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  1. #1
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    other viewpoints

    Guns on campus effective anti-crime policy




    BY DR. CHRISTOPHER A. KIERKUS

    I
    am writing today in support of Sen. Randy Richardville’s pro­posal to remove college class­rooms and dormitories from the list of “pistol free zones” under Michigan law (SB 747, co-spon­sored by Sens. Cropsey, McMa­nus, Patterson, Brown, Jansen and Barcia).More generally, I am writing in support of “concealed carry on campus.”

    I believe that the present regulations, which restrict CPLs (concealed pistol licensees) from carrying in selected parts of col­lege campuses (and in some cases, prohibit campus carry complete­ly), represent misguided policy that only serves to make colleges into crime-friendly environments. These restrictions have no impact on criminals, but they do prevent law abiding citizens from defend­ing themselves against violent attackers. Hence, while the goal of “pistol-free zones” is to create havens where individuals are safe from gun violence, the actual effect is precisely the opposite!

    “Pistol-free zones” represent plac­es where the criminally minded are free to carry out their attacks secure in the knowledge that their victims are unarmed.

    Before I explain why I support the senator’s proposal in detail, I would like to take a moment to set the context for my remarks by telling you a little about myself.

    I am a professor of criminal jus­tice at Grand Valley State Univer­sity in Allendale and while I have been studying crime for most of my adult life, I must admit that I am somewhat surprised to find myself involved in this debate, particularly as a proponent of CPL.

    I grew up in Canada and gener­ally did not give “gun control” much thought until I moved to Michigan. As recently as five years ago, had someone asked me: “Do you support concealed carry as a deterrent to crime?” I prob­ably would have answered “No!”

    My gut feeling, as a person who knew little about firearms, would have been “lots of guns probably mean lots of danger.”

    So what changed? Simple: I took some time to review the best available scholarly research about what works (and what doesn’t) in terms of preventing violent crime. Having done so, I made two important decisions. First, I became a Michigan CPL (after completing the required training and background checks).

    Second, I decided that part of my job as a criminal justice edu­cator is to inform the public about the reality of “gun control.” It is from this perspective that I write this commentary.

    There are four main reasons why I support concealed carry on campus (and why I find the coun­ter arguments unconvincing).

    They are as follows: 1. “Pistol free zones” simply do not work! The only thing they accomplish is disarming law-abid­ing CPLs (who respect the law) while ensuring that violent crimi­nals (who ignore it) have access to a pool of defenseless victims.

    There are dozens of tragic cases that illustrate this point: One merely needs to look to the recent shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University to appreciate the carnage that an armed assailant can inflict when he opens fire at a place where law­abiding citizens are prohibited from protecting themselves.

    Moreover, while mass shootings are admittedly rare (as opponents of CPL will point out), other vio­lent crime unfortunately is not.

    Armed robberies, rapes, aggravat­ed assaults and even homicides happen on university campuses every year. For instance, earlier this year, 20-year-old Asia Mc­Gowan was shot dead by another student at Henry Ford Commu­nity College in Dearborn.

    2. It is a dangerous myth that calling the police is a viable substitute for being prepared to defend oneself.

    Despite their best efforts, law enforcement simply can’t respond fast enough to save most crime victims, and even when they do arrive at a “crime in progress,” statistics show that there’s a greater chance of a bystander being accidentally shot by a police officer, as compared to a CPL.

    Conversely, cases in which CPLs have successfully thwarted vio­lent crimes (often without firing a shot) are numerous (for multiple examples see http://www.learnabout­guns. com/tag/self-defense-ex­ample/!) 3. There is virtually no schol­arly evidence to suggest that expanding carry privileges on campus will lead to increased gun violence (by turning fi st fi ghts, or domestic violence incidents, into shootouts).

    CPLs are among the most law­abiding and safety-conscious citizens in our society (statisti­cally, they have lower crime rates than almost any other group of people, including police officers) and have a proven track record of using force only when faced with the threat of deadly violence.

    States that have permitted CPL on campus (e.g. Colorado and Utah) have not experienced increases in campus shootings and generally enjoy low rates of violent crime.

    4. There is little scholarly evidence to suggest that campus suicides or “drunken accidents” will increase if CPL is allowed on campus.

