The Campus Carry Debate Isn’t as Simple as Guns Versus No Guns

Campus Carry Melissa Golden/AP Photo
Campus Carry Melissa Golden/AP Photo
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus
Students for Concealed Carry on Campus

Austin, TX -( Since the earliest days of the nearly decade-long debate over allowing concealed carry on Texas college campuses, opponents of the idea have clung to the mistaken belief that the debate is about whether a campus with guns is more or less safe than a campus without guns.

They apparently find it easier to wrap their heads around the simple dichotomy of ‘guns versus no guns' than to grasp the nuance of a debate about whether criminals should be the only ones carrying guns on campus or whether vetted, licensed adults should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on campus that they're already allowed virtually everywhere else.

Recently, this simplistic ‘guns versus no guns' view has manifested itself in opponents' assertion that the confusion caused by protesters who were openly carrying rifles when a sniper attacked a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas proves the dangers of campus carry. In a July 25 column in The Tribune of Humble, Tex., Dave McNeely writes:

Some of the people marching in the Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas July 8 — when five cops were killed and seven others were injured, plus two civilians — were carrying assault rifles.

Suspecting that the gun-toters might be involved in the ambush on the cops, a picture of one of them was put up by the police on social media, to help track him down. It gained national attention.

Fortunately, he and the other gun-toting marchers weren't taken out by law enforcement.

So, now, allowing more guns on campus. Will it help prevent violence, or help subdue it if it occurs?

In an interview published July 22 on the blog CultureMap Austin, bestselling author Elizabeth Crook, whose 2014 novel Monday, Monday depicts a fictionalized account of the August 1, 1966, sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, states, “As for campus carry, I absolutely do not think it will deter random acts of violence, I think it’s pretty certain to create them. We saw during the recent horrendous shooting of police in Dallas how armed civilians endangered themselves, confused police, and were of course utterly ineffective in stopping the sniper.”

To these people it makes no difference that the armed citizens who caused confusion for Dallas police were carrying rifles, not handguns; that the guns were carried openly, not concealed; that the guns—at least some of which were purportedly unloaded—were carried as a form of protest, not as a measure of self-defense; that proponents of campus carry have never claimed that the licensed, concealed carry of handguns offers defense against a sniper firing from a concealed position; that concealed carry is about personal protection, not public protection; or that Texas license to carry (LTC) holders are taught to move away from the sound of gunfire and stay out of the way of police.

As is the case with opponents who point to the 1966 University of Texas sniper attack as evidence that campus carry is a bad idea, those who point to the July 7 sniper attack on Dallas police understand neither the facts of the referenced crime nor the real arguments behind campus carry.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “Only after opponents realize that the campus carry debate isn't as simple as ‘guns versus no guns' will we, as a society, be able to have an intellectual, fact-based conversation about this deeply nuanced issue.”

About Students for Concealed Carry:

Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit

For more information on SCC, visit

  • 11 thoughts on “The Campus Carry Debate Isn’t as Simple as Guns Versus No Guns

    1. It is interesting to note that the UT Tower massacre event occurred at a time when it was perfectly legal and acceptable for college students to have personal firearms in their dorm, home, or vehicle, and many students did so. I was not present at UT for that event, but was in undergraduate college at the same time, and I kept no less than 2 rifles, 1 shotgun, and 1 pistol in my own dorm room at UNM. No one thought this was even unusual, let alone dangerous. In any case, during the event at UT, no one else was shot after the students began to return fire with hunting rifles (which were variously being carried in pick-up truck “headache racks” or retrieved from dorm rooms). NO ONE. From that moment on, the shooter was too busy taking cover, and could only fire through a small drainage hole on the balcony, greatly limiting his field of fire. Also, as I said, NO ONE, including bystanders and those “down range,” was hit after return fire began; there were none of the much predicted innocent bystanders accidentally shot. Further there were two people who went up in the elevator in the clock tower to take out the shooter. When the door opened, one went left and the other went right, to locate and eliminate, the shooter. It was off-duty police officer (later a Texas Ranger) Ray Martinez who first encountered Whitman and shot him. Had they gone in the opposite directions coming out of the elevator, Whitman would have been shot by a shotgun-armed, civilian university administrator, who was the other person.
      The heroes of the day were unquestionably the armed civilians present at the time, and the official LE forces played virtually no role until it was all over. “Ranger Ray” not only recognized this fact, but gave the armed civilians full credit, both at the time, and later in his autobiography, titled, “They Call Me Ranger Ray.”
      In fact, in every regard, the UT Tower shooting was a classic case of how armed civilians can respond effectively to mass killers in public places – but of course, there DO have to be armed civilians present for them to respond effectively.

    2. Travis;

      Either you are purposely lying or simply wanted to present what you thought were facts because they supported what you thought was true.

      FIRST: You REALLLY need to spend more time on Stanford’s (yes the liberal bastion of learning) available research papers as well as ALL of the available LEA reports. It has been PROVEN that the areas in the US with the LOWEST crime rates have the most gun carrying populous and the most gun supporting laws.

      SECOND: NONE of your examples were CCW holders! Where in the WORLD did you come up with this tripe?

