The chilling effect of concealed carry law on the Texas classroom

Texas has adopted a law that allows students to bring a handgun to class, or to meetings with professors.

As a response to this policy, the president of the Faculty Senate, Jonathan Snow, gathered a group of faculty and gave a powerpoint presentation that included the slide at the top of the post.

Snow's presentation was not any sort of official university statement, but the slide does a good job of demonstrating the likely effect on faculty student relationships under the conditions where students are more likely to pull out a handgun and plug the professor.

The situation, and the context for this presentation, are written up in this post at the Chronicle of Higher Education. PZ Myers discusses it here. The powerpoint presentation is available here.

A suitable response faculty may consider is here.

More like this

Time to cut Texas lose once again as a state in the union...

(Best to impound all the right-wingers & gun-nuts there, too.)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

Unless the faculty members are sitting in their office when "that student" uses their handgun to "plug the professor", they'd best get a vest that also covers the belly & groin.

Too bad Texas politicians have seen fit to cut back on health care availability in their fiefdom. They may need more trauma centers in the future...

Of course, they'll just tell you that the solution is to have more people carrying loaded guns.

It starts with students carry loaded handguns to class. The teachers respond by packing automatic handguns. The students gain an advantage by bringing Uzis and AK-47s with them.

Teachers respond by mounting M-60's on their desktops. Sales of "machine gun desk mounts" soar. Students include sawed-off shotguns & "Street Sweepers" in their backpacks.

This leads to a new "Scholastic Armaments" department on

Eventually, the teachers begin packing grenade launchers to counter the fragmentation bombs students are showing up with -- Collateral damage be damned! This is Texas!

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

I saw this yesterday and shared it with some of our faculty.
Last year we had a kid get bent way out of shape because an English faculty member dared to fail him - stood in her office doorway the first day of the next semester screaming that he was going to get her if he saw her off campus. Others and security got him fast - I'm sure it would have been fine if he'd had a gun.

Dean, depends on who shoots first; the calibers used; distance to target; whether the collection of shooters used manual load, semis, or fully-automatics; fragmenting vs solid core ammo; vests (if used); drugs used by the student (PCP works wonders to keep you going despite having extremities blown off or being disemboweled by several large-caliber shots/shotgun blasts); etc.

As the NRA counsels us, "It would have been fine if he'd had a gun -- as long as everyone else had guns, too." ("Fine" being defined as "collateral deaths are acceptable in order to preserve our warped, self-serving mis-interpretations of the Second Amendment. You should be proud to have your child die for us.)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

Universities are already censoring speech on campus anyway - so this is nothing new.

Pretty transparent really.

As if the crazy person would have been stopped by a rule against guns on campus anyway - please.


Better take away his fists to.

What a surprise to learn that Rick is willing to lie and imply every college everywhere about colleges censoring free speech.

Wait it isn't a surprise, it's just Rick doing what he always does.

RickA believes that if he gives a toddler a loaded gun and admonished him with a rule not to use it, it's just as safe as if the toddler had no gun at all.

RickA: Pretty transparent, really.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

Ya know that full cover bullet proof suit SWAT wears!??! My 1st day teaching, that is what I would wear! And tell all students that I will continue to unless they relinquish their guns. I would also have 2ea 9mm ready to each hand. Also in the upper corners I would mount auto rifles which are controlled by the sounds of gunshots to aim and fire, just in case they are faster on the draw!!!
Or maybe just phuck texas and leave the state!!!

I was wondering what I would find when I clicked that link. You nailed it Greg.

By Richard Chapman (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

Dear Mr. President Trump (I'm assuming Hillary loses to him as the polls suggest and DWS has guaranteed her the win so... you're probably screwed America) - you know that wall you promised to build to keep out the Mexicans (I know you and your supporters really mean wetbacks but we'll keep up the pretense you don't, for now) How about you move it a bit North and build it all around the borders of Texas where it borders on other more sane states.

By Douglas C Alder (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

... the borders of Texas where it borders on other more sane states.

Um, Doug: Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, ...

WHAT sane states that border Texas???

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

That was comparative sanity Brainstorms, as in there's crazy and then there is batshit crazy - the latter is Texas on a good day :)

By Douglas C Alder (not verified) on 24 Feb 2016 #permalink

I feel dirty for doing this to such a serious subject, but it's required by the laws of nerddom:

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

PS He actually makes good points so the joke isn't that awesome given the context.

By Double Shelix (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

The upside:

The University of Texas at ... has a higher survival rate than any other institution of higher learning in Texas. Our award winning survival skills program ...

By cosmicomics (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

What this is about: a selection regime for campuses.
This will have the direct effect of scaring away liberals from enrolling in those institutions as students, or teaching in them as faculty.

The left wing version would be allowing students and faculty to smoke marijuana in classes, thereby scaring righties away.

If ever there was a time for a huuuge class action lawsuit, this is the time.

Civil rights law includes provisions that "discriminatory effect" is sufficient to demonstrate discrimination, and that "discriminatory intent" need not be proven in court. The present case does not involve a civil rights category (race, religion, gender, etc.), but it meets the test of "effect vs. intent."

If the effect of the law is to create a selection regime that chases liberals away from these schools, and brings an influx of gun-toting right wingers, then that is indistinguishable from it being the intent.

As Utah has had campus concealed carry since 2007 and has had zero incidents involving any licensed concealed carrier, nor any reported chilling effect that I can find, I'm going to chalk this up to hoplophobia, an irrational aversion to weapons.

Enon #18:

Yep - I agree.

Campus police are armed and nobody even really notices.

Each state can permit open carry or not, as they see fit.

Nothing new here - except the fear, which is all out of proportion to the reality.

Perhaps social science can study this and publish an article or two about it. That would be interesting.

In Minnesota, a permit to carry does not allow a person to carry onto a K-12 property.

A college or University campus can ban guns in the buildings, but I believe a person with a permit to carry is allowed to carry a weapon outdoors or in any building which does not post a sign saying "guns are banned on these premises".

So just think, a student could be carrying a gun in their vehicle or outdoors, on campus!

With 50,000 students, at least some are packing.


Campus police are armed and nobody even really notices.

RickA: King of the fallacious argument... Or too stupid to tell the difference between a trained, vetted law enforcement official in a uniform vs. an unknown with a gun in his pocket and a grudge to settle.

And he thinks everyone should be as dim-witted as he is and not see the difference either.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, there were a total of 33,169 deaths related to firearms (excluding firearm deaths due to legal intervention). 1.3% of all deaths in the country were related to firearms. (10.64 per 100,000)

For Japan, 0.06. For South Korea, 0.08. For Singapore, 0.16. For the United Kingdom, 0.23. For Australia, 0.93.

The U.S. has from 10 to 200 times as many gun-related deaths as these other advanced Western countries.


Yes, RickA. That equates to scary. For anyone who places a value on human lives, rather than solely on themselves.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

Brainstorms #21:

Statistically there is just not much difference between an unknown with a gun in their pocket (and a permit to carry) or someone with a knife in their pocket or carrying a baseball bat or what have you.

I am not aware of very many (if any) instances of a person with a permit to carry using their weapon to settle a grudge at the U of M.

Not a big concern to me.

But you are allowed to be concerned and express your opinion and even advocate for different laws.

As long as the law doesn't violate the constitution you might even make some progress.

People with your concerns should start small and try something small and limited.

Try just closing the gun show loophole, in a state like Minnesota. It might pass.

It is the overreaching, and trying to pass laws which are not constitutional that are a problem.

Brainstorms #22:

Pretty sure 22,000 of those were suicides.

I am pretty sure it is already illegal to kill yourself (at least in most states).

