Guns on Campus

Colorado’s highest court has ruled that licensed students may legally carry firearms on a college campus.  I say, what is good enough for Coloradans is good enough for everyone else.

Unfortunately other states remain blinded to the anti-gun rhetoric of “no guns period.” Yet the vast majority of states allow for licensed concealed carry with safer workplaces and homes. Criminals don’t follow the law at all and do not respect life. Lawmakers must understand my life is just as important to me on campus as it is off campus and equally important to that of someone living in Colorado.

Indeed, a concealed carry permit holder can legally carry into stores, and anywhere else provided by law.  A permit holder can protect themselves and their family inside and outside of the home.  A permit holder can stand their ground when someone is trying to kill them or someone else.

Personal protection, therefore, is an individual responsibility.  Long-established court rulings show that law enforcement has no duty to protect a person. Individuals are their own best line of defense.

Students across this land know better than university bureaucrats — and have taken to social media pages to raise awareness for self-protection on campus.  Students understand that a “no gun zone” equals a victim disarmament zone.  Such an area is a threat to their own personal safety.

In fact, students at the Appalachian School of Law stopped an active shooter, but not until he had killed the dean.  Students at that one school in Virginia stopped a situation from becoming worse, but employees and students at another college were not as fortunate.

We all remember that horrible day at Virginia Tech.  Authorities knew of a threat to the campus and that this shooter had killed others, but the employees and students were at the mercy of university leaders to report the threat.  They did not until it was too late.

Everyone followed the public safety script — but the shooter.  He refused to cooperate with the gun free zone or with the laws making murder illegal.  He acted alone and in his own irrational way.  Universities, indeed, are victim disarmament zones.

Surely, though, parents, students and university employees would be protected by the university and by outside law enforcement authorities.  College officials would not allow employees and students to be unduly harmed.  But, let’s be clear, no one can protect you as well as you can protect yourself.

Virginia Tech can ban guns on campus, but cannot guarantee the safety of their employees and students. Today, Virginia Tech is being sued in a wrongful death case by the parents of some of the students killed on that tragic day.  Virginia Tech is fighting the court case and denying any responsibility.

Sure, colleges can put in more metal detectors, add roving armed guards throughout campus, and paint the illusion the academic community is safe, but they cannot guarantee safety.  It should be known that all the active shooter drills on a college campus will not prevent a determined shooter from causing mayhem and death before SWAT teams arrive.  Explain to the victims and their families why not being armed is a good thing.

As a college teacher the best strategy I have to defend myself and my students is to throw a trash can at a shooter, cower under our desks and hope we’re not the ones selected for extermination.  Pathetic.

I worry more about what happens when an active shooter walks onto my campus, than I do anything else.  The powers that be figure disarming me suffices, but that only leaves me vulnerable to those who can’t read “no guns allowed” signs.  Worse, they don’t have a legal duty to protect me.

In the end, academic administrators are more concerned with control than they are with my life.  I don’t recall placing those folks in charge of my life.

It’s well past time for school employees to protect themselves on campus since colleges won’t protect us.  Lawmakers can allow me to defend myself or read about my demise under a desk at school.  I know my choice.



Dr. Jeff Edgens is a former college dean. faculty member and an At-Large Representative for the Libertarian Party of Georgia.  Dr. Edgens resides in Georgia.