Why I support concealed carry (on campus and otherwise)

May 4th, 2009 | By | Category: Columns, Opinions

Zach Becker


Mutually assured destruction.

That’s the best way I can sum up why I support the legal right to carry concealed firearms, both on campus and otherwise.

Remember the Cold War? We had two super powers, vying for power and supremacy, both with an arsenal of nuclear warheads capable of destroying the world several times over. What stopped each of them from blowing the other to kingdom come? Mutually assured destruction.

Have you ever seen the classic 1980’s movie war games? The only way to win the game thermonuclear war is not to play the game at all.

It’s pretty simple psychology and is valid at an interpersonal level as well. Really, who is going to rob a store if they think the clerk, as well as the other patrons, may be packing heat? It changes the whole risk-reward equation for a lot of crimes.

Sure, it is always best to call 911 and wait for the police to diffuse a situation, but sometimes that is not possible. Quick action can save lives.

It is well-known that if a person wants a gun, he or she can get one easily through various channels, some legal, some not. If a criminal wants to carry a concealed weapon, no little sign on the door or outside of campus banning the practice of concealed carry is going to deter them. But law-abiding citizens will respect those regulations.

Suddenly, in areas where concealed carry is banned, criminals only have to fear deadly repercussions from other criminals. All the law abiding citizens are now just blanks. So where do you think a criminal is more likely to strike? An area that allows legal concealed carry or one that bans the practice?

A lot of debate has been going on about whether the government should allow concealed firearms at the Missouri State University and other college campuses. Some students argue that allowing deadly weapons on campus will make the school a more dangerous place. But what about the thousands of deadly weapons already here (and out in the open)? Seriously, what is more dangerous than a raved lunatic in a motor vehicle?  Road rage happens. Maybe we should ban cars? Or sharpened pencils (those can hurt)? Really, I’d rather that people not have guns. But we don’t live in a perfect world and I’m a realist.

A drivers license is fairly simple to obtain, but not so with a CCW permit. An individual must be at least 23-years-old, have completed a training program and be fingerprinted at the Sheriff’s office.

Much of the debate has focused on how concealed carry may have stifled a campus massacre like the one at Virginia Tech. While I think it may have made some difference in that situation, these incidents are few and far between. Let’s look at a more likely scenario. Burglary. Assault. Rape. From 2005-to-2007, MSU police reported 144 robberies on campus, 8 cases of aggravated assault and 18 incidents of forcible sex offenses.  Shouldn’t students be allowed to defend themselves?

While I don’t know if I’d carry a gun myself, if my wife was out on campus after dark for classes, I’d feel a heck of a lot safer if she was carrying a concealed weapon. What rapist is going to attack a women if there’s a possibility he gets his dick blown off? If it happens a few times, I bet potential campus rapists might think twice.

Mutually assured destruction. You hurt me and I’ll hurt you. I wish this type of logic wasn’t needed in the world. Maybe someday it won’t. But for now, we should allow concealed carry of weapons in most public places, including campus. It could save lives.

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  1. There are already weapons on campus. They are carried by criminals that have no thought of obeying the law. Licensed, trained citizens carrying a firearm on campus are no different than the thousands of law abiding citizens that carry on the street every day for personal protection.

    There are over 60,000 law abiding citizens in Missouri licensed to carry a firearm for personal protection. You didn’t know that? You are around them in banks, shopping malls and grocery stores every day. They are just ordinary people, soccer moms, factory workers, bankers, doctors and ministers.

    You don’t notice these people because the firearm is concealed and they don’t make the nightly news by breaking the law.

  2. The author failed to point out that individuals with Missouri CCW licenses also undergo background checks conducted through the Missouri highway patrol. How many students, faculty members, or university/college employees in Missouri have undergone the same scrutiny?

    CCW holders have no illusions of vigilante justice. Instead, they have made a well thought out decision and chosen to take individual responsibility for their personal safety understanding fully that law enforcement has no such obligation to protect them on campus or elsewhere.

    CCW holders do not interfer with decision of those people who choose to be willing vitims by forcing them to become responsible citizens. Instead, CCW holders wish to protect their own lives and the lives of their loved ones when confronted/attacked by an individual or individuals with the opportunity, means, and expressed intent of using lethal force in an illegal manner against them.

    Why then, is CCW such a threatening subject to those who oppose it. Certainly many of the ideas and behaviors endorsed upon college campuses have been proven greater threats to society than that tool for personal protection carried concealed by responsible, law abiding citizens.

  3. Jane, very well said! CCW holders are a threat to no one, except criminals.

  4. Well written article Zach. The AP should pick this up and spin it out to every major publication in the country. I could not have said it better myself, and believe me I’ve tried.

  5. There is one flaw in your thinking. A person holding up a convenience store expects to get away with their life. A psychopath intent on killing a classroom full of people and his or herself has decided that they too will die that day. How many campus shooters have survived? They have either been killed by police or committed suicide. They had no intention of living to see another day. That is why more guns on campus will not deter a psychopath. They don’t think like you and I. They are not going to suddently have a normal thought and change their mind because someone nearby might have a gun.

  6. Actually, I agree with you on that point. Deranged individuals don’t think logically. That’s why I don’t think allowing legally concealed weapons will deter psychopaths intent on dying in the act of killing others.

    However, if some law-abiding citizens are carrying concealed weapons on campus, it may be possible to cut short one of those murderous, suicidal rampages. It certainly couldn’t hurt anything.

    But I think concealed carry would be very effective in deterring much more common campus crimes – committed by (misguided and morally corrupt) sane individuals- such as burglary, assault and rape.

  7. T, name one time when a shooter involved in a campus attack has been stopped by law enforcement. It hasn’t happened. The cops have never arrived and taken action in time to stop a campus shooting. We should not be deprived of our right to self-defense regardless of where we are or what type of criminal is committing the attack.

    Society is safer when the criminals don’t know who’s armed. The legal, trained citizens with permits to carry concealed weapons are not the people you need to worry about, tt’s the criminals who disregard the law and carry anyway.

  8. @T
    T, why do you think mass murder shootings only happen in “gun free zones”? if they guns don’t deter them, why wouldn’t they choose, oh i don’t know a firing range, or a police station? because as someone pointed out law enforcement has never EVER neutralized the threat. When faced with armed opposition(be it police) the threat turns their gun on themselves. and even IF what you say is true, it doesn’t deter them at all. Why make it easier for them? the point is that stripping people the individual right of self-preservation, just because they walk over an imaginary line, on the campus, they all the sudden are void of that right is nonsense. Especially when these shootings almost ALWAYS happen within these imaginary boundaries.

  9. May 4, 2009 headline in Atlanta, GA.: “College Student Shoots, Kills Home Invader” as reported on http://www.wsbtv.com/news/19365762/detail.html. Two armed criminals invaded a birthday party, separated the men from the women, robbed the men and began to rape the women. A student who (horrors!) had a gun in his backpack ended the robbery and rape attempts, killing one of the intruders in the process. If this had been MSU, they’d have all been regrettable unarmed victims.

  10. Excellent article. The people with a license to carry have been given at least 8 hours of classroom instruction, fingerprinted, and undergone a background check. They are not a threat to anyone except those who commit crimes.

    Criminals have and do carry whenever and wherever they please. If you think nobody is carrying a gun on Missouri’s college campuses, you are deluded. The drug culture on those campuses attracts dealers, and dealers carry guns.