So I think you are down to 11,000 which matter.

No law will stop people from committing suicide - nor regulate the manner in which they choose to kill themselves.


rickA, you've demonstrated repeatedly you are incapable of both logical and honest arguments, but in case there is a chance you could change: look for statistics on success rates in suicide between attempts with guns and all others, then try to dismiss them as a risk factor.

dean #25:

What difference does that make as to permit to carry on a campus?

I don't particularly care how people kill themselves or how many attempts it takes.

Whether they drink themselves to death, overdose on drugs, hang themselves, throw themselves off a building or bridge, sleeping pills or shoot themselves with a gun - I have no more respect for their lives than they do.

It does matter what people do to other people - no matter what weapon they use.

Do you disagree?

Enon Zey: As Utah has had campus concealed carry since 2007 and has had zero incidents involving any licensed concealed carrier, nor any reported chilling effect that I can find, I’m going to chalk this up to hoplophobia, an irrational aversion to weapons.

Utah teacher wounded when gun discharges in toilet (12 September 2014)

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

"I don’t particularly care how people kill themselves or how many attempts it takes."
I think that I speak for most readers and writers on this blog when I write that this is one of the most cold, most callous, possibly the most sociopathic statement that I have ever read on this blog. It shows an incredible lack of understanding of psychology or biochemistry. It shows an incredible lack of compassion or empathy. It seems to spring from some deep well of human ignorance, possibly religious, but also maybe just plain psychopathy. You are essentially saying that you just can't be bothered with human feelings of sympathy for people who are in so much pain or confusion that they ready to take their own life. So, then if someone administered, by accident or on purpose, a pain inducing chemical cocktail that made you want to end your own life, you wouldn't want one of us to care about you and maybe try and get you an antidote or a pain killer? Because nasty as the commentary gets here, I'm pretty sure that anyone who

RickA does someone pay you to be loathsome, or what?

That last entry got out before editing. In the hypothetical scenario where RickA accidentally ingested something so horrific and pain inducing that he wanted to take his own life, I am positing that most of the readers here would, despite their loathing of RickA's positions on science and the law, do their best to get him an antidote. They would not let him shoot himself if they could prevent it, even though it appears that RickA wants us to think that he is so heartless that he would apparently not be willing to do the same for another human being and would just let them shoot themself.

RickA, do you wish to clarify your position on suicide? Do you value the life of a mentally or physically suffering human being so little that you don't care if they try to end their life?

I am not paid to be loathsome.

I do have sympathy for people who take their own lives.

I feel sorry for them.

As a libertarian I do believe that a person should have the right to kill themselves, unless they are mentally incapacitated (i.e. could be committed).

In other words, if they are an adult, and of sound mind, who am I to say a person doesn't have the right to end their life? Most people's objections to this are religious in nature and those reasons wouldn't matter to an atheist (I believe Greg is an atheist).

The manner in which someone chooses to kill themselves is not relevant. I do not feel sorrier for someone who takes their own life if they use a handgun, as opposed to sleeping pills (for example). They are dead either way and that is sad - but ultimately their own decision.

But we are not talking about suicide here.

Instead we are talking about guns.

Brainstorms brought up the 33k who died from firearms, and I pointed out that 2/3 of those deaths were self-inflicted.

I am merely differentiating between people who use a gun to kill someone else and people who use a gun to kill themselves.

I happen to think this is incredibly important to this conversation.

If you think that distinction is not relevant to this conversation than I don't think you are being particular rational.

The entire point of the post is about being worried about someone with a gun using it to kill someone else - on campus - not to commit suicide with it (on campus).

Not many people go to a campus to kill themselves (unless it is for death by cop).

I do not have any control over anybody - certainly not their own decision to kill themselves. So while I do feel sorry they decided to take their own lives (as is their fundamental human right) - I certainly do not take any responsibility for their decision. Does this make me a bad person.

I don't think so.

You are entitled to your opinion.

I am entitled to mine.

While we are on the topic of guns in class rooms....Have you ever noticed how the people who commit mass murders and school shootings with guns almost inevitably tend to be gun lovers and typically have a history of having spent a lot of time at target practice? And that makes me wonder what the effect of chronic inhalation of ballistic propellant decomp products from shooting, lead fumes from shooting, loud gun reports from shooting , and the kickback shock from shooting large bore rifles and shotguns has on the brain. Has anyone done any brain scans to see what changes take place in a susceptible ( i.e., live ) brain while just doing target practice? The latest mass shooter (Dalton) seems like he has rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and his neighbors report that he did target practice a lot. A real lot. Somehow, I rather doubt that chronic heavy metal inhalation has a salutary effect on that type of disorder. Just saying, the gun problem may be very much self perpetuating at this point.

Anyway, I think that it is a clear sign of how our land is happily devolving,that there are so many crazy people running around with guns that people fear for their lives on school grounds. That sounds like a significant indication of complete mismanagement of firearms, based on a sacred mythology built around a revered, flawed, but totally amendable rule in the constitution rule book.

SteveP #30:

I guess we cross posted.

I am a big believer in Oregon's assisted suicide law as well as the work of Dr. Death.

If you have terminal cancer (for example) and wish to kill yourself or be prescribed a lethal dose of morphine, I believe that is your fundamental human right.

I would not let a minor kill themselves or a person who was not of sound mind (mentally incapacitated).

I also believe that every person has the right to treat themselves to any medical treatment they want, given informed consent.

Again, say you have terminal cancer and there is a treatment which is not approved by the FDA yet. You want into a clinical trial but don't meet their criteria. If you provide informed consent and are willing to pay the retail cost of the drug, it is my opinion that you should have the right to treat yourself.

Why should you have to fly to another country to treat yourself, why not stay at home and treat yourself, if you are aware of the risks and choose to take them yourself?

Whether you choose to take hemlock, morphine or shot yourself with a gun - that is not for me to say.

We are all adults and get to make these decisions ourselves.

I also happen to believe that drugs should be legalized for adults. I do not choose to take drugs (other than alcohol) - but plenty of adults do choose to take them. Why should it be illegal? As long as they don't drive under the influence I believe adults have the right to ingest anything they want.

I also believe that prostitution, by choice, by an adult, should be legal as well.

In fact, all victim-less crimes should be decriminalized (in my opinion).

What a waste of money to put people in jail for such things.

I hope this clarifies my position on both suicide and end-of-life care, as well as other libertarian items, such as drug laws, prostitution (the oldest profession).

As long as what you choose to do doesn't hurt another (without their consent), I don't care what you do. Similarly, what I choose to do, as long as I do not hurt anybody else, is none of your business (in my opinion).

RickA tells us that "there is just not much difference between an unknown [18-year-old with a bad temper] with a gun ..., one with a knife .., or carrying a baseball bat or what have you." So if he had his druthers about which one of the three he would prefer to be confronted with, he doesn't care -- they're all the same to him.

I guess when RickA tries to run away, he thinks the knife-bearer not only knows how to throw a knife, but can do so with deadly accuracy (with a target that's moving unpredictably) -- with one and only one chance.

And RickA similarly thinks that the man with the bat can throw his bat (once) with equal, deadly accuracy.

And that both the knife-thrower and the bat-thrower have an equal chance with the experienced shooter (who visits the shooting ranges for practice that SteveP so observantly points out) who has 6, 7, 9, or 14 shots to take with a weapon that is designed explicitly to be deadly at a distance.

RickA, your logic is as bankrupt as your morals...

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

SteveP #32:

Kind of like football or hockey than.

You said "but totally amendable rule in the constitution rule book."

I agree 100%.

