Saturday, October 10, 2015

Allow faculty and staff to exercise their right to conceal and carry on college campuses

“When we heard about the tragedy at Umpqua Community College, we were all horrified. As a professor here at Purdue for the past eleven years, I had a second reaction. I realized that, in a similar situation, I’d be helpless to defend my students. This is because although I am licensed to carry a handgun in the state of Indiana, I am forbidden by the University to do so on campus.

“I grew up in West Lafayette. I teach at Krannert; my father spent his entire career as a professor in the History Department. I understand people in this community, and I understand the emotional reactions some people experience when discussing guns. But we need to find common sense solutions to gun violence. And it makes sense to change the Purdue policy that forbids licensed permit holders from having guns on campus.

“This isn’t a plea for less or more gun control. Those arguments go on all the time, with a lot of heat but not much light. The fact is, concealed carry is the law of the land in all fifty states, including Indiana. But our University has chosen by policy to forbid normal, legal firearm possession by licensed permit holders. The question for our community right now shouldn’t be ‘do we want more or less gun control?’ It should be ‘does it make sense to forbid legal licensed concealed carry on campus?’ I think the common sense answer is ‘No.’

“Let’s break through the myths and emotions, and focus on the facts. What’s the problem Purdue’s policy is designed to solve? What are the benefits of the policy? What are the costs?

“As to the benefits of banning concealed carry, I think we can all agree that the University policy banning guns will never stop premeditated murders, whether small or mass. We saw that ourselves on campus in 2014. So the University policy can only be justified if it stops other dangers that exist with guns. Primarily, this means the possibility of arguments escalating to lethal violence because of the presence of a gun. That’s apparently the problem Purdue’s policy is meant to solve.

“It seems a reasonable fear that more concealed carry would lead to more violence. And crimes by concealed carry permit holders do occur. But they’re unbelievably rare because concealed carry permit holders are extremely law-abiding. According to a 2015 report by the Crime Prevention Research Center, permit holders commit crimes at a rate of 22.3 crimes of any type per 100,000 people—compared to a rate of 3,813 per 100,000 people in the general population.

“Concealed carry permit holders by definition must be 18 or older, be fingerprinted and pass a background check. More than 5% of all Americans now are permit holders, an amount that has tripled in the past eight years.

“In Indiana, it’s more than 10% of adults. And in every state that’s adopted concealed carry in the past 20 years, most recently Illinois, there have been predictions of ‘blood in the streets’ resulting from concealed carry—all of which have proven totally wrong, including in the states that already allow campus carry.

“As the chief of police of the Champaign police department said last year after hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois were issued concealed carry permits, ‘It’s a non-event.’ The simple fact is that it’s not true in practice that concealed carry, whether on campus or otherwise, leads to people in arguments pulling out a gun.

“As to costs of banning concealed carry, on a normal day there are minimal costs. It’s on the not-normal days that the costs become incalculable. A nearby concealed carry holder at Umpqua, a college that formally banned all guns, could have ended the shooting.

“If Chris Mintz, who charged the gunman and got shot seven times, had instead had a gun, the Umpqua story would have ended differently. And some day we may face a shooting like Umpqua, or even worse, an organized terrorist incident, tragically common around the world, where shooters choose a soft, gun-free target (like Westgate Mall in Kenya in 2013), and take their time to kill massive numbers of unarmed civilians.

“It’s on that extraordinary day, if it came to Purdue, that the costs of the University policy would become both obvious and quantifiable. And it would be too late for us to do anything. The cost reduction device we can choose now is allowing concealed carry. Concealed carry holders have stopped and deterred shootings numerous times around the country—just never in ‘gun free’ zones like Purdue, where no law-abiding person has a gun.

“On balance, I think objectively the costs of the policy banning licensed concealed carry on campus exceed the benefits, so it’s a bad policy. But there are legitimate arguments on both sides. Recognizing this, I think a compromise gun safety solution is probably the best revised policy.

“I propose that the University change the policy to permit faculty and staff, but not students, who hold concealed carry permits to exercise their rights on campus. If the experience of the Purdue community with such a new policy is the same as every other community in the country that has adopted concealed carry, the new policy could later be extended to licensed students by general agreement.

