Magical circles of protection

If John A. Tures, professor of political science at LaGrange College in Georgia, is correct, he and his colleagues will not have to buy and wear body armor, thanks to Governor Deal’s veto of a campus carry bill.  The bill would have allowed people with carry licenses to keep their concealed handguns on their persons on college property, with the exceptions of student housing and sports facilities.  (Citation:  )

Why Professor Tures feels safer is something he doesn’t specify, calling the campus carry bill “fiery rhetoric” without any supporting argument.  Perhaps the standards in English and political science are different, but if someone wishes to convince me of something, the person will have to offer evidence and logic.  Another rule that I’d expect to hold true in academic disciplines is that unstated assumptions are a sign of laziness, lack of skill, or willful deceit.

Tures gives the anecdote of seeing a colleague of his shopping for “bulletproof” vests on-line, and as stated, he now believes that this won’t be necessary.  Since he doesn’t explain that claim, we’re left to figure out for ourselves what he means.

Could he mean that carry license holders are a dangerous group of people?  Surely not, given the data from states like Kansas and Texas, showing that only fractions of one percent of those of us who carry handguns legally are convicted of any type of crime.  Even the best efforts of the gun control organization, Violence Policy Center, finds once again only a tiny number of total license holders doing anything wrong with our guns.

Perhaps he believes that laws against legal carry prevent shootings on campus.  Once again, the evidence doesn’t support this.  Campus shootings come in three types.  There’s the mass shooting or revenge attack when some disgruntled loser seeks to right perceived wrongs by killing either a particular target or as many people as possible.  Another would be suicides, and the final type is ordinary criminal violence that just happens to occur on college property.

The first category is the kind that gets into national news, and looking at the ten most violent such events shows that none of them occurred on a campus where concealed carry by licensed adults was allowed.  In fact, one of those events, the Kent State shooting, was committed by members of the National Guard, not by ordinary citizens.

Suicide is a serious concern, since some seven percent of students have considered killing themselves and one percent have attempted it, but this isn’t a reason to wear body armor.  With regard to general criminal acts, the data don’t indicate any special danger on campuses, particularly if the perpetrator and victim are strangers to each other.  The National Incident-Based Reporting System has found that 3.3% of reported incidents of crime occurred on school property.

And so we’re left to wonder exactly why Tures feels safer after a campus carry bill was vetoed.  As always, the argument of gun control advocates seems to be that if we put up signs around a piece of property that ban the possession of firearms, no one will get shot, but this sounds more like a Dungeons and Dragons magical circle of protection than a practical social policy.  In the real world, a wacko who wants to murder his professor will bring a gun to the campus and won’t be deterred by a sticker on the door.  The only thing bans on carry do is disarm the targets.  If Tures and his colleague wish to be unarmed, that is their choice.  If they want to wear or not wear body armor, that’s also their choice.  But I’d appreciate the courtesy of being allowed to make my own choices.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the position of

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