The State University of New York at Buffalo campus

They always seem to ask, “If you think guns should be allowed on college campuses, do you think concealed carry should be allowed on planes, as well? Where does it end?”

Those who advocate for gun rights on college campuses beg the same question, “Where does it end?” Where do restrictions on our basic freedoms end? Where does nanny state regulation and oversight end? Where does stripping the Constitution of its authenticity and integrity end?

The argument for concealed carry on campus is not an argument for permitting guns on planes, in bars, or anywhere else. It is an argument for the right of students to defend themselves while on school grounds, should the need arise.

A common argument against concealed carry on campus relates to the stereotypical collegiate environment – one that involves partying, binge drinking, and drugs. People often denounce handguns on college campuses on the basis that guns mixed with alcohol and drugs could have fatal consequences.

In this respect, opponents of concealed carry on campus are correct. Guns, alcohol, and drugs are not a good mix. No rational, competent human being would contest this. However, this does not justify banning handguns on college campuses.

Under this line of reasoning, vehicles should also be banned from college campuses. Individuals must have a license issued by a state government in order to operate an automobile. It is quite possible that a student could drive a car while intoxicated, which would pose a grave threat to others on the road, passengers in the car, and the driver himself.

Should the government ban cars from college campuses because some students operate vehicles irresponsibly? If a university prohibited and criminalized the presence and use of cars on this basis, students would be livid.

Just as a person who acquires a driver’s license has an obligation to operate his or her vehicle in a responsible and safe manner, any individual who possesses a concealed carry permit must also be committed to using his or her weapon sensibly and cautiously.

For the most part, those who oppose concealed carry on campus are the same individuals who oppose concealed carry in general. Often, people will make the claim that guns should be allowed in the home, but authorizing them to be carried elsewhere is unsafe. This doesn’t make sense.

The home is only one place where an individual might need to defend himself. To say that guns should only be allowed in the home implies that people do not need to defend themselves elsewhere. This is absurd. It is also proof that opponents of concealed carry simply do not understand the arguments and beliefs of those in favor.

Advocates of concealed carry recognize that guns can be dangerous weapons if used recklessly, but primarily, they see guns as a means of self-defense. Opponents of concealed carry only see guns as accessories to murder. They are blind to the fact that guns can actually save lives.

It is also important to note that supporting concealed carry on campus does not mean supporting every student on campus being armed and fully loaded.

Instead of restricting the freedoms of individuals who have already been granted concealed carry permits, perhaps advocates and opponents of concealed carry should work together to reform the bureaucracy responsible for appropriating those permits to ensure that only the most responsible citizens receive them.

I am hopeful that advocates of concealed carry on campus will prevail in New York State and in other parts of the country. But, in order to do so, maintaining basic freedoms endowed to Americans by the Bill of Rights must first become a nonpartisan issue.

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