If you and enough people like you want to change the 2nd amendment - you can amend it. The constitution allows itself to be amended and sets forth a procedure to do it.

It has been done 27 times.

Absent a constitutional amendment, guns are legal in the United States and that is that.

I have no idea if shooting guns is dangerous in the manner you postulate.

But we know smoking is dangerous and that is still (barely) legal. Drinking is dangerous and that is legal. Driving a motorcycle is dangerous and that is legal. Many activities are legal because in the United States, adults get to make their own decisions - and that is the way it should be.

It is also true that smokers pay more for insurance - and that makes a great deal of sense also.

I look forward to the studies you propose to see if target practice is dangerous to a persons brain (organically I mean).

"As a libertarian"

There's your problem - you are from the "I got mine so screw everyone else" branch aren't you? (Despite the fact that you made ample use of everything society had in terms of support to get where you are, you don't want others do to the same.) SteveP's description at 29 was spot on (as anyone who has paid attention to your drivel already knew).

Brainstorms #34:

All I am saying is that if a person has a grudge, they are dangerous whether they come at you with a gun, a knife, a bat or even just their fists.

It is the grudge which makes them dangerous - not the permit to carry or even their weapon (if they carry).

But perhaps you cannot grasp that fact. And that is ok.

If given a choice, if someone comes at me with a bat I would certainly want to be armed with a gun.

If someone comes at you with intent to cause you grievous bodily injury or death, what would you choose to be armed with?

If you say nothing - well that is your decision and I respect it.

You should respect my decision.

dean #36:

I got mine so screw everyone else is not a libertarian view.

You can do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt somebody else.

I can do whatever I want as long as I don't hurt somebody else.

What is your position on suicide - are you against it?

What about Dr. assisted suicide for the terminally ill - are you against it?

Should you be able to choose to whether you imbibe alcohol? Or should someone else get to make that decision for you?

What about marijuana? Should an adult be able to smoke a joint?

What about prostitution? Should an adult be able to sell sex for money?

These are libertarian issues.

I am truly interested in your views on these issues.

Please respond.

Greg Laden:

What are the differences between the position of an atheist and a libertarian. I am a social catholic so not really sure what the positions of an atheist are.

I would imagine an atheist would be against all blue laws (for example). Blue laws, in case you don't know, are laws which were based on religion when they were passed.

Like you cannot by liquor on Sunday - that sort of law.

Many of the issues I raised in my previous posts started out as blue law religious issues - which is why I ask.

Just curious.


Would you feel the same as your list of suggestions if you knew your student was a black belt?

What about if they were carrying a pocket knife?

What about if they used a cane (which can be a club).

What if they carry a staff?

Is it just a handgun which would change your behavior as suggested?

What if every student in your class dressed like a motorcycle gang member?

Just curious.

RickA - there's a difference between classical libertarians and what we see today as self-described libertarians. Today the typical libertarian is a Tea Partier, ant-tax, anti-regulation, or Grover Norquist-like small government fanatic.

But let's take the issue of guns: the 2nd Amendment in an *originalist* (i.e., conservative) interpretation cannot mean the right to guns is unlimited, but that's what the NRA and those libertarians that fixate on the issue would have you believe. The founders actually had versions of the 2nd Amendment before them that specifically mentioned self-defense and/or hunting as rationales. Guess what? They voted those versions of the 2nd Amendment down. No, the rationale they gave is clear - and it's not to give you or me or anyone else the right to defend ourselves with a 9mm Glock or kill quadrupeds while pretending to be Rambo.

Lest us not forget the militia clause. Of what utility is a a small handgun in a military sense? Virtually none. A 30-06? Not a heck of a lot more. If we were truly interested in having a strong militia we'd be allowing fully auto machine guns, anti-tank weapons, shoulder launched surface-to-air missiles, etc. No, not allowing - *requiring* -that our citizenry arm themselves with *military* weapons.

Our huge standing military is in direct contradiction of what the founding fathers wanted. It removes the need for a militia. It removes the entire rationale for the 2nd Amendment. Frankly, most of them would be aghast.

BTW - killing someone with your fists, or a bat, or a knife is not that easy. It's surprisingly hard. Most people simply don't have the stomach for it. A gun makes even cowards into potential killers.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

RickA - atheism as a personal philosophy says nothing about a person's internal moral system. It can be more restrictive than a theologically-inspired or dogmatic moral code or less-restrictive.

This isn't even accounting for gross hypocrisy. Take for instance the USA's self-professed Christians: how many of them actually try to live by the teachings of Jesus? The GOP is the religious (i.e., Christian) political party, but if there's a single phrase in the Sermon on the Mount that they actually believe, much less live by, you'll have to point it out to me cuz I can't see it.

Similarly, "Whatsover you do unto the least of my brethren, that you do unto me." is apparently some communist cant that has no place in true believers hearts.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

Kevin #41:

Well, the Supreme Court disagrees with you (at least up until now).

They incorporated the 2nd amendment and held the right is a personal right.

Arms has always covered pistols, as well as long guns, swords, dirks, morning stars, etc. It covers any weapon a person carries.

You are right - it probably doesn't cover cannon or artillery.

The Miller case held arms means whatever a normal soldier would be issued - and because a sawed off shotgun was not normal issue, it was ok to ban sawed off shotguns.

That may no longer be true today.

I am sure the founding fathers would be aghast at the way many of the first 10 amendments have been construed. They would be appalled that the death penalty was held cruel and unusual for a period of time - especially when the constitution defines treason as a capital crime. They would find Miranda rights very odd. I am pretty sure they would be surprised that every home owner didn't have at least a rifle.

But the supreme court is up in the air now and who knows what will happen in the future. Your interpretation could very well be adopted. Time will tell.

RickA - one final thought on libertarianism, this time the big 'L' Libertarians. They believe in the philopsophy that government should only exist to enforce property rights. But property rights only exist if there is a government.

That is, without government you own property only until someone bigger and stronger takes it from you. So who owns property? No one. Governments provide a fig-leaf that you own property, thus disenfranchising all others from the use or benefits of it.

Let's give all the land back to the original inhabitants of the continent *then* start enforcing property rights. How does *that* work for the average Libertarian? Not very well I expect.

Libertarians don't want property confiscated by force, but their entire wealth relies upon the 'original sin' of confiscating property from the original inhabitants by force. Any belief in 'property rights' as it pertains to land is a similar logical charade. Libertarians have built an entire movement based on a logical dead-end.

Their is a term for this - 'moronic' works for me.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

"The Miller case held arms means whatever a normal soldier would be issued –"

Er, is that because the entire amendment is predicated on armed men being a requirement of a "a well-regulated militia"?

By Craig Thomas (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

In view of the fact that there has just been another mass shooting incident today, this one in Hesston Kansas, with 6 dead and 20 injured, I would like to humbly suggest that we igore RickA from here on out.

Don't feed the trolls.

Enough is enough.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

"Someone with access to firearms is three times more likely to commit suicide and nearly twice as likely to be the victim of a homicide as someone who does not have access, according to a comprehensive review of the scientific literature conducted by researchers at UC San Francisco."…

I'm a strong advocate of people like RickA (would that be pseudonymous for Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan?) and other libertarians, Tea Partiers, and other right wingers arming themselves, their families, and political friends to the teeth.

By Brian Dodge (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

Brainstorems said: "The U.S. has from 10 to 200 times as many gun-related deaths as these other advanced Western countries."

Isn't that what guns are made for? What would happen if the American people stopped using loving them so?

