Campus carry—because vagina-shaped lollipops don’t empower women

Gun grabbers everywhere are fuming over the momentum that concealed carry legislation has gained across the country. Lawmakers in 10 states are currently floating legislation that would permit students to carry firearms on campus, and other states may soon follow suit.

Why now?

Because sexual assault has become a hot-button issue and it’s hard to argue against arming otherwise-defenseless young women.

This movement in the campus carry conversation puts gun grabbers in a tough spot. Anti-gun activists like to argue that they are protecting innocent victims from violence, but by arguing against concealed carry, they are stripping women of a critical form of protection against sexual violence—and the peace of mind that goes with it.

Critics say that concealed carry does not target the root cause of sexual assault on campus, which is alcohol abuse, and that rape most commonly happens while the victim is under the influence. But what about the other cases?

What about Amanda Collins, who in 2007 was raped while on campus at the University of Nevada, Reno? Ms. Collins, who has testified in support of campus carry laws in the past, has said that she never would have been the victim of sexual assault if she had been allowed to carry her licensed gun.

Surely, she is not the only one.

The most commonly quoted statistic on sexual assault is that one in five women are raped on campus. This figure has been around for years, but in reality, the veracity of this number varies greatly from source to source.

While “one in five” may be shocking, it’s important to note that sexual assault rates have not dropped despite the effort made by campuses nationwide to “dialogue” about the issue. Rape cases can stain the reputation of any institution, and it’s obvious that colleges and universities are eagerly trying to prove that they are taking action.

Unfortunately, they fail to take any bold action for fear of backlash.

Many colleges and universities like to address the issue by sponsoring performances of “The Vagina Monologues” and handing out vagina-shaped chocolates and lollipops in the name of female “empowerment.” Others believe they can stunt the trend by requiring students to take “sexual respect” education programs. These programs have done nothing to combat sexual assault rates, and yet universities pour money into them year after year.

Some say that college students would be more prone to gun accidents because of the high rates of binge drinking that occur among this demographic.

But here’s the rub: The students who are putting themselves in such precarious situations as binge drinking are probably not the ones who care enough to arm themselves in the first place. Why should responsible students be disarmed and defenseless as a result? If a woman is properly trained in how to use a weapon for self-defense, doesn’t she have a right to use it for protection?

College and university administrators are good at dodging these questions, and point to well-known cases of gun violence as justification for their unwillingness to support campus carry legislation.  The truth is that programs like SAFER (Sexual Assault Free Environment Resource) are not making women on campus feel any safer, and the concealed carry movement is only gaining steam, particularly among women.

Crayle Vanest, an Indiana University senior who serves on the national board of Students for Concealed Carry, notes that the group’s female membership has increased “massively.” For these women, the 2nd Amendment is more than just a right. It is their last line of defense against sexual violence.

After years of “dialoguing,” colleges and universities should realize that this strategy is not working. Women can’t depend on “sexual respect” initiatives or phony empowerment efforts for their safety and security.

Campus carry offers peace of mind to female students and a tangible solution to campus rape. It’s about time we try a strategy that truly empowers women.

The views and opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of

(photo: James Gibbard, The Tulsa World)

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