Concealed Carry on College Campuses: Is it a Good Idea?

Like virtually all gun-related regulations, the laws affecting concealed weapons on campus are a variety of different standards that depend on the state, the region, and even the area. According to a May 2017 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are 16 states that ban carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses, while 23 allow the specific institution to make the decision. 10 states have provisions that allow concealed weapons, although the provisions can vary widely. For example, Kansas institutions are allowed to ban concealed carry if the building has “adequate safety measures,” while Tennessee allows concealed weapons for faculty but not students or the general public. 

Only one state, Utah, has legislation that keeps public universities from banning concealed firearms on campus. In this state, students, faculty, and the public have the right to carry concealed weapons.

Arguments for Concealed Carry on Campus

Proponents of concealed weapons on campus argue that having an armed citizen on the premise could stop a threat posed by an active shooter. They claim that signs declaring a “gun-free zone” do nothing to stop motivated criminals, and only stop law-abiding citizens who wish to protect themselves and others.

Arguments Against Concealed Carry on Campus

The arguments against concealed carry on campus generally start with the assumption that more weapons on campus will only lead to more danger. They claim that weapons, concealed or otherwise, make the classroom less safe and stifle the free flow of ideas and thought, which is the ultimate goal of college.

Bottom Line: Obey the Law, Influence Policy Makers

No matter what side you agree with, it’s your duty to obey the laws, regulations, and rules on college campuses. If concealed weapons are prohibited on a campus, do not carry in that area. If you honestly believe that concealed weapons carried by responsible citizens will increase safety, do what you can to influence government policy, using both the vote and communication to your representatives. But never carry on campus unless it is completely legal.

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