Nov 11, 2008

Pro- concealed carry on campus

by Clint Armstrong

It is time for Liberty to adopt the proven safety model of licensed concealed carry for the purpose of self-defense. While Liberty’s campus is generally a very safe place to live, study and work, dangers exist everywhere unfortunately.

In 2006, there were four instances of forcible sex offenses on campus, according to the official Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) 2007 Campus Crime Report. Also, it is no secret that many in the world have an irrational hatred for the principles that this university stands for. It is simply impossible for LUPD to be everywhere and defend everyone should someone decide to express his hatred through the type of senseless violence that has plagued several campuses in America.

Campus policies prohibiting firearms did nothing to prevent the recent tragedies on the campuses of Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University. It is logical to assume that an individual who is prone to committing murder will not be swayed by laws or rules preventing the possession of a tool to commit his crime.

In contrast to easily-ignored rules, there are several universities that allow licensed concealed carry and are safer because of it. One of them is less than 100 miles north of Liberty. Blue Ridge Community College, a campus with 9,612 registered students, has a weapons policy that provides an exemption for Virginia concealed handgun permit holders. A look at its crime incident report reveals that no violent crimes occurred on the campus at all, according to the college’s official Web site. Its incident reports consist nearly entirely of accidents.

Utah state law does not allow universities to prohibit the licensed carrying of a concealed firearm. Brigham Young University (BYU) has over 30,000 students attending full or three-quarters time, and even more students at half time or less. BYU's official crime report shows only two instances of violence (aggravated assault) and no sex offenses.

There are many concerns when firearms are available to the public. Some have suggested that people with access to weapons will use those weapons, in poor judgment, to accelerate a disagreement into a deadly altercation. In fact, numerous studies show that concealed permit holders are five times less likely to commit a crime than the general public, according to a Journal of Legal Studies report entitled, “Crime, Deterrence and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns.”

Another concern is police officers would not be easily able to identify a criminal by the presence of a gun. This, however, is not true. Licensed concealed carry has consistently led to lower crime rates, according to a county crime study by the Journal of Legal Studies. There is no evidence to suggest police in other cities, where concealed carry is permitted, have had any trouble identifying criminals because of licensed concealed carry.

Perhaps the most comforting thought for those who are concerned about having concealed firearms on campus is the knowledge that these licensed students, faculty and staff members who would be affected by a potential change in policy are already carrying their concealed weapons all over Lynchburg. They are sitting in movie theaters with you, eating in restaurants with you, enjoying the local parks with you and shopping for their groceries with you, all while carrying a handgun.

There have been no negative effects in Lynchburg as a result, and chances are you do not even know who is carrying because they are just normal people. There is no reason to force them to change a peaceful and safe daily routine for an arbitrary and ineffective prohibition of weapons on campus. Allowing licensed concealed carry has been proven elsewhere to be an effective safety model and it is time for Liberty to take a step towards ensuring that safety as well.


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