      1. Qman — I agree. Let’s defer to Stanford. Stanford News November 14, 2014 “Right-to-carry gun laws linked to increase in violent crime, Stanford research shows… Stanford research reaffirms that right-to-carry gun laws are connected with an increase in violent crime. This debunks – with the latest empirical evidence – earlier claims that more guns actually lead to less crime.”

        “The strongest evidence was for aggravated assault, with data suggesting that right-to-carry (RTC) laws increase this crime by an estimated 8 percent – and this may actually be understated, according to the researchers.”

        p.s. See my response to Ammoland above re license status of each shooter/gun fumbler.

    3. “…the same measure of personal protection…” There’s the problem. Research has simply not demonstrated a net protective benefit to having a gun in the home or to carrying a gun for personal protection. The data unambiguously shows the opposite. Guns are positively associated with increased risk of death and injury, and are rarely used for self-defense. University folk know these facts. They did the research.

      The record of citizen licensed concealed carriers bears this out. On campuses and school grounds their record is 11 negligent discharges, 8 criminal homicides, 1 suicide, and 0 (zero) defensive gun uses. Here are the details:

      28 Oct 2002 — Tucson, AZ — University of Arizona student Robert Flores killed 3 of his Nursing professors — Robin Rogers, Barbara Monroe, and Cheryl McGaffic — before killing himself. He was upset over failing grades. Flores had an Arizona Concealed Weapon Permit.

      13 Oct 2008 — San Antonio, TX — Alan Godin walked into the library at Northeast Lakeview College and murdered fellow librarian Donald Zimmerman, over a tenure dispute. Godin was a Texas Concealed Handgun License holder.

      31 Jan 2010 — Salt Lake City, UT — Mary Nance Hanson, upset with her daughter-in-law over a child custody issue, killed teacher Tetyana Nikitina, in the Millcreek Head Start School parking lot. Hanson had a Utah Concealed Firearm Permit.

      29 Apr 2010 — Denver, CO — An unidentified female fled after the gun she carried in her handbag fired inside an Auraria Campus restroom stall. One bullet was found impacted in a wall and one spent 9mm casing was present on the floor. (License status unknown.)

      10 Nov 2010 — Fayette, KY — Brian Allen McGuire, a middle school janitor with workplace issues, killed Jose Daniel Donato, a coworker. McGuire had a Kentucky Carry Concealed Deadly Weapon license.

      18 nov 2011 — Nassau County, NY — Long Island University professor Jack Carney shot himself in the leg in the hallway outside his classroom. Former police officers in New York State are granted special permission to carry concealed as private citizens.

      05 Jan 2012 — Ogden, UT — An unnamed 24-year-old student shot himself in the leg while walking across campus at Weber State University. The student was reported to have a Concealed Firearm Permit.

      12 Nov 2012 — Denver, CO — A University of Colorado staffer, Mary Beth Loeb, accidentally fired a shot while showing her coworkers her handgun, and trying to unjam it. The bullet ricocheted and hit another staff member. Loeb held a Concealed Handgun Permit.

      28 Feb 2013 — Van, Texas — Glenn Geddie, a Texas CHL holder, was wounded while attempting to unjam his weapon at a Van Independent School District-sponsored gun safety training class (training staff to carry at VISD schools).

      03 May 2013 — Hattiesburg, MS — University of Southern Mississippi student Blake Ballard accidentally shot himself in the thigh while sitting in his car in a campus parking lot. Ballard held an Enhanced Firearms Permit.

      14 May 2013 — Aurora, CO — A school worker accidentally shot a student in the parking lot at Rangeview High School, while attempting to stow his firearm in the glove box of his vehicle. The Colorado Concealed Carry Act allowed permit holders of all types to keep a gun (locked, unloaded) in a vehicle in a K12 parking area.

      19 Jun 2013 — West Palm Beach, FL — Janitor Javier Burgos killed his supervisor, Ted Orama, and a coworker, Christopher Marshall, at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, a high school in West Palm Beach. Police reported that Burgos had a Concealed Weapon License.

      03 Sep 2014 — Pocatello, ID — Byron Bennett, an assistant professor of chemistry, shot himself in the foot during lecture in front of 20 students. Bennett had an Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons Permit, an Idaho Basic Concealed Weapons Permit and a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit.

      11 Sep 2014 — West Jordan, UT — A 6th-grade teacher, Michelle Ferguson-Montgomery, was in a faculty restroom at Westbrook Elementary School when her handgun discharged. The bullet shattered the toilet and passed through her leg. Ferguson-Montgomery held a Concealed Firearm Permit.

      16 Feb 2016 — Homosassa, FL — Roy Caffera lost his Ruger automatic through a hole in his cargo pants at his child’s elementary school. It was given to the school janitor, who fired the weapon into the ground, thinking it was a toy BB gun. Police reported that Caffera had a concealed carry permit.

      29 Apr 2016 — Charleston, WV — Lloyd Simms was sitting poolside at his child’s swimming lesson at the University of Charleston, when the .40 semi-auto he was carrying in his back pocket fired into the deck, about 2 feet away from another parent. Simms has since been banned permanently from the campus. Simms had a concealed handgun permit.

