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Concealed Carry on Campus

Nowhere is perfectly safe--give the kids a fighting chance.

12:00 AM, May 5, 2010 • By C.J. CIARAMELLA
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Pelosi said college campuses, with their volatile mix of alcohol, crowded dorms and flaring emotions, are no place for guns. Plus, he said, school shootings were exceedingly uncommon: "These types of instances are so rare, the positives just don't outweigh the negatives."

However, Burnett called that argument "cold comfort" for the victims of college shootings. "Just because the crime rate might be a little lower on campuses doesn't erase the need for self-defense," Burnett said. "If there is one shooting on college campuses a year--just one--the students should have that right to self-defense."

And even if shootings are relatively rare, students have other things to worry about, especially female students. A 2009 study by the Center for Public Integrity reported that up to 20 percent of college women will be sexually assaulted before they graduate. College neighborhoods are also hot spots for burglaries and muggings.

In light of this, a compelling argument can also be made that guns makes campuses more safe. According to campus police statistics culled by SCCC, the number of crimes per year at Colorado State University, where licensed concealed carry has been allowed since 2003, has dropped from a high of more than 800 in 2002 to less than 300 in 2008.

At Colorado University, where handguns are still banned for the moment, Burnett said, crime has only risen.

Law-abiding students with concealed carry licenses are not asking for Wild West shootouts. They're asking for a right they've already been found responsible enough to exercise in public. They're asking--because nowhere is perfectly safe--for at least a fighting chance.

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