Guns on campus is progressive academia’s straw man

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Gun control advocates frequently advise against people using guns for self-defense. But Michael Bloomberg and various anti-gun politicians often use armed guards as protection.

Talk is cheap. But when a professor resigns because of his university’s concealed carry policies, that’s a story that can get national attention.

In May, associate history professor Jacob Dorman resigned from the University of Kansas. He accepted another tenured position at a different public university in a noncampus-carry state. 

In his resignation letter, Dorman predicted that Kansas will be “driving off faculty members” when it enacts campus carry on July 1.

{mosads}Dorman is not alone in his prediction. Many at Texas public universities expressed similar dismay after the passage of a similar law in 2015. According to the University of Texas at Austin’s “Campus Carry Policy Working Group,” people thought it would “impede the University’s ability to recruit and retain students, faculty, and staff.”


The professors expressed concern that a permit holder might get angry over a grade and start shooting. But that has never happened. 

Twelve states mandate the right to permitted concealed carry on public college campuses and an additional 22 states leave it up to the university. Not once has a permit holder in any of these states committed a crime on one of these campuses with a gun.

In his resignation letter, Dorman worries that “campus shootings have become all too frequent,” but these attacks haven’t been occurring on campuses that allow permitted concealed handguns. And he claims “arming students has done nothing to quell active shooter situations because students do not have the training to effectively combat shooters,” but, according to law enforcement and prosecutors, concealed handgun permit holders with the same amount of training have stopped dozens of mass public shootings.

It is a wonder how these professors ever go off campus. After all, there are over 1.15 million concealed handgun permit holders in Texas. Kansans don’t even need a permit to carry. Professors can’t go to restaurants, movie theaters, or grocery stores without being around legally carried concealed handguns.

Despite being the subject of some national news coverage, these faculty departures are very rare. At the University of Kansas, only one out of 2,600 faculty members have left.

Just two out of 20,322 have left the University of Texas System. And one of those two, a retired professor, would likely have visited at other schools anyway after his retirement.

With so many Democrats on campuses, the real surprise is that more professors haven’t fled. Nationwide, Democratic faculty members outnumber their Republican colleagues by anywhere from 3-to-1 in economics to 30-to-1 in anthropology.

Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to oppose concealed handgun permits. 

According to a 2015 Gallup survey, just 31 percent of Democrats (versus 82 percent of Republicans) think that having a handgun makes them safer.

Another 2016 Gallup poll showed that 83 percent of Republicans but only 45 percent of Democrats thought that allowing more people to carry permitted concealed handguns would stop mass public shootings.

Given how difficult it is to land a tenured position, perhaps it’s no wonder that professors choose to stay. But one or two departures still aren’t much at all.

And faculty members in Texas and Kansas had at least a year’s warning to go and look for another job.

Any other harm to the universities is quite negligible. Professors at the University of Texas at Austin pointed to three professors who had turned down speaking invitations, one student who had decided not to apply for admission, and one instance of a professor at another university deciding not to apply for a potential job.

The same concerns about irresponsible permit holders were raised when states passed right-to-carry laws. In fact, permit holders have been extremely law-abiding. 

Permits have been revoked for firearms-related violations at rates of thousandths of one percentage point. Civilian permit holders are less likely than police officers to be convicted of a firearms violation.

Many liberal professors are doomsayers about concealed carry, but they aren’t willing to walk the talk. It goes to show that they are exaggerating their concerns.

John R. Lott Jr., Ph.D. is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and the author most recently of “The War on Guns” (Regnery, 2016).

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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