Students nationwide are once again strapping on empty holsters in support of the right to pack heat. The nonviolent protest, organized by Students for Concealed Carry, runs April 2-6 and is designed to highlight the ineffectiveness of campus gun bans.
“Gun-free zones are defense-free zones,” said David Burnett, the group’s spokesman. “Announcing your campus is gun-free is a reckless invitation to psychopaths. We’re trying to show we have to put an end to such dangerous and irresponsible mandates.”
Hundreds of colleges have taken part in the protest in recent years, and the group expects this year to be no different. Enthusiastic students from dozens of major universities have already signed up for the protest via the group’s website, eager to raise awareness about self-defense restrictions on their campus.
Students for Concealed Carry was founded after the Virginia Tech massacre by students who noted the college’s gun ban failed to stop the shooter. More than 20 other college shootings have taken place on “gun-free” campuses since 2001, including six victims at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center shooting in March.
Colorado’s Supreme Court recently sided with the group, in a ruling that struck down a college gun ban. In 2011, five more states extended greater freedom to college gun owners, and over 200 campuses now allow some form of carry.
Despite their progress, Burnett says the group’s goals are often misunderstood. “We’re not out to arm everyone. We’re just saying if you have the legal permit and can legally carry virtually everywhere else, why is your right to self-defense suspended on campus? Guns in the hands of the right people can save lives, and universities are stopping the right people from protecting themselves. “
The group points to Utah and Colorado as proof that campus carry works. “These schools have allowed campus carry for years without incident,” says Burnett. “If anything, the crime rate drops.”
“It’s all about protection,” says Daniel Crocker, the group’s president. “Signs on the doors are just a government guarantee that criminals won’t encounter armed resistance. They won’t protect anyone, but a permitted handgun might. Until colleges can guarantee our safety, they shouldn’t criminalize self-defense.”
Acting Director of Public Relations
Students for Concealed Carry
Students for Concealed Carry is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprised of over 40,000 supporters which advocates for legal concealed carry on college campuses.