Affording disaster: Concealed carry on campus

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History and Philosophy


As of March 2012, students with concealed carry permits attending public colleges and universities in the state of Colorado may carry their weapons on campus. Colorado is one of six states with legal provisions permitting guns on public campuses. An additional twenty-two states leave it up to the governing bodies of individual colleges and universities to determine their institution's gun policy, while twenty-two states ban concealed weapons on campuses. The NRA often asserts that "an armed society is a polite society." They and those who favorably quote them take this as a positive result of an armed citizenry. People won't be rude. They won't argue. They won't say anything offensive, for fear of being shot. And that may be right. But we do not want a polite campus. If an armed campus is a polite campus, then students at such campuses will miss a fundamentally important aspect of their college experience. Students ought to be able to voice their opinions, to argue with others, and to test new ideas without fear. The threat of violence that guns create challenges the most fundamental liberty we have: the freedom of speech.