Left-Leaning Think Tank Wants Feds To End Campus Carry

(Jay Jenner/Austin American-Statesmanvia AP)

States with some form of campus carry are smart. Colleges, like other schools, are prime targets for mass shooters. After all, for all the talk of school shootings, people forget the worst school shooting of the modern age was at Virginia Tech, a university. Criminals aren’t going to pay attention to gun-free zone signs.

Clearly, mass shooters who are interested in killing as many people as possible aren’t going to.

While there are a lot of things we can probably do to prevent such shootings, one thing that every state should do is enact campus carry. Good guys with guns end threats. It’s just plain and simple.

However, not everyone is crazy about the idea of campus carry.

A report published last week by the left-leaning think tank the Center for American Progress argues the federal government should assume a bigger role in regulating guns on college campuses to counter state efforts to pass laws allowing for the carrying of guns on campuses.

About 10 states have laws in place that compel public colleges to allow firearms on their campuses to varying degrees. Montana was the latest state to pass a law allowing for campus carry earlier this year. A court temporarily blocked the law from going into effect after the Montana Board of Regents filed suit arguing it infringes on the authority granted to the board under the Montana state constitution to set campus policies. Litigation is ongoing.

Bradley D. Custer, senior policy analyst for higher education at CAP and co-author of the report, said the fight over the Montana law caught his attention.

“It perplexed me as to why states in the middle of a pandemic were putting energy into getting more guns in more places, rather than focusing on making sure that their residents were safe and healthy,” he said.

Maybe because while COVID is a thing, so are violent criminals? Campus carry is part of keeping residents safe and healthy, even if the folks at the Center for American Progress can’t grasp that very basic concept.

Moving on.

The report outlines a number of steps Congress could take to curb the movement in some states toward adopting permissive campus carry laws. One recommendation is to amend the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, which applies to K-12 schools, to ban guns on higher education campuses.

Another recommendation is to require colleges to publish information about campus gun policies and gun crime in the annual disclosures of crime statistics mandated under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The report recommends, for example, that colleges should be required to break down gun-related crimes versus other weapons-related crimes in their reports (currently all weapons-related crimes are lumped together).

Custer acknowledged that some of these steps would be harder to achieve than others.

“I think the appetite to ban guns on campus at the federal level is pretty low, but I think it’s totally reasonable to ask for small changes to the Clery Act so that institutions are providing better crime statistics and better information to students and employees,” Custer said.

I hate to break it to the Center for American Progress, but even if you break down campus crimes, that’s not going to do a thing to undermine campus carry.

As noted, 10 states already have it on the books. Do you know what you don’t see? Students lawfully carrying guns only to suddenly commit crimes with those guns while on campus. It just doesn’t happen.

We know it doesn’t because the media would have blasted those incidents all over the airwaves and the internet if it did. No one could have missed it, and we know it.

The proposal to change the Clery Act is predicated on the idea that more guns equal more crime. I’m curious whether the Center for American Progress would acknowledge it was wrong if we found no statistical difference. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t, though.

After all, gun control never fails in its mind. More than that, though, gun rights are always wrong as well. With that foundation, it’s kind of hard to acknowledge everything you believe about guns is wrong.

Sep 22, 2021 6:30 PM ET