Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Monday, February 21, 2011

States Move to Protect Gun Rights on Campus

According to this recent report in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, nine state legislatures are moving toward adopting laws that protect gun carrying students from university anti-gun rules.  From the article:

A proposal this year in Kansas, for example, would require campuses to either maintain a certain level of security, with measures such as metal detectors and armed guards, or to allow guns on their grounds. But legislation in most states would simply bar campuses from banning guns altogether. In most cases, anyone with a valid gun license could carry weapons on campus. The proposal in Florida is part of a larger push to allow people to carry weapons out in the open. The legislation is sponsored by State Sen. Greg Evers, a Republican, who says he filed the bill in response to numerous requests from constituents worried about crime on Florida's college campuses. "I've got children who will be going to college, and I want them to be as safe as possible," Mr. Evers said in an interview.

As far as I know, university campuses are remarkably safe places - at least compared to the rest of America.  In fact, if there is any place where guns would not seem to be required, it would have to be colleges and universities.  At the same time, given the extent of drinking on most campuses, universities host a disproportionate number of people who ought not be packing heat.

This doesn't even take into account how the presence of guns might affect the academic program. Grade inflation could become a matter of public safety - nobody likes to argue with people with guns.   And as I noted in a post on this topic almost three years ago:

The possibility that students might be packing also puts a crimp in certain interesting classroom techniques - such as the famous surprise interloper who makes a dramatic entry (and departure) at the beginning of a criminal procedure class on eyewitness identification. (I've avoided these techniques ever since I discovered several years ago that, notwithstanding campus rules, some students already do carry in class.)

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