Campus Gun Bans Make No One Safer

AP Photo/Keith Srakocic

Gun bans are nothing new on American campuses.

In high schools and such, I get why they’re in place. They were put there to have recourse when some gang banger decided to bring a gun to school to settle some score. They didn’t work, but I understood where they came from.

Colleges are different. These are legal adults, most of whom can lawfully purchase some kind of firearm. For some, that makes the ban more important.

However, as Cody Wisniewski notes over at The College Fix, it’s quite the opposite.

Evidence indicates that concealed carriers are among the safest and most law-abiding people in the nation, committing crimes at an even lower rate than police officers. Meanwhile, the threat of violence against defenseless students, many of whom are being denied the right to carry, is all too real.

In New York City, Columbia University student Davide Giri was killed near his campus in a stabbing attack earlier this month. The Manhattan borough president noted that this happened just blocks away from where another college student, Tessa Majors, was robbed and stabbed to death in 2019.

Giri’s murder came only weeks after another high-profile student killing. University of Chicago student Dennis Zheng was robbed and murdered on November 9, an attack that also took place near campus. Zheng’s death prompted protests, as hundreds of Chicago students gathered “to demand further safety measures from the university.”

There are few things more offensive than posting a sign declaring some area to be a “gun-free zone.” When governments systematically disarm peaceable people, and announce this fact to the world, they’re doing nothing more than painting a target on innocent people and telling criminals where to strike.

It is grossly immoral to leave people at the mercy of violent offenders, and still worse to broadcast this as if it were some sort of virtue. Thankfully, Montana legislators agree.

Wisniewski goes on to talk about a Montana bill that seeks to address this issue, and I completely agree with him on this.

See, the idea of “gun-free zones” is that if no one has a gun, everyone is safe. However, that involves a lot of very flawed “thinking.” Yes, I put that in quotes. After all, I personally argue there’s little actual thinking involved in such reasoning.

Campus gun bans ignore some very hard realities, realities that don’t just go away because you wish them to be.

First, there are the people who are attacked and killed on their way to or from campus. They cannot carry a firearm because the campus forbids it, but even if absolute security could be guaranteed on campus, that guarantee would end at the campus borders. That’s where bad things can happen, as Wisniewski noted.

However, perfect safety can’t be guaranteed.

Virginia Tech is a gun-free zone. It didn’t stop a maniac from claiming 32 innocent lives there in 2007. Nor did it do a lot of good at any of the numerous other mass shootings on college campuses.

Campus gun bans simply don’t work.

Instead, they empower criminals to target students leaving campus knowing they’ll be disarmed, and they empower mass shooters who know they’ll face no armed opposition, at least for a while.

They’re not making anyone safer. Campus gun bans do the opposite, just like gun bans do pretty much everywhere else.