By Rolf Aalberg (not verified) on 25 Feb 2016 #permalink

Well stevep #29...I'm one of those callus aholes too.
If you want to kill yourself...go for it!!!! And I like the ones who use a gun to the brain. It is mostly a complete job. And hopefully they find the answers on the other side.
The whinny moroons who sorta, almost, kinda try suicide, I do not care about, they are so pathetic they can't even do that right!
So suicide is one of the few good uses for a gun!!!
As my creator says...Hurting others (with a gun or otherwise) is the only sin, hurting yourself is not a sin, it is just plain stupid....R.H.

Another day in America, another mass shooting. This time it appears that it was an angry factory worker who, surprise, surprise, posted videos of himself shooting an AK-47 for fun in a cornfield. More lead exposure. More anger reinforcement with loud, exciting devices. More irrational behavior. There used to be an expression, “Mad as a hatter”, which apparently came about because hat makers preserved their raw materials with mercury compounds, and ended up ingesting brain addling amounts of that heavy metal. I think that this expression should be amended for modern America to be “Mad as a shooter” or “Mad as a gun lover”. BTW, do you think that the incredibly high rate of suicide among war veterans has anything to do with their exposure to, not only the trauma of war and maladjustment to non-combat life, but also to their inevitable exposure to lead in training, weapons maintenance, and combat activities? Or think of how totally maladjusted Ted Nugent looks these days. He was a championship skeet shooter and is an avid hunter and shooter. Not much lead ingestion there, is there? He says he never took illegal drugs, you know. Just a thought.

So, imagine having a student like Ted Nugent able to carry a firearm into lab. Would that be exciting or what?

Other famous shooters. Antonin Scalia. Dick Cheney. Clint Eastwood. Ronald Reagan.

To L. Long. A thought experiment, if you are up to it. Suppose that it can be shown that any person can be chemically induced to commit suicide against their will. It is an experiment that we won't want to try except in thought, but suppose that it can be shown that there are definitely chemical cocktails that can induce an otherwise healthy person to decide to commit suicide. Would not allowing a person who has been given such a cocktail to have access to a loaded, functioning gun be tantamount to murder? If you can accept that let us proceed. Otherwise, I would like to tell you to go to hell , but I won't do that just yet. Now, suppose that another human being is put in a position where they have served their country faithfully, executed their job with valor, gone to Iraq, seen innocent men women and children blown to bits, seen their best buddies blown to bits, come home, find that their skill set is not in demand, find that they can't sleep at night for nightmares, find that they can't get adequate counseling, lose their home, lose their family, and decide to end their life with a gun. Do you have no compassion for a person in that position? If you are still callous about suicide at this point, again, I want to tell you to go to hell for your stubborn ignorance, but I won't. So let us try another situation. You, L. Long, are put in a position where, through no fault of your own, through a situation where fatigue, toxins, stress, disease, just damn bad luck makes you dazed and confused, and makes you want to take your own life. I would stop you from doing so , given the chance. The same way I would save a drowning child. Humans, good, decent humans, don't think twice about saving other humans in danger. Arbitrarily deciding that people who are suicidal are not worth saving is not merely callous. It is really ignorant and unimaginative. The will to live can be broken, and with a gun, only a momentary break is necessary to result in death.

Oh, and another thing, L. Long. Blowing your brains out with a firearm is a very messy way to end ones life, and is very thoughtless to the people who have to clean up the mess you make. Also, a lot of attempted gun suicides end up being unsuccessful, with a partially functional human being left afterwards with huge medical bills for the rest of us to foot.

Oh and another thing. Suicide attempts are very often a confused plea for help. Are you against helping people who are in pain and danger and can't figure out how to cope?

Have a nice day.

Stevep #51....Thought experiment...more BS!
Was the 'drink' forced on them? Yes then its murder!
Did they take it without full knowledge...Then I still say murder and the victim is an idiot.
Did they take the drink freely? Yes? Too stated hurting one self is just plain stupid!!!
The solder bit, I have faced and solved, I joined to the air force so that the political wanna bes can go do the dirty work. And I refused to go to Vietnam as it was an illegal war as is the one in the mideast!!! I refuse to go shoot other people because some other ahole prez said gawd spoke to him and started this mess.
If I went thru all that as you describe then I lived my life pretty pathetically and please don't cause further harm by stopping me! I don't need nor want your interference and most others probably don't want it either.
And I'm sorry you can't clean up some dead meat product from the wall, you should have lived on a cattle farm for a while.

Oy here we go again... Anyone who suggests that people should blow their brains out is also a troll and should be ignored.

And I say that as someone who has some family members & close friends who are lawful owners of firearms, some of whom have hunted to put food on their tables during hard times.

There is an article in Mother Jones magazine about mass shootings, with research that shows unequivocally that these incidents are becoming increasingly more frequent. I don't recall if the author is seeking peer-reviewed publication, but the methodology appears sound.

We should also scrutinize the impact of the media here, for example TV, movies, video games. Notice that Hollywood has started removing depictions of smoking from films, on the basis of not encouraging people to smoke. If exposure to smoking in films encourages people to smoke, then it also stands to reason that exposure to murder, mutilation, and mayhem in films will predictably encourage some quantity of people to do those things as well. On which basis I say it's time to dial down (way way down) the level of violence in the mass media. Enough is enough.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 26 Feb 2016 #permalink

For a comment further up (to Brainstorms) I want to debunk a small myth: PCP doesn't make you superman. It makes you incoherent and kind of groggy.

The legends about PCP and people walking around with superpowers are not unlike those told of black people who used marijuana back in the day. PCP is an anaesthetic. So yeah, you'll feel less pain. But if you can stand up when you are on it and figure out how to tie your shoes, or even which way is up, I would be impressed.

Anyhow, more than that. RickA's stuff is pretty typical of people who think folks should carry weapons. Let me add something as a person who actually has trained people in the use of (some) said hand to hand weapons: there is a very large difference between a ranged weapon (say a gun) and a hand weapon.

If you are carrying a knife, you have to get very close to someone. You have to get up close and personal. In a knife fight you will get cut. Knife fighting technique is all about minimizing the damage.

Anyhow, with any hand weapon if you're going to kill someone you have to commit. Trained soldiers don't even do that so often -- most people aren't sociopaths and don't want to kill out of hand. If you're just pissed off at someone you're just not in a position to kill them unless you are really going for it, and people you don't know are not likely to be like that. There's a reason murder happens between people who know each other more often than anything else (this is why serial killers are hard to catch - there is often no connection to the victim).

So if you run from a hand weapon-holder, or choose to engage, your chances are a lot better than if they have a gun. Because with a gun you can casually kill; it takes no skill or even much thought. A knife wielder has to walk right up to the person he wants to injure, That gives a lot of time to think.

A gun-wielder just fires. It's a lot easier to dissociate oneself from the act of killing, to say nothing of people not being faster than bullets if they run. (Knives are pretty ineffective when thrown, contra Hollywood).

A hand-weapon can also only kill one person at a time. And it takes a while. Only in the movies do people go down instantly when they get hit or stabbed.

Sure, people could be murdered with knives. Or baseball bats. But ranged weapons change the game. Hand weapons all require a modicum of training to use effectively or well. Even a club requires a sense of balance.

Guns require rather less. And more importantly they can go off accidentally. I can't accidentally smack someone with a club. Or stab them.

Army bases prohibit guns generally from anywhere but the firing range or specific training areas. Why? Because people there know that a) accidents happen and b) the MPs and guards are there for a reason and c) a lot of 18-22 year olds with firearms is a bad idea without strict discipline.

Dealing death becomes easy with a firearm. And Red Dawn and Dirty Harry fantasies aside, there isn't much call to have one around,to protect yourself, unless you live in Somalia, Iraq, or Syria. When it's easy to kill, you're more likely to do it.

