THE COLORADO SUPREME COURT put some noses out of joint when it ruled unanimously this month that the University of Colorado's campus gun ban violated a 2003 state law that entitles residents with permits to carry concealed weapons.
One of those noses belonged to Abraham Nowels, a University of Colorado student who wrote to the Denver Post: "We're in the middle of midterms right now, and I can't think of anything I'd rather be focusing on than which of my fellow over-stressed, binge-drinking peers is carrying a concealed weapon into class with me." The Post agreed, pleading in an editorial for "legislators with enough gumption" to change the state's concealed-carry law and "give colleges the power they need to keep students safe."
To those with an emotional bias against guns, it goes without saying that more guns in private hands invariably mean more crime and violence. If the number of people carrying firearms on campus rises, then of course that campus is less safe: What could be more obvious?
But it isn't obvious at all.
While the University of Colorado spent much of the past decade resisting the state's concealed-carry law, Colorado State University complied with it. If the gun controllers are right, Colorado State should have seen a surge in crime, while its gun-banning sister institution should have been an Eden of security and lawfulness. That's not what happened. As Clayton E. Cramer and David Burnett write in a new monograph for the Cato Institute, "crime at the University of Colorado has risen 35 percent since 2004, while crime at Colorado State University has dropped 60 percent in the same time frame."