Opposition to Campus Carry

Opposition to Campus Carry

The NC General Assembly should not force colleges to allow guns on campus

HB 251, introduced to the NC General Assembly in 2017, would compel colleges to allow “trained” firearm holders to carry their weapons on campus. Bill supporters argue that by allowing “good guys” to carry guns, students will be able to defend themselves and their classmates from dangerous attacks. However, research[1] clearly shows that allowing guns on campus does not increase safety, and in fact, can lead to dangerous consequences.

Campus carry does not make campuses safer, it more likely makes them more dangerous

  • Homicides at American colleges and universities are extremely rare. In 2013, the homicide rate at post secondary institutions was 0.1 per 100,000 of those enrolled. By comparison, the criminal homicide rate in the US was 4.4 per 100,000.2

  • There is no statistical evidence that crime rates have decreased on the public campuses affected by such laws.3

  • A 201? Johns Hopkins study found that campus carry laws are unlikely to deter school shooters and may in fact lead to more injuries and deaths.4

  • An FBI report detailing 160 active shooting incidents from 2000-2013 found that only one shooting was stopped by a CCW permit holder, and he happened to be a Marine. Twenty-one active shooters were stopped by unarmed citizens.5

  • Higher population firearm ownership rates do not reduce firearm-associated criminal perpetration. On the contrary, evidence shows that states with higher levels of firearm ownership have an increased risk for violent crimes perpetrated with a firearm.6

Armed students with little or no training pose serious risks

  • Concealed Carry Weapon holders are not necessarily well trained. Indeed they may never have even handled a firearm. While North Carolina requires live training in order to acquire a CCW, the state also recognizes permits obtained in other states that require little or no training.

  • Even those who receive training are unlikely to be prepared for an active shooting situation. ATF agents and members of SWAT teams must perform tactical exercises and qualifications multiple times a year to prepare for such situations. CCW permit holders face minimal hours of training.

  • A 2006 study of bullet hit rates among large US police departments found that officers only hit their targets 20% of the time, even though officers receive extensive firearms training.7 Would anyone really expect CCW to do better?

The college campus environment creates unique dangers

  • The prevalence of alcohol and drugs on college campuses raises many safety concerns when paired with firearms. Over half of America’s 5.4 million full-time college students abuse drugs or alcohol at least once a month, and alcohol is involved in 95% of violent crimes on campus.8, 9


  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college age young adults. Access to firearms is likely to increase the risk of suicide.10


  • Small rooms and frequent visitors, like in college dormitories, increase the likelihood of gun thefts.11

Armed civilians may confuse law enforcement

  • A Virginia Tech Panel Report specifically recommended against guns on campus. “If numerous people had been rushing around with handguns outside Norris Hall on the morning of April 16, 2007, the possibility of accidental or mistaken shootings would have increased significantly. The campus police said the probability would have been high that anyone emerging from a classroom at Norris Hall holding a gun would have been shot.”12

  • UNC’s Associate Vice President of Campus Safety and Emergency Operations Brent Herron has stated that in an active-shooter situation, responding officers would be likely to have difficulty distinguishing between the shooter and lawful gun owners.13

Accidental shootings are a major risk

  • At least six accidental shooting by CCW holders have been reported on K-12 and university campuses, resulting in injuries and chaos.14
    • A Utah schoolteacher’s gun accidentally went off in an elementary school bathroom.
    • A University of Colorado staffer was showing her handgun to coworkers and trying to unjam it when she accidentally fired a bullet that ricocheted and hit another woman.
    • An Idaho State University assistant professor with a CCW permit shot himself in the foot with a semiautomatic handgun that accidentally discharged from inside his pocket in a chemistry classroom full of students in September 2014.
    • A University of Southern Mississippi student was in critical condition after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh while sitting in his vehicle on campus.
    • A student at Tarleton State University in Texas accidentally fired a gun at a campus residence hall.
    • A 24 year old student with a concealed carry permit at Webster State University accidentally shot himself in the leg when his gun discharged in his pants pocket.

Public opinion is strongly against guns on campus

  • 94% of Americans answer NO when asked, “Do you think regular citizens should be allowed to bring their guns on to college campuses?”15

  • 79% of students in a 2013 survey said they would not feel safe if concealed weapons were allowed on campus.15

  • 94% of faculty in a 2013 survey said they would not feel safe if concealed weapons were allowed on campus.15

Those employed on college campuses could be placed at greater risk

  • A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that workplaces allowing workers to carry firearms and other weapons at work were 5-7 times more likely to be the site of an on-the-job homicide compared to workplaces that prohibited workers from carrying weapons.16

  • The same study found that, just as residents of households with guns are more likely to be victims of a homicide in the home, workers at workplaces that allow guns are more likely to be killed while at work.


1 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Firearms on College Campuses: Research Evidence and Policy Implications, https://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-gun-policy-and-research/_pdfs/GunsOnCampus.pdf

2 Clery Act Data (US Department of Education) and FBI Uniform Crime Reports 2013

3 IACLEA, Concealed Carrying of Firearms Proposals on College Campuses

4 John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, College Campuses: Research Evidence and Policy Implication at http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-gun-policy-and-research/_pdfs/GunsOnCampus.pdf

5 US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation,  A Student of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013

16 Monuteaux, Michael C. et al., Firearm Ownership and Violent Crime in the U.S. American Journal of Preventative Medicine.  Volume 49 , Issue 2

7 Morrison, G. B. Deadly Force Programs Among Larger US Police Departments at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1098611105276542

8 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, College Drinking at http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/CollegeFactSheet/CollegeFactSheet.pdf

9 Columbia University Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Rethinking Rites of Passage: Substance Abuse on America’s Campuses at https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED371681

10 M. Clinton, College Campuses Grapple with Escalating Suicide Rates at www.nearwestgazette.com

11 Students for Gun Free Schools, Why Our Campuses are Safer Without Concealed Handguns at http://www.studentsforgunfreeschools.org/SGFSWhyOurCampuses-Electronic.pdf

12 Virginia Tech Review Panel at https://governor.virginia.gov/media/3772/fullreport.pdf

13 T. Keung Hui, Bill would  allow concealed carry guns on UNC, community college campuses. The Charlotte Observer at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article136249908.html

14 Crime Research Prevention Center, Accidental Shootings on K12 and University Property by Permit Holders at http://crimeresearch.org/2017/02/accidental-shootings-on-k-12-and-university-property-by-permit-holders/

15 M. Ransfrom, Most Students don’t want guns on their campuses at http://cms.bsu.edu/news/articles/2013/9/students-say-no-to-concealed-weapons-on-campus

6 Loomis, Marshall, and Ta. Employer Policies Toward guns and the Risk of Homicide in the Workplace. American Journal of Public Health. 2005; 95:830-832.