Another thing: remember what I said about most people not being sociopaths? This is why protecting yourself with a gun against an attacker is harder than it sounds. Soldiers' basic training is really all about following orders. Including orders to kill people. Absent that kind of training (or a serious deficit in empathy) shooting a person when you're not angry or irrational is hard to do close up. That is, a criminal who is really bent on killing you is less likely to hesitate. Are you willing to get some other person's blood all over you? To watch their head explode out the back? To cold-bloodedly kill? This is a situation that favors the aggressor.

All these are good reasons to keep guns off a college campus, where alcohol flows and the population is skewed to those who are known to make rather poor decisions.

Kevin O'Neill (#41): But let’s take the issue of guns: the 2nd Amendment in an *originalist* (i.e., conservative) interpretation cannot mean the right to guns is unlimited, but that’s what the NRA and those libertarians that fixate on the issue would have you believe. The founders actually had versions of the 2nd Amendment before them that specifically mentioned self-defense and/or hunting as rationales. Guess what? They voted those versions of the 2nd Amendment down. No, the rationale they gave is clear – and it’s not to give you or me or anyone else the right to defend ourselves with a 9mm Glock or kill quadrupeds while pretending to be Rambo.

I agree with your interpretation. But let's imagine that the founding fathers could look into our time and learn of the many mass shootings we've endured. Would they not be horrified by the very fact that one man with a hand weapon could mow down a whole roomful of people in a few seconds? Back in their time, a man with a rifle would have a muzzle-loader; he could fire one shot and then would have to reload — a process taking several seconds, during which time he could be subdued by the others in the room.* A man with a pistol could fire two shots before having to reload.

I strongly suspect that, had they been given this trans-temporal insight, the founding fathers would have made the wording of their second amendment even more explicit.

* The Ferguson Rifle was the first breech-loader of the weapons used in the Revolutionary War. Its rate of fire was faster than that of a muzzle-loader (6 to 10 rounds per minute in expert hands), but it was expensive and unreliable.

By Christopher Winter (not verified) on 26 Feb 2016 #permalink

Jesse #54:

A very good comment.

I agree with everything you say.

However, given that several states do allow conceal carry on campus, if a person were carrying, do you really think Greg's advice is necessary?

Avoid sensitive subjects?

Why? Are people who carry more likely to just haul off and punch you or shoot you if you bring up a sensitive subject?

If anything, I think it goes the other way.

Just one persons opinion.

Mind reading across time is a pretty tricky business.

You could be right.

However, I think that given that they had just finished revolting against the British, who had a nasty habit of taking away peoples guns, that they would not have made the amendment more explicit.

There were no grocery stores in 1776 - no supermarkets.

Most people had to hunt for some food.

Every state had a militia law, and they all required the men to show up with a long gun and a certain amount of ammo. Why? Because they assumed everybody had a long gun, so it was BYOG.

The whole militia angle assumes that every single able bodied man in the country had a rifle.

But that reading of the amendment was rejected in Heller.

So the 2nd amendment is a personal right, just like the free speech right, the right against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to counsel, and so forth.

I suspect that we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg on courts interpreting the "bear" portion of the amendment.

Most of the cases have been about the "keep" portion.

We will see.

RickA - the problem is that with concealed carry it's even worse -- you never know who in the class is a nutjob. Absent allowing firearms, the odds of having to deal with an armed nutjob drop relative to what you'd have if people are just allowed to bring guns everywhere.

College classes can make people uncomfortable. And you never know when you're going to have some kid who just gets mad. This is why I don't really think anyone should be carrying. There are lots of situations where with no gun people just haul off and punch each other, but with a gun present someone shoots. It's physically easier, after all. So yes, people carrying guns are not more likely to do violence in themselves but the consequences of that violence will be worse. To put it another way: I might have a population where every person has a 10 percent chance of getting violent enough to attack another person because they heard something they don't like. But if everyone has a gun the odds of the violence being lethal are increased exponentially, unless you assume that all the gun-carriers have Zen master-like self-control.

So even if you assume that gun-carriers are no more likely to get violent, you still have the problem of the effects of that violence.

After all, New Yorkers are no more less or more likely to drive when drunk. But since in Manhattan few people drive in the first place, the number of drunk driving deaths is small relative to the population. In Queens it's larger, because more people have cars there. Nobody is saying that the 718 area code magically makes you a lush.

You're also sort of assuming you could spot the ones who are going to go postal ahead of time. You can't, not often. If you keep the campuses gun-free the guy who wants to go postal (and it's almost always a guy) might scream and yell and say f-ed up stuff but he can't do much damage and you can get him help. Put a gun anywhere they can get it and the result will be bad. The decision to do violence on anyone is never usually well thought out unless you are Ted Bundy León the assassin or El Chapo.

With guns in a classroom the professor now has to not only worry about whether some kid gets upset and wants to call him or her a devil or whatever, but now there's a mandate that the person can be armed in a way that poses a danger to every other person in the room.

Jesse: Well-written explanations.

Synopsis for RickA: You possess poor judgment on this subject.

(Stop laughing, everyone. Okay, "RickA, you've exhibited poor judgment on every topic discussed on this blog site...")

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 26 Feb 2016 #permalink

Well, than I recommend avoiding teaching in Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, Texas and Wisconsin.

The issue isn't that carrying makes every individual more dangerous, the issue is that people who think they need to carry because of the widespread issue of crime, and who believe in the myth that assaults by strangers with guns are easily defended with one's own gun are so detached from reality that they have a small distance to travel to become the danger.
People like our resident loonatarian troll who assert every angry student (or person in a meeting, etc) is as dangerous as every other one, whether armed or not, are simply unwilling (or, more likely, unable) to think about things in an rational manner.

Synopsis for RickA: You possess poor judgment on this subject.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 26 Feb 2016 #permalink

They're coming fast & furious these days:

"Five people were dead, including a suspected gunman, following a shooting and standoff with police at a home in Washington state on Friday, Mason County authorities said.

"Mason County Sheriff Deputy Chief Ryan Spurling said that a man called law enforcement on Friday morning and reported that he shot two children, a woman and another person. Then the suspect apparently came outside the home and shot himself.

"The county sheriff's office confirmed in a Twitter posting that four victims and a suspect were dead."

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 26 Feb 2016 #permalink

This thread has really been sidetracked into a discussion of libertarianism and gun rights in general. I'd like to take it back to a statement in the original post:

". . . the slide does a good job of demonstrating the likely effect on faculty student relationships under the conditions where students are more likely to pull out a handgun and plug the professor."

Does the available data support this? Is this in fact likely? We now have experience with campus concealed carry in Utah since 2007 and in seven other states more recently. Can anybody point me to any incident where a concealed carry licensee on campus got upset about a grade or classroom discussion and pulled out a gun and "plugged" a professor (notice the Wild West rhetoric)? Or any report of an actual chilling effect because of fear a student might have a gun?

Or is this an excellent example of hoplophobia, an irrational aversion to weapons?

Christopher Winter (#27) points us to a news report with the headline, "Utah teacher wounded when gun discharges in toilet".

This was about a primary school teacher, not anything happening on a university campus, and involved a teacher who apparently shot a toilet, not a student plugging or threatening to plug a professor.

One of the reasons the late Jeff Cooper coined the term 'hoplophobia' was his observation that some people suffer under the delusion that weapons have a mind of their own. The news report that Mr. Winter refers us to shows this mindset; the firearm just discharged. Well, firearms don't just discharge. Something or someone has to pull the trigger. My guess is that this primary school teacher got her handgun tangled in her clothes when removing the gun in order to use the toilet.

