As communities and law enforcement continue to grapple with complex issues of prejudice, victimization and inequality, advocates of armed self-defense on campus enjoy a peculiar immunity to the controversy.
This isn’t through neglect of valid complaints or legitimate causes, but because of the universality of our message: there is no race, gender, orientation or class that is excluded from the right to self-defense. Students for Concealed Carry doesn’t “welcome” the black voice. We are the black voice. And the white voice, and all other voices in between. We’re the voice united in the same imperative: All lives are worthy of protection.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, minorities are increasingly joining the college experience, with college enrollment rates for African American students increasing from 31 to 37 percent since 2000, and Hispanics from 22 to 36 percent.
As Students for Concealed Carry has asserted, college students are subject to unique threats in the college environment. Minorities are hardly exempt from these threats: according to one report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, African Americans were victims of robbery and violent crimes at higher rates than white students. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that 38 percent of hate crimes on college campuses in 2016 were motivated by race.
Victims of mass shootings are as diverse as the colleges they attend. Victims from the Virginia Tech shooting, for example, illustrate a profound diversity including African Americans, and immigrants from China, Egypt, India, Peru, Puerto Rico, Romania and Indonesia, as well as students of Lebanese and Korean descent. Members of all races are united in the college classroom – and in the increased threats created through rules forbidding self-defense.
Antonia Okafor, a former representative for SCC who now works as the Director of Outreach for Gun Owners of America, has routinely advocated about campus carry. In writing for the Austin American-Statesman, Okafor wrote:
Criminals who might target me because of my race or my gender — just like the criminals who might target someone because of the person’s religion or sexual orientation — have no qualms about breaking an honor-system-based gun ban. Campus carry isn’t about arming dangerous bigots; it’s about ensuring that I’m able to defend myself if confronted by one. … I don’t think it’s a racist or radically libertarian idea to suggest that the buildings at a state college should operate under the same laws as the buildings at any other state institution. … I’m not concerned about the racial ideology of someone who has gone through the training, testing, and extensive state and federal background checks to obtain a concealed handgun license. I’m worried about the racial ideology of the criminals and lunatics willing to ignore the state laws and school policies that currently render me defenseless.
African Americans have shown an increasing support for armed self-defense, increasing ownership of firearms and according to some research, have outpaced white persons by 30 percent in obtaining concealed carry permits.
As minorities increasingly share in the college experience, they increasingly share in the threats generated by bans on self-protection – usually generated by administrations where minorities are underrepresented.
Racism and prejudice have no place in the dialog surrounding campus carry. All are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights to life and liberty.
As cities and colleges are beginning to discuss reducing police funding, potentially reducing the already marginal protective effect they had on campus crime, it’s imperative that students, faculty and staff of all races, creeds and ethnicities be permitted to protect themselves. Now, as ever, Students for Concealed Carry is committed to fighting for those rights.