Point of View: When considering concealed campus carry, facts matter most

By Cody Orr

In the words of John Adams, “facts are stubborn things.”

Tuesday’s opinion article “Deceptive state campus carry bill opposes university’s mission” is as deceptive as such writings can be.

As students and members of the Baylor community, we need to suppress emotional and unfounded claims when discussing matters as important as concealed carry on campus.

As the author and primary sponsor of the Student Senate bill referred to in the article, I would like to explain the so-called “irrational fear” and remind every reader of the facts.

Our goal is not to put a gun in the hand of every student for preventing school shootings. We want students, staff and faculty who pass extensive tests and screening — including state and federal background checks, a psychiatric test, a 10- to 15- hour class, a 50-question written exam, and 50 live-round test — the ability to protect themselves as they commute to and around campus.

We are not irrationally afraid of crime around campus, as the author appears to be of concealed carry.

We recognize that crime rates are statistically significant, and measures increasing self-defense should be promoted.

The author alludes to Jared Loughner, the man charged in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others, and Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech shooter, and says they “were 100 percent legal handgun owners.”

However, he ignores that both individuals, in committing their crimes, displayed a complete disregard for the law. Whether or not they obtained a handgun legally is immaterial.

The intent to commit a crime is not bound by law. By restricting concealed carry on campus, we only guarantee that those who abide by the law are unarmed when faced against those who do not.

For the record, neither Loughner nor Seung-Hui attained concealed handgun licenses.

The author makes the ungrounded claim that concealed carry on campus will “create a Pandora’s Box of problems” and, “without a doubt, cause even more bloodshed than
it already has.”

What he does not mention are the 71 campuses in the United States currently permitting concealed carry.

These 71 campuses account for 2 percent of nationwide enrollment and have allowed carrying on campus for over 100 semester hours.

Not one has reported any incident of concealed carry-related gun theft, accidental mischarge or gun violence.

To put this statistic into perspective, I found all completed clinical studies of Tylenol from the United States National Institute of Health.

The mean sample is .0001 percent of the population and the total combined samples of all the studies equaled .002 percent of the population.

The mean sample test lasted 12.21 months and total combined sample time equaled 24.42 years.

Concealed carry on campus has been tested in 2 percent of the relevant population for over 33 combined years (assuming each semester is approximately a third of a year).

Almost everyone feels safe taking Tylenol, yet many people are terrified of concealed carry.

In the Student Senate bill, we mentioned multiple statistics and reports, but one in particular needs emphasizing.

A study conducted by University of Chicago law professor John Lott and graduate student David Mustard found that, on average per county, murder rates fell by 8.5 percent, rape rates by 5 percent and aggravated assault rates by 7 percent when legalizing concealed carry. We do not assume that concealed carry was the only factor decreasing crime.

However, we do believe it plays a role. And logically it should.

Criminals are more deterred from attacking individuals who might carry a handgun than from attacking individuals who are guaranteed not to carry. I would like to thank the author for taking a stance and actively joining in the debate.

However, we should not allow ourselves to be convinced by emotional language and a blatant lack of empiricism.

Facts are definitely stubborn things, and we should not ignore them when considering concealed carry.

Cody Orr is a sophomore Business Fellow from Sugar Land and a contributor to the Lariat.