My assertion is that the Powerpoint slide is a perfect example of hoplophobia and that none of the "likely effects" are in fact likely.

It's a truism that politicians use fear to rouse support. My observation is that both left and right do this, just different fears.

@Enon-- it isn't that weapons have a mind of their own. It's that there's a massive Dunning-Kreuger effect when it comes to their use. Especially with firearms.

My own observation is that few people will tell me I am wrong when I tell them that to use a sword, sai, staff or knife properly they need training. A lot of it. And this is with weapons that you really can't accidentally use to hurt anyone, except maybe yourself.

With guns? All of a sudden everyone thinks they are Dirty Harry or Annie Oakley. I suspect it's because on TV nobody ever sees the training that soldiers go through in the actual use of a firearm (in this case a standardized one) that often. Nobody sees all the times Private Smith nearly blew his hand off because he tried to force a round into a chamber or Corporal Jones f-ed up reassembly and suffered permanent eye damage. Or when PFC Brown accidentally fired his rifle because he wasn't watching the safety and nearly killed the guy on the other side of the field. This happens rather a lot more than we'd like (though the military, precisely because they train rather strictly, keeps it to a minimum).

Anyhow, point is, what you're asking for is data that hasn't been gathered yet (and in fat the CDC is now prohibited from doing so) but it is a fact (as cited by a couple of people on PZ's thread) that in many states that allow for carrying of firearms (and there's a neat Vox video that shows this graph as well) even if the rate of violence stays the same, the lethality goes up.

One can look at this cross-nationally too -- you're more likely to be burglarized in the Netherlands than in the US, but a LOT fewer people die in homicides and assaults. So crime in itself isn't the issue; there's the type of crime and in the US we seem to have a thing for doing shit that gets people shot in situations where absent a gun, you might have an assault.

More to your point, we've had several cases of mass shootings on campuses. In almost all of those carrying a gun in the surrounding area was quite legal and normal. So clearly we have a problem.

You're asking for a very specific set of circumstances -- evidence that someone got mad at a specific professor and shot them. The issue is that even if that hasn't happened yet allowing people to carry guns into a classroom almost guarantees that it WILL, sooner or later.

Do you honestly think that people who carry guns have more self-control, or are just less fallible than the rest of us? I am not going to bet on that.

No, I don't think weapons have a mind of their own. Cars don't have a mind of their own either, but we don't let people drive when they get drunk. Guns on a college campus is like giving out car keys at the door of a bar. (Especially given the college student penchant for alcohol consumption).

It's not an irrational fear of weapons to not allow firearms on an airplane, where an accidental discharge could literally kill everyone on board. (What do you think happens when a bullet goes through the wall of an airliner at 30,000 feet?) I don't think it's particularly irrational to worry that in a population of people who are skewed to bad decision making (teenagers and young adults) that allowing them to carry weapons that can kill at distance and multiple times is a bad idea.

I don't let anyone touch a weapon in my classes until they have shown me a level of discipline that satisfies me that they aren't going to be stupid about it. We can't apply that on a college campus. Sorry, we can't have nice things.

... the late Jeff Cooper coined the term ‘hoplophobia’ ...

I wish to coin the term "Hoplophilia" (assuming it hasn't been already):

The irrational love of or frequent desire to be armed with deadly weapons, especially due to an irrational, unsubstantiated belief that such weapons (esp. guns) covey safety and invulnerability, often coupled with excessive, compulsive feelings of physical insecurity bordering on sociopathic paranoia.

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 27 Feb 2016 #permalink

"...we don’t let people drive when they get drunk..."

And at a certain point (when you get old, clumsy and befuddled) hopefully somebody will take the keys away... You have to wonder how many of these gun fanatics are old coots with sundowners.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 27 Feb 2016 #permalink

@Jesse #65

You wrote, "Anyhow, point is, what you’re asking for is data that hasn’t been gathered yet (and in fat the CDC is now prohibited from doing so). . ."

This is false. Congress prohibited the CDC from publishing research that advocated or promoted gun control. They were never prohibited from gathering and publishing data. How else would I know that there were 11,208 firearm homicides in this country in 2013?

Unfortunately, you can't pull out shootings on college campuses from the CDC data and there doesn't appear to any centralized collection of this data. However, there are any number of news stories quoting university spokespersons or heads of security saying over and over, nope - no incidents with concealed carry on our campus. This is typical:…

I did a lot of searching. The most I could come up with was a student dropping a handgun in a library and a few incidents where students exposed their concealed weapons and were questioned by campus police to make sure they had permits.

@Jesse #65

You wrote: "The issue is that even if that hasn’t happened yet allowing people to carry guns into a classroom almost guarantees that it WILL, sooner or later."

It's impossible to argue that sooner or later some angry student won't plug a professor in class. However, it's highly unlikely for these reasons:

1. We now have about twenty years cumulative data concerning campus concealed carry in a variety of states. As far as I have been able to determine, there have been zero incidents of students carrying legally concealed weapons plugging their professors or fellow students in anger. There have been a small number of incidents where students shot professors or professors shot other professors, none of which involved legally concealed firearms.

2. Most jurisdictions only issue concealed carry permits to those 21 years old, automatically excluding the most emotionally immature students.

3. Concealed carry permittees are among the most law-abiding citizens around, committing crimes at a lower rate than even the police.

I do not think that the extremely rare hypothetical existence of a possible future shooting is sufficient to deny concealed carry to students. And it certainly doesn't justify the paranoia evident in the Powerpoint slide that is the subject of this post.

@Brainstorms #66

"Hoplophilia" I like that, that's a keeper.

Although I am sure there are gun owners who are psychopathic and paranoid, your description does not fit any of the gun owners I know any more than the descriptions of liberals I read at Free Republic fit any of the liberals I've met. You just Othering.

I know; I made my point, though. The question that's begged by all this is, "Why do these concealed carry permitees need to carry a deadly weapon to class?" What is their purpose? What is their justification? How is their lives made better by having a handgun within close reach at all times while on campus? How would their lives be diminished if they did not carry their guns with them?

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 27 Feb 2016 #permalink

@Brainstorms #69

"How would their lives be diminished if they did not carry their guns with them?"

Have you every been mugged? Had somebody stick a knife in you?

If you give up your gun you give up the right of self-defense with potentially lethal force when necessary and justified. When faced with a threat of great bodily injury or death you can only be a victim, reduced to cowering in place or fleeing, and dependent on agents of the state for your protection. Agents who are actually under no legal obligation to protect you, who may or may not be competent, and who may or may not arrive in time.

Have you every been mugged? Had somebody stick a knife in you?

No, and no. Some people would use that observation to say, "Then you don't need to carry a gun." But I'm not saying that...

You're now charged with citing published statistics of those who were mugged or attacked by someone with a knife that were able to successfully defend themselves with a gun, without injury to themselves, without "collateral damage", and contrast those numbers with cases where "things didn't end up following the storybook narrative" you espouse. Let's see ratios. I much doubt that the storybook narrative you imply happens much at all; it's certainly not commonplace.

If you give up your gun you give up the right of self-defense with potentially lethal force when necessary and justified. When faced with a threat of great bodily injury or death you can only be a victim, reduced to cowering in place or fleeing, and dependent on agents of the state for your protection.

That's a bunch of talking points of a hoplophiliac. (Fortunately, not of a raving hoplophiliac.) Are you really that insecure? I don't get you as psychopathic, but you're starting to sound somewhat paranoid, with deep-rooted suspicions and distrust of civil authority.

I don't think I want anyone in my society with those kinds of unresolved issues to be carrying loaded guns around. We'll just have another case of Hesston, Kansas or Mason County, Washington... eventually. There ARE statistics that demonstrate that outcome when citizens have easy access to guns.

