In a time where sexual assault is on the rise at American universities, it's important to curb this trend by effective means.
How can universities best address and eradicate the threat of sexual assault on campus? Allow concealed carry on campus.
Seven states–Wyoming, Montana, Florida, Texas, Indiana, North Dakota, and now South Dakota–are considering legislation to permit concealed carry at universities. As more Americans channel support for gun rights over gun control, legislation to repeal gun-free zones and permit concealed carry should be deliberated in more states.
Universities are gun-free zones, which make them prime targets for criminals. Evidence shows that gun-free zones don’t deter crime; they enable them. No sign will stop a criminal; a good guy/girl with a gun will.
When young women and men are allowed to practice concealed carry on campus, they-not administrators or bureaucrats–are in control of their own lives.
Concealed carry is effective because it deters attack without perpetuating violence. The Crime Prevention Research Center notes:
“There have been no reported problems with permit holders on any of the college campuses where permitted concealed handguns are allowed.”
With proper training and certification, any permit holder is capable of defending lives when called upon to do so. (Keep in mind: Only those who possess handgun permits would be allowed to practice concealed carry on campus.) Permit holders, like gun owners, are responsible and diligent, so administrators and students should confide in them rather than admonish them. Moreover, allowing students to practice concealed carry on campus will make them less dependent on police given lengthy response times. Moments separate victims from life and death, so it’s better for those with handgun permits to prevent bad guys from harming others.
It’s also encouraging to see young people, particularly young women, advocate for concealed carry on campus as a method to prevent sexual assault.
Dartmouth College junior Taylor Woolrich, who has been repeatedly terrorized by a stalker for four years, wrote an article last August about her desire to carry on campus. Woolrich notes how ineffective a restraining order has been in preventing her stalker from contacting her:
“If schools and society can’t guarantee my safety and the safety of victims like me, it’s time we have the chance to defend ourselves so we can stop living in fear.”
Rape survivor Amanda Collins also advocates for concealed carry on college campuses. In 2007, while attending the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), she was attacked by a serial rapist in one of the campus’ “safe zones.” In a Feburary 2013 interview, Collins spoke out against gun-free zones:
"If I had been carrying that night, two other rapes would have been prevented and a young life would have been saved. All of these are just sentiments that give a false sense of security. In my experience I know that the university that I attended, the University of Nevada-Reno, they didn't didn't have any call boxes the night I was attacked. They afterwards installed them but I can tell you that a call box above my head while I was straddled on the parking garage floor being brutally raped wouldn't have helped me one bit. The safe zone? I was in a safe zone and my attacker didn't care."
The tried yet useless methods of installing blue-light call boxes, encouraging the use of rape whistles, writing poetry, and even suggesting “consent dinners” to discourage men from raping their female classmates won’t fly anymore. Some argue men need to be “re-educated” and “taught not to rape”—strategies which are not only flawed but foolish to carry out. Others argue talking about the problem will make it go away. The aforementioned scenarios perpetuate complacency rather than encourage empowerment. That needs to change.
Concealed carry will allow both college-aged women and men to shoot down attack from criminals.