Gun licenses safe choice
By Karl Spaulding
When Florida liberalized its restrictive and disjointed system of concealed carry laws in 1987, many states followed suit. In each case, naysayers predicted everything from "blood in the streets" to "parking lot shootouts." Just as regularly, after each state changed the law to allow more law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns, the results were peacefully anticlimactic. Within a year or so after a law changed, a law enforcement or political figure would be quoted in an article admitting they were surprised that there had been no major problems.
Now after the Virginia Tech shootings, there are those wanting concealed carry to be allowed on college campuses. I've wanted this for ages, not as an "answer" to mass shootings (there is no single answer), but because it would further improve the safety of individuals who are legal to carry elsewhere in Ohio.
Predictably, the naysayers are still at work. They claim the same tragic consequences as they always have, aggravated by our youthful population and the abuse of alcohol. One of the arguments that keeps popping up is that "everyone will have a gun." They expect us to believe that the most irresponsible students will start carrying guns while drunk, wreaking havoc in our residence halls and classrooms. What they don't mention is that in Ohio the minimum age for a concealed handgun license is 21. Plus, applicants have to take a 12-hour training course. At most, only around 4 to 5 percent of state populations obtain gun carry permits. Plus, schools could still be allowed to ban guns from their residence halls. I could state that these predictions are balderdash, but there is a better way to show this: real life results. "Campus carry" already exists.
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Utah is the only state that specifically allows licensed gun carriers on college campuses. Until just recently, the administration of the University of Utah banned legally concealed guns, but a decision from the Utah Supreme Court forced them to comply. Other colleges in Utah, including the College of Eastern Utah, have had legal concealed carry since at least 2003. If there were serious problems with these schools, wouldn't we have heard of them by now? Opponents of campus carry don't like to talk about what happens in the real world; only what happens in their pessimistic, sociologically illiterate minds.
The best reason for allowing CHLs on campus is that those of us who want to go armed need to carry as much as possible to make it a habit. The safest place for a defensive handgun is on one's person, not locked in a car (currently allowed by Ohio law on campus) or at home. No one can predict when they might be attacked, so one needs to carry a defensive weapon as much as possible. Do you only wear your seatbelt when you think you will be in a crash?
Proper weapons training (another thing most administrators don't have) dictates that weapons should be carried in the same place as much as possible. When faced with danger, the mind will be occupied by other things, and one's weapon presentation should be automatic. This is true for any weapon or tool that will be used under stress. Unfortunately, our society ignores the real purpose of defensive weaponry, and stigmatizes handguns as suitable only for killing people instead of admitting their real purpose: saving innocent human life from an unexpected attack. A 1995 study, which showed firearms are used more than 2 million times per year in self-defense, described how prosocial uses for weapons at the very least cancelled out the negatives. Another criminologist, the late Marvin Wolfgang, followed that article with his own, expressing surprise as well as admiration because he had long been against firearms ownership, but could find nothing wrong with their methodology.
CHL holders do not become violent, "Wild West" savages when they come onto campus. Those of us who carry simply want to be able to protect ourselves to the best of our abilities at all times. Yes, campus is relatively safe, but the neighborhoods surrounding OSU and the places where visitors come from may not be.
Society is not made any safer by restricting individuals' right and means to self-defense.
Karl Spaulding is available to talk to any OSU administrators or professors who are unclear about the meaning of self-defense. He can be reached at
This article originally published in The [OSU] Lantern. Republished with permission.