Thanks again to Jesse for bringing a sensible, sober voice of experience and perspective to this dialogue..

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 28 Feb 2016 #permalink

And tell us, Enon, how many students get mugged or knifed in class in our schools? Numbers, please (per capita, and per school would be helpful here).

And follow up by citing statistics of how many of those muggings and knifings in the classroom were successfully foiled by the victim pulling out a loaded gun and causing their attacker to wilt (or worse -- get shot).

Take your time -- I understand that you may need to do a lot of searching to find any cases... It is a lot easier to find statistics on gun-related homicides, suicides, family disputes that resulted in shootings, and (sadly) children finding loaded guns and shooting their friends/self/family members, isn't it?

(Please don't degenerate into "The solution is to put more guns into more people's hands." I think you're better than that drivel. Don't disappoint!)

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 28 Feb 2016 #permalink

Defensive use of guns by crime victims is a common occurrence, although the exact number remains disputed (Cook and Ludwig, 1996; Kleck, 2001a). Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million (Kleck, 2001a), in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008 (BJS, 2010). On the other hand, some scholars point to a radically lower estimate of only 108,000 annual defensive uses based on the National Crime Victimization Survey (Cook et al., 1997). The variation in these numbers remains a controversy in the field. The estimate of 3 million defensive uses per year is based on an extrapolation from a small number of responses taken from more than 19 national surveys. The former estimate of 108,000 is difficult to interpret because respondents were not asked specifically about defensive gun use.
A different issue is whether defensive uses of guns, however numerous or rare they may be, are effective in preventing injury to the gun-wielding crime victim. Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was “used” by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies (Kleck, 1988; Kleck and DeLone, 1993; Southwick, 2000; Tark and Kleck, 2004). Effectiveness of defensive tactics, however, is likely to vary across types of victims, types of offenders, and circumstances of the crime, so further research is needed both to explore these contingencies and to confirm or discount earlier findings.

This is from Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence, pp 15-16. Published by The National Academies Press and available here:

I should add something I have said before about concealed carry which is why I am generally against allowing people to carry concealed firearms at all. I've said this before in many a forum where guns come up.

First question: why do you need to carry a concealed firearm? So that your opponent does not know it is there. Why would you not want them to know? So that they are not prepared, and you have a better chance of surprising them.

In what defensive situation do you need to surprise anyone? Outside of fielding an army.

If you are hiding a gun, you are taking an aggressor's stance. You want to shoot. Because the scenario you are betting on is having an attacker come to you and you being able to say "Aha! You didn't know I had a gun, did you? BANG!"

Carrying a weapon openly is a deterrent. Carrying one concealed means you hope to trick the aggressor into being stupid. At a fundamental level, you want to shoot.

This scenario is played out in movies and comic books all the time. Problem is, it's fiction.

There is a reason policemen carry weapons openly and wear uniforms.

I should add the usual rejoinder is that carrying concealed weapons keep more people safe, as potential aggressors do not know who has a gun. See above about policemen. Why do we not have every cop undercover? You would never know if there was a cop around so crime would disappear, right? Um, no.

And think of the reverse. I am teaching a class. Some percentage of students may be carrying a firearm. How do I know which one is or isn't the gamergater who was throwing rape and death threats at Brianna Wu? Or maybe (if I am a woman especially) at me? Ask any professor and there's a story about "that student" who you knew was a bit off. Some have even had death threats. There is no reason to believe that a 21-year-old who gets a gun is any more likely to be violent but there's no reason to believe that they are any less violent either. Even if we assume that concealed-carry holders are only half as crime-prone as the general population, that's a lot of room out there for something pretty awful. And Yes, Zey, professors HAVE gotten death and rape threats. In that situation nobody in the vicinity should be allowed a firearm.

I find it interesting that the gun-totin crowd never seems to have a problem with restrictions on the kind of weapon that is less likely to cause damage to massive numbers of people. In many states where I can get a gun relatively easily I can be arrested on the spot for carrying a sai, which at best I could injure one person who happened to be very, very close to me. A pair of nunchaku has a range of about two feet from your arm length. (And using them on another person without knocking yourself silly is not an easy task). Carrying a sword is basically illegal in many jurisdictions which have limits on knife length -- a weapon that also is very, very limited (and in the case of a sword is a bit hard to conceal).

But no, some legislators think it's very important that people carry concealed weapons in a place full of drunk students. Enon, I ask you, even if concealed carry holders are more law-abiding, are you going to tell me that the class of 21-year-old on a college campus is somehow less likely to drink on a Saturday? Imagine the frat quad on a party weekend with some percentage of people carrying a gun. There are many, many, many incidents of people using guns in situations where alcohol was involved. I met several people like that in Attica prison (no, I wasn't an inmate, I was writing about people in there). To a man the whole group I met said they wouldn't be there if they had taken a second to think and/or weren't drinking. More than one had access to a firearm + booze. You're trying to tell me on a college campus that somehow, none of this would occur. Among a population known for alcohol abuse at high rates, and even at 21 or 22 for making stupid decisions.

Enon, what is a "gun-totin" person, armed with his concealed carry, going to do when an assailant, armed with any one of the easily-obtained handguns that America is awash in, is surprised and confronted with one of these guns suddenly being pointed at himself?

Go ahead and tell that he's going to valiantly reach in, (not fumble), pull out his own weapon, release the safety, cock, and discharge his weapon all before his assailant, gun cocked & pointed, can "plug" our self-style "instant karma vigilante"...

Now be realistic and tell us who's going to win that match before any Dirty Harry daydreams are realized and before the fireworks even start.

I believe you already answered this (unintentionally): great bodily injury or death you can only be a victim, reduced to cowering in place or fleeing.

So we've established that in the case of an attacker with a gun, your being self-armed is actually more a liability than anything that can "save you" or help you. You can't use your gun in that situation, lest you get shot yourself.

And, to paraphrase Clint in one of his famous roles, "Dyin' ain't much of a defence, boy."

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 28 Feb 2016 #permalink

Enon, you asked me earlier, "Have you every been mugged? Had somebody stick a knife in you?"

The answer was "No, and no". But you did not ask me if I've ever had a loaded gun pointed at me with the possibility of me being shot.

I have been on that end of a loaded gun, once before. Have you?

Speaking from first-hand experience of one who is not easily cowed, I would NOT have attempted to draw a concealed carry and tried to "shoot my way out of that situation".

I doubt you would, either. (Or would have lived to write about it.) Your concealed carry is of limited use. Listen to Jesse...

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 28 Feb 2016 #permalink

There is a constant litany of successful defensive gun use in this country which very seldom makes the national news. You have to seek them out on the local level. A very small sampling:

Store clerk shoots knife-wielding robber…

Father defends son and dog against pit bull

Homeowner kills armed home invader…

Permittee kills armed robber…

It's well understood among gun owners that almost all defensive gun use involves displaying or brandishing a gun, not actually shooting. As many of these incidents are never reported and never make the news, much of the information is perforce anecdotal. I personally know a nurse who foiled a carjacking by displaying a handgun.

This one did make the news (I particularly like the fact that the burglar did not pause long enough to ascertain that it was only a BB gun pointed at him; he instead fled):


I actually posted #77 before you posted #75 and #76, but it got stuck in the moderation queue because of the number of links.

So it's entirely coincidental that I included two incidents in which a gun owner successfully fought off an assailant armed with a gun; one was a home intruder and the other an armed robber on the street. So it's certainly possible to do.

