As long as fathers have loved the daughters they sent off to college, there have always been concealed firearms on university campuses.

I personally knew two women while I was in college who carried firearms despite laws against the practice. They were female graduate students who often took or taught night classes, depending on the semester. Student parking was far away from the classroom building where we taught and had our offices as TAs (teaching assistants). Begin armed was their assurance that they wouldn’t become victims as they returned to their cars, or walked to nearby off-campus housing.

While I’m going on memories more than 20 years old, I seem to recall that one said that she carried a revolver given to her by an old boyfriend. The other, whom I more distinctly recall, carried a Beretta 92 in her bag. Neither was conservative, nor a “gun nut.” There were, in fact, ardent feminists.

They were adamant that they would not be victims.

I always suspected—but never sought to prove—that several other students and at least one of my professors also carried firearms on campus. It was simply understood that campus rape and muggings in the outlying student parking lots or neighborhoods near campus was a real and ever-present possibility, and that running the risk of being caught with a firearm was far preferable to being sexually assaulted, robbed, or battered by a predator.

Decades removed form university life, it seems bizarre to me that in this day and age that there is even a “debate” about concealed campus carry.

Concealed carry is happening on college campuses, right now, whether it is legal or not, and whether those carrying are trained or not. It has always gone on in varying degrees on different campuses as administrators and campus police forces have played the age-old game of attempting to cover-up the real rates of campus violent crime.

The proper response to ever-present threat of on-campus and near-campus crime is for administrators and law enforcement agencies to stop pretending that their fake “gun free zones” do anything other than invite criminal activity, especially as the rest of the nation has embraced concealed carry and made violent crime too risky anywhere else. By attempting to fight campus carry, as administrators are in Florida, Texas, and elsewhere are attempting to do at this very moment, obstructionists are are simply turning more good people into temporary criminals, and inviting contempt for laws and administrations that place more interest on conformity than the basic human right to armed self-defense.

Instead of denying the unquestioned fact that college students are carrying firearms on campus with or without administration permission, chancellors and lawmakers should take the proactive step of legalizing campus carry. By doing so, they are encouraging those students who intend to carry anyway to pass the state-mandated training that most states require of concealed carriers. While there is no evidence that any state’s one-time training course saves lives, it might provide these administrators with the illusion that they have some sort of limited control and influence over their students.

Irrational opponents of campus carry have their laundry list of “what if” scenarios. They’ve been making the same claims about concealed carry off-campus for more than 30 years, and those “what if” cries have never lead to the hyperbolic “blood on the streets” that is always just about to happen, but which never actually does.

There are more than 11 million concealed carriers in the United States at this time, and there are several hundred to several thousand more new ones every day. Despite the growing number of more people carrying more firearms in more places, violent crime continues to plummet, and concealed carriers continue to be more law-abiding than the general population.

Asserting that college students who already have their concealed carry permits become a threat once they set foot on a college campus is insulting to all concerned.

It’s time for university administrators to stop standing in the way of progress.

It’s time to legalize campus carry.