    As stated earlier, the vast major­ity of CPLs take their carry privi­leges and obligations seriously.

    There are already strict restric­tions in place that prohibit CPLs from carrying while drinking.

    Moreover, people who are licensed to carry firearms, almost without exception, exercise great care to store them safely, in ways that prevent unauthorized per­sons from gaining access to them.

    Consequently, these concerns, like most arguments in opposition to concealed carry, are simply driven by the “fear of the unknown,” which brings me to my conclud­ing argument: Fear is an extremely poor basis for criminal justice policy. It leads to ineffective measures that may make certain people “feel bet­ter,” but in reality leave all of us vulnerable to being victimized by crime.

    Public policy should be based on facts, and the facts in this case strongly suggest that CPLs frequently use their firearms to thwart violent crime, but hardly ever abuse their carry privileges.

    If people want to keep the ban on campus carry in place because they are “afraid of guns” or because “it might place a chill on the academic environment,” the answer to these concerns is education that raises awareness about the safety and effectiveness of CPL.

    What we do not need are danger­ous, arbitrary laws that benefit criminals while penalizing re­sponsible, law-abiding citizens.

    Dr. Christopher A. Kierkus is an assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University, Allendale.















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  2. #2
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Decent article, but he used the term "privilege" when he should have been calling it a right.
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Jblack44's Avatar
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    It's considered a "privledge" because of the need of the lisense to carry concealed. It's not right, but it's the law as it stands today.


    "If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous. If you have a gun, what in the hell do you have to be paranoid for." Clint Smith, Director of Thunder Ranch

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    i consider it a right, yes we do have to have a cpl but as long as we arent criminals we can have one. but good post

  5. #5
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    i consider it a right, yes we do have to have a cpl but as long as we arent criminals we can have one. but good post

  6. #6
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    i consider it a right, yes we do have to have a cpl but as long as we arent criminals we can have one. but good post

  7. #7
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    Glad you enjoyed the article ... I see where I could have used the word "right" instead of "privilege".

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    Great article.

    Welcome to OCDO.

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    Regular Member dougwg's Avatar
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    Welcome to OCDO Christopher

  10. #10
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    Welcome indeed!

    :celebrate
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

  11. #11
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    Thanks all ... happy to be here!

  12. #12
    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    CrimDoc wrote:
    Thanks all ... happy to be here!
    Good. Hope you stay a while too. This forum needs as many legally savvy people as possible.
    Answer every question about open carry in Michigan you ever had with one convenient and free book- http://libertyisforeveryone.com/open-carry-resources/

    The complete and utter truth can be challenged from every direction and it will always hold up. Accordingly there are few greater displays of illegitimacy than to attempt to impede free thought and communication.

  13. #13
    Regular Member autosurgeon's Avatar
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    As others have said good article! And welcome.
    Anything I post may be my opinion and not the law... you are responsible to do your own verification.

    Blackstone (1753-1765) maintains that "the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer."

  14. #14
    Regular Member FatboyCykes's Avatar
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    Who's the new guy?

    :P

  15. #15
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    FatboyCykes wrote:
    Who's the new guy?

    :P
    Dr. Christopher A. Kierkus is an assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Grand Valley State University, Allendale.


  16. #16
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    Yep,

    That's me ... (relatively) long time criminal justice scholar ... newbie (~ 1 year) CPL ... haven't tried OC yet ... but I do support it.

    Cheers,

    Chris

  17. #17
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    CrimDoc wrote:
    Yep,

    That's me ... (relatively) long time criminal justice scholar ... newbie (~ 1 year) CPL ... haven't tried OC yet ... but I do support it.

    Cheers,

    Chris
    Post it and they will come and Think .......Welcome

  18. #18
    Regular Member American Boy With a Gun's Avatar
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    wow...cool cool, welcome to OCDO...oh....add your location...its under "My acct" then Profile i believe
    "If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." -- Samuel Adams, 1776

    An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject

  19. #19
    Regular Member Evil Creamsicle's Avatar
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    Good article. You ought to have mentioned OC on campus too

  20. #20
    Regular Member JeffSayers's Avatar
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    Yea, I definitely see this as light. The darn trouble is there will be another tunnel just ahead! Oh well, such is life I suppose. Onward!
    United we STAND!

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