both legs, watched helplessly as the gunman stopped to reload.

And they’ve forgotten Emily Haas’s recollection of hiding under her desk, listening to gun shots getting closer, “waiting and hoping” the shooter wouldn’t come into her room. Haas spent five minutes on the phone with 911 before the shooter finally did enter her room. She survived with only superficial gunshot wounds, but her professor and 10 of her classmates lost their lives.

For the sake of everyone at CSU, those debating this issue should put aside their own prejudices and political agendas, stop making this a debate about competing ideologies and focus on the facts at hand.

W. Scott Lewis previously served as the national media coordinator for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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