“I’m sure that my limited, focused proposal won’t be popular with students focused on exercising their gun rights, but I think it’s a reasonable compromise to both make our community safer and bring our community together.”

The above letter is by Charles Haywood, a clinical assistant professor of business law.
Time for a common sense solution: Campus Carry 


  1. Excellent article Glen, although being an NRA Instructor, I believe teachers if given this responsibility need more than 8 -16 hours of education. They should receive tactical training to make sure they are up to the call. They would have to become the aggressor and seek out the threat in another classroom.

    1. I agree. They would also need "tactical training to make sure they are up to the call..."

      I wrote on another post in May, 2014:

      The training requirement for an applicant to conceal carry should be at least 24 hours (two weekends), of which at least six hours should be live-fire instruction. Effective instruction should appeal to visual, aural, verbal, kinesthetic (hands-on training), and interpersonal (or peer) learning.

      At a minimum, firearms training curriculum should cover the following: Firearm Safety, Understanding Pistol Components and Operation, Loading & Firing a Pistol, Role-playing Stressful Self-Defense Scenarios that Create Fear and Confusion, Loading and Firing a Pistol under Stress, Unloading/Reloading a Pistol, Drawing from a Holster, Fundamentals of Aiming & Firing, Proper Breathing Techniques, Pistol Maintenance and Storage, Clearing Common Pistol Stoppages, Dry-Fire & Live-Fire Practice, Home Self-Defense Strategies, Self-Defense Strategies Outside of the Home, Understanding the Defensive Use & Consequences of Deadly Force, Confronting an Intruder or Attacker, the Emotional & Legal After Effects of Shooting an Assailant, Understanding State & Federal Laws Governing the Carry & Use of Firearms…

      I remain concerned about people who have only two days of training and who also lack experience with firearms (but decide to carry anyway). Carrying a firearm entails profound responsibility and the ability to act instantaneously under extreme stress with self-restraint.

      Though 16 hours of firearms training is the state’s requisite requirement for concealed carry, it takes many hours of shooting practice to enhance proficiency. Without real self-defense experiences, it is imperative to have practice lessons that include multiple visualizations of possible self-defense scenarios and to discuss the physical and emotional ramifications of the use of deadly force in self-defense.

      People who own and carry guns should continue practicing at a firing range at least once a month, in addition to studying and reviewing the principles of the aforementioned curriculum on their own.

  2. OK OK, let's have good traceable training that makes sense. Mental health services throughout K-12 in our schools....what happened to THAT? {Don't we know that's the PREVENTION?} Background checks for everyone who buys, don't need "war" machinery either, get those gun manufacturers to comply with the rules [no one pays attention to THEM], get those gun dealers/shows to comply with a law that works for the people of this country. We are a disgrace.

    1. Indeed, mental health services should be funded...; our legislators should be examining what needs to be done about keeping guns out of the hands of mentally-ill lawbreakers; our legislators should spend more time investigating and solving the causes of violent crimes in their communities instead of impeding the rights of upstanding citizens.

  3. UCLA Wednesday, June 1, 2016:

    “A student and a professor died in a murder-suicide in an engineering building at UCLA on Wednesday morning, Los Angeles police say. The gunman has been identified as Mainak Sarkar, a former doctoral student who had accused the victim of stealing his computer code and giving it to someone else, the LAPD said today. Sarkar, a resident of Minnesota, appears also to have killed a woman in a small town in that state and had a ‘kill list,’ that she was on, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. The professor was William S. Klug, 39, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, according to multiple sources. He was on the ‘kill list.’ A second UCLA professor, who has not been identified, was also on the list. He is safe. A note was found at the scene though it was not immediately clear if it was connected to the shooting, said the LAPD's chief spokesman, Capt. Andy Neiman…”

  4. Self-defense is (and should be) a personal decision; thus, a law-abiding citizen, such as a professor who is responsible and sufficiently trained with a firearm, should have the right to use a firearm to protect him or herself from a violent attacker.