      15 May 2016 — Augusta, KS — A man attending an outdoor high school graduation ceremony accidentally fired the .380 auto he had concealed in his sock. The bullet travelled through the man’s foot, ricocheted, then lodged in the leg of a bystander 50 feet away. Police reported that the man had a concealed carry permit.

        1. Ammoland — Thanks for having the guts to allow contrary opinions on your forum. Here are citations referencing licensure for each example above. As to VPC’s lists, they do occasionally have a “false positive”. I found 2 in their 30 or so examples of “mass” shooters licensees.

          1) Arizona Gunman Had Threatened School
          “Flores reportedly had a concealed weapons permit”
          Violence Assessment and Intervention: The Practitioner’s Handbook, Second Edition
          “Fellow student Lori Schenkel said Flores bragged to pediatrics classmates last year that he had received a concealed weapons permit.”

          2) Alamo Colleges Want Say in Guns on Campus Debate
          “[Chancellor] Dr. [Bruce] Leslie said the part-time employee who was found guilty of the murder had a concealed handgun license.”

          3) Police say teacher was killed by former mother-in-law
          “Hanson is a concealed weapons permit holder, and her most recent address is in Taylorsville. Investigators found her car parked about a mile away from the crime scene, said Unified Police Lt. Don Hutson.
          Police say Hanson fired several shots at Nikitina, then reloaded and fired several more rounds.”

          4) Fayette schools custodian helper is found guilty of manslaughter
          “[McGuire] had a legal permit to carry the gun used to shoot Donato, witnesses testified during the trial.”

          5) Criminal Justice Professor Inadvertently Shoots Self in Leg
          “While Carney is a retired Fire Marshall and is licensed to carry a weapon on him…”

          6) Weber State student accidentally shoots himself
          “the man has a permit that allows him to carry a concealed weapon on campus.”

          7) Two injured when CU staffer with concealed carry permit fires gun accidentally
          “Meyers said the gun belonged to a staff member who has a concealed-carry permit.”

          8) Texas school worker shot in handgun training session
          “A statement from the Van Independent School District said the incident occurred at the end of the formal training Wednesday when a “certified person” stayed for private instruction with the trainer “and had a mechanical malfunction with his weapon,” KLTV reported.”

          9) Southern Miss student in critical condition after gunshot wound
          “University officials say Ballard apparently was not in violation of state law by having a gun in the vehicle on campus because he was over 21 and had obtained an enhancement to a concealed firearms permit…”

          10) Police: Aurora high school employee accidentally shoots student
          “Police spokesman Frank Fania says the employee, who is not a teacher, accidentally shot the student when he was moving a gun to the glove box of his vehicle shortly before 4:30 p.m. Monday.”

          “(a) A permittee may have a handgun on the real property of the public school so long as the handgun remains in his or her vehicle and, if the permittee is not in the vehicle, the handgun is in a compartment within the vehicle and the vehicle is locked;” (Licensure was for security guard moonlighting job, but Concealed Carry Act enabled any type license holder to bring a gun into a K12 parking area.)
          CRS 18-12-214

          11) Man linked to double Dreyfoos murders tried to sell gun to co-worker; other new allegations revealed
          “Police also noted that Burgos admitted to police that he has a .22-caliber firearm and provided a concealed weapons permit.”

          12) ISU prof with concealed weapons permit who accidentally shot his foot in class is identified
          “Bennett possesses a current Idaho Enhanced Concealed Weapons Permit, an Idaho Basic Concealed Weapons Permit and a Utah Concealed Weapons Permit.”

          13) Utah elementary teacher accidentally shoots self in leg at school
          “…the teacher is a concealed weapons permit holder…”

          “Mr. Caffera, who has a concealed carry permit and no criminal history, did not realize his weapon accidentally fell out of his shorts, through a torn cargo pocket, while walking his child into the before school care program.”

          15) Police: Gun discharged at UC because it “caught on something”
          “Simms has a concealed carry permit, but weapons are not allowed on UC’s campus.”

          16) “A 37-year-old man concealed a small automatic handgun in his sock as he went into Hillier Stadium, according to police Chief Tyler Brewer…” (Happened before July 1, 2016, meaning a permit would be required. No mention by police of the weapon being illegally concealed; only that it was illegally present onto school grounds.)

      1. @Travis Klein,

        I believe you are mistaken. The empirical data shows that liberal conceal carry laws do in fact relate to reduced crime rates. Nothing deters criminals more than an armed potential victim.

        Whatever your selling, I’m not buying.

        1. As I mentioned to Qman below, “Right-to-carry gun laws linked to increase in violent crime, Stanford research shows… Stanford research reaffirms that right-to-carry gun laws are connected with an increase in violent crime. This debunks – with the latest empirical evidence – earlier claims that more guns actually lead to less crime.”

          “The strongest evidence was for aggravated assault, with data suggesting that right-to-carry (RTC) laws increase this crime by an estimated 8 percent – and this may actually be understated, according to the researchers.”

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