I don't fumble with my gun because I practice with it regularly. (Muscle memory is important.) I know semi-auto pistols are all the rage these days, but I belong to that subset of gun owners who prefer the simplicity and reliability of a revolver. I carry a double-action only revolver; no safety to release and nothing to cock. I pull the trigger and it goes bang.

@Brainstorms #71

. . . you’re starting to sound somewhat paranoid, with deep-rooted suspicions and distrust of civil authority.

I happen to live where the police are being reformed, against great resistance, under the supervision of a DOJ monitor. That's because the police here have a long, sad history of being quick on the trigger. If you summon the police here, you stand a strong chance they will escalate rather than de-escalate. They will come and shoot your dog; they will come and shoot your crazy cousin that you were worried would hurt himself. They will come and shoot or tase you. I have had my property searched sans warrant or exigent circumstance and been threatened with violence when I objected. All these things have actually happened. Repeatedly.

So I would say it's entirely rational, not paranoid at all, to have deep-rooted suspicions and distrust of civil authority, considering the history of civil authority here. And I'm not even black or hispanic, which opens a whole 'nother can of worms concerning the civil authorities.

It is interesting to read all the reasons posters think carrying is a bad idea.

And it may be.

However, in America each person gets to make their own decision.

So if you think carrying is a bad idea than you don't have to carry.

If you think carrying is a good idea than you can get a permit and carry.

What you cannot do is decide what another person can do or cannot do.

So a lot of this is just railing at what is and wishful thinking.

To change what is - you have to amend the constitution.

So it doesn't really matter if someone carrying makes you uncomfortable. You have no say in that decision.

@Jesse #74

You bring up an interesting issue: open carry vs. concealed carry.

For many centuries the carrying of a concealed weapon was considered the province of brigands and other criminals; an honest gentleman carried his arms openly. Many of the state level constitutional RKBAs contain clauses specifically stating that the RKBA should not be construed to permit concealed carry. So concealed carry becomes a matter of statutory law, not a constitutional right.

But we live in different times. I can think of a number of reasons not to open carry:

1. Hoplophobes may become agitated and even call the police.
2. Depending on where you live, the police may hassle or try to detain you, even if what you're doing is entirely legal.
3. A criminal may try to take away an openly carried weapon.
4. A criminal may target your home for a break-in, if you advertise the fact you own a firearm by openly carrying it.

"If you are hiding a gun, you are taking an aggressor’s stance. You want to shoot."

No Sir, you are projecting onto me the only reason you can think of for concealed carry. I am taking an entirely defensive stance. I am simply leaving open the option of force if necessary and justified.

I do everything I can to avoid situations where defensive gun use might be necessary. I am opposed to 'stand your ground' laws which fly in the face of centuries of common law tradition that if you can avoid a violent confrontation by fleeing you should.

Being a crime victim made me understand that I was operating in what Jeff Cooper called 'condition white', being oblivious to my immediate environment.

I understand that it is highly unlikely that I will ever need to use my revolver in any way other than at the range. However, it is much more likely that I may need to do so than the chance of my winning the lottery. Bad things do happen to good people.

Something I heard Jeff Cooper say in a training film struck a chord with me (this is a paraphrase):

I wonder how many millions of people have died thinking, 'This must be a dream, this can't be happening to me!'

I don't wander around the city in a constant state of fear. But I do now try to be aware of what's going on around me; if I had done so previously I probably could have preemptively avoided being a victim.

I don't want to shoot anybody. Once I held a junkie who had broken into my home at gunpoint until the police arrived. Since I live in a jurisdiction where a home intruder is prima facie considered a threat, I could have shot him and gotten away with it legally. But he was just some decrepit junkie looking to steal and a cozy place to shoot up. A feather could have knocked him over. So I did not actually feel I was under threat of grave bodily injury or death to justify pulling the trigger.

In the same comment you bring up some other interesting issues concerning edged weapons, and alcohol and guns. I'll get to them when time permits.

"There is a constant litany of successful defensive gun use in this country "

Bullshit. Defensive use of a gun against personal attack is so extremely rare as to be non-significant. Doing a little research and reading the studies will, if you are willing, demonstrate that.

A very brief summary of information can be found here:…

More detailed information is here

From the latter reference: (SDGU = Self Defense Gun Use)

Of over 14,000 incidents in which the victim was present, 127 (0.9%) involved a SDGU. SDGU was more common among males, in rural areas, away from home, against male offenders and against offenders with a gun. After any protective action, 4.2% of victims were injured; after SDGU, 4.1% of victims were injured. In property crimes, 55.9% of victims who took protective action lost property, 38.5 of SDGU victims lost property, and 34.9% of victims who used a weapon other than a gun lost property.

Their conclusion:

Compared to other protective actions, the National Crime Victimization Surveys provide little evidence that SDGU is uniquely beneficial in reducing the likelihood of injury or property loss.

In RickA's most recent post he is tangentially correct (a first for him: I assume exposure to the truth is to him as exposure to sunlight is to a vampire): It is each person's choice about whether to carry. But using the "every day people successfully defend themselves against a crime" line is simply cow poo. It implies that stranger on stranger crime is much more common than it really is, and it flies directly against all the reliable evidence we have about how often some cowboy (or cowgirl) is able to stop a crime. If you want to carry a gun in public be honest about the reason.
and it is quite easy to find more information from reputable sources (if you look at blaze and other slease pits you'll find "studies" that rival the worst the anti-vaccination people put out for their low quality).

@Jesse #74 continued

You wrote, "I find it interesting that the gun-totin crowd never seems to have a problem with restrictions on the kind of weapon that is less likely to cause damage to massive numbers of people. In many states where I can get a gun relatively easily I can be arrested on the spot for carrying a sai, which at best I could injure one person who happened to be very, very close to me."

You are mistaken, sir. Many gun owners are very aware that the RTBA is not the Right to Bear Guns. And that as much as gun control laws are a messy hodgepodge, knife laws are even worse. That's why this organization exists:

Just as many gun control laws have their roots in racism (some early state RKBAs specifically state their limited application to 'free white men') so do many knife laws. Latin culture has long respected knife skills (it's no accident that 'stiletto' is an Italian word) and knife laws in the U.S. Southwest reflect that. Free white men carry revolvers; it's just those dirty Mexicans that carry knives. It's no accident at all that I can get permit to carry a concealed gun, but I can't get a permit to carry a concealed knife.

Interesting study:…

Patricia P. Dahl, Gene Bonham, Jr. & Frances P. Reddington (2016):
Community college faculty: Attitudes toward guns on campus, Community College Journal of
Research and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/10668926.2015.1124813

Interesting excerpt showing slight difference between 4 year and 2 year college attitudes towards firearms on campus:

However, there are some differences found in our study of community college faculty that are
worth noting and may indicate some shifting trends in gun ownership by faculty. Our study found
that slightly more community college faculty owned a firearm, were members of a firearm organization,
and grew up with a firearm in the home than what was reported by faculty at 4-year
institutions. Similarly, fewer community college faculty reported confidence in police being able to
prevent violent crime on their campuses. Lastly, community college faculty reported more of a
concern with becoming a victim of violence on their campus and, in fact, had been a victim of crime
off campus than their 4-year university counterparts (Thompson et al., 2013). While the side-by-side
comparisons were not statistically significant, the differences may be pointing to an increase in both
fear and an interest in purchasing firearms by faculty in community college settings when compared
to the faculty surveyed at 4-year institutions. Additional research in the future may be needed to see
if the slight difference in results between the 4-year and 2-year faculty studies are representative of
changing perceptions among faculty in general or among faculty solely at community college

So it is possible that attitudes are changing.

On the other hand, perhaps all the professors in Texas will quit and move out of state.