Guns on (US) Campuses

Should we be pleased? Students Oppose Concealed-Carry Gun Policy on Campuses

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a report on a new survey which suggests most students are against the idea of people being allowed to carry concealed guns on campus.

As state legislatures continue to debate whether to allow people to carry concealed firearms on college campuses, a survey shows that most students oppose the idea.

The survey, conducted by Ball State University, found that 78 percent of students at 15 Midwestern colleges were against the carrying of handguns on campuses and would not obtain a permit to do so if it were allowed.

welcome on campus?

welcome on campus?

A similar majority, nearly four in five students, said they would not feel safe if students, faculty members, and visitors were allowed to carry guns.

Bringing student voices into the debate over guns on campuses was part of what drove Jagdish Khubchandani, a professor of community health education at Ball State, to conduct the survey. “Most of our laws on campus in regards to guns do not really consider student perspectives,” he said. Now “the students have spoken.”

Most of the 1,649 undergraduates surveyed thought that allowing concealed weapons would increase the rate of suicide and homicide on campuses. Those who supported concealed carry, Mr. Khubchandani said, were far more likely to be male, to own a gun, to have been the victim of a crime, and to binge-drink.

Sixteen percent of respondents reported owning at least one gun, while half admitted that they didn’t know whether their university had a policy concerning firearms on the campus.

I’ve been reflecting on this for a few days now and I’m still finding it really quite difficult to process. I accept, reluctantly, that there are entirely different traditions in the USA and Europe about gun ownership and control which mean that the terms of the debate are different. However, we are talking about university campuses here. Places dedicated to education, knowledge creation, research and dissemination. Institutions where disputes are resolved through rational argument and debate rather than violence. And yet in this US survey, the students have spoken and barely 80% of students think carrying handguns is a bad idea. Only 80%! And 16% already have a gun themselves. I just find it very difficult to understand why the scale of objection is not larger given that we are talking about higher education. What is it that enables some students to reconcile a university environment with the ownership of a firearm?

3 thoughts on “Guns on (US) Campuses

  1. I think it goes back to exactly what you say in your blog – the traditions of the USA – it is engrained there from ‘kindergarten’ that the constitutions of the United States is what the country is built on and the second amendment “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. Given the location of the study also it is likely that many of the sixteen per cent that hold a fire arm were brought up by parents (again likely to have studied in higher education) who owned a gun.

    I agree with you entirely that the statistics are shocking and in a society which is the biggest and most knowledge rich in the world you would think that it would be better. But if the gun lobby is anything to go by, I dont see it changing any time soon.

  2. “we are talking about university campuses here. Places dedicated to education, knowledge creation, research and dissemination. Institutions where disputes are resolved through rational argument and debate rather than violence.”

    The guns are for use against those who will not listen to your rational argument and who will – unless stopped by force – injure or kill people on college campuses. In the U.S. people with a concealed carry license are some of the most law abiding citizens there are. They may sometimes be arrested for a firearms violation, but at a rate very slightly less than sworn police officers being arrested for a firearms violation, a very low rate indeed.


    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” –George Orwell

  3. Pingback: Universities unable to regulate guns on campus | Registrarism

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