“Only in America” files; get students more weapons

This is a lead story in today’s Wall Street Journal which I’m reading in California. It’s hard to understate the insanity of these proposals, that the more guns circulating in society the better, that more guns will make America safer:

At more college campuses across the country, students are winning the right to pack a gun.

Many colleges have long been allowed to make their own decisions about whether students can carry firearms on campus, and most still forbid it. But gun-rights advocates working through the courts and state legislatures have managed to secure a significant expansion of gun rights at public universities.

Students are now permitted by law to carry guns on public campuses in five states—four more than two years ago.

The movement to ease gun restrictions on college campuses gained momentum after the 2007 killings at Virginia Tech, with advocates arguing that students, if armed, would have been able to stop the shooter who left 32 people dead.

Daniel Webster, the co-director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Gun Policy and Research, opposes the trend. He said introducing guns to college campuses creates a potentially combustible situation, given the prevalence of alcohol and drug abuse among college students. “It is not necessarily the best kind of environment to place a lot of lethal weapons,” he said.

But Ken Stanton, a Virginia Tech Ph.D. student at the time of the shooting, said he decided to become a research scientist at Colorado State University because he wanted to be on a campus where he could legally carry a gun to class. The Virginia shooting, which killed one of his friends, left him convinced that concealed weapons should be permitted on campuses to allow people to defend themselves.

“It is not a force field, but it just means that if something bad does happen, we can fight back,” said Mr. Stanton, an advocate for gun rights on campus. “At Virginia Tech, no one had a chance.”

Currently, 24 states leave gun policy to individual universities, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. An additional 21 states ban carrying a concealed weapon on college campuses by law, including Texas, where legislators fought bitterly this year over a bill that would have overturned the state’s prohibition. The Texas measure failed.

A major force behind the push to ease restrictions on guns on campus is an organization called Students for Concealed Carry. Started in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings, the organization has grown to include chapters across the country, and it lobbies state lawmakers and school officials to allow people with proper permits to carry guns on campus.

David Burnett, the group’s national spokesman and also a nursing student at the University of Kentucky, said he believes anyone who is responsible, law-abiding and trained should carry a gun. “If criminals knew that, they’d be more hesitant to attack,” Mr. Burnett said.

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