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Reader Bryce Booher writes:

Over the last several weeks, there’s been a growing debate over Campus Carry. Should we allow college students to carry concealed firearms on campus? What about other weapons? My position: Our 2A rights shall not be suspended or removed simply because we’ve crossed an imaginary line and walked onto a college campus (or anywhere else for that matter). No other rights are treated in such a manner.

Despite what some professors at the University of Texas would have you believe, the world will not end because law-abiding, already responsibly-armed students can now carry concealed firearms on campus without being arrested. Before diving into the major issue of allowing campus carry or not, it’s important to understand why it’s an important issue.

Mass shootings

One of the first reasons those who are in favor of concealed carry give for campus carry is, “In case there’s a mass shooting on campus.” Contrary to what the national media would have you believe, mass shootings are extremely rare. They do happen, however.

It’s impossible to get an exact figure on the number of mass shootings on college campuses that were stopped or prevented by a student carrying a firearm. According to the Washington Post, since 1966, there have been 127 mass shootings (by definition) in the U.S. Keeping in mind not all of those took place on a college campus, you can see the chance of a shooting on a campus is very small. The FBI estimates, however, that a firearm is used to stop a crime approximately one million times a year (note that this doesn’t mean a firearm was actually discharged).

College campus crime rates

If a mass shooting is highly unlikely then, what other reasons are there to carry a self defense weapon on a college campus? If we look at the top 10 schools in the U.S. in terms of violent crime rates, we find some astonishing numbers.

1. University of Illinois-Chicago (No surprise here for most of you)
1.59 incidents per 1000 students
21 total forcible sexual offenses, 96 total aggravated assaults

2. University of California-Berkeley
1.56 per 1000 students
89 total forcible sexual offenses, 31 total aggravated assaults

4. Harvard University (this was a huge surprise to me)
1.18 per 1000
87 total forcible sexual offenses, 10 total aggravated assaults

6. Penn State University (hold the Sandusky jokes, please)
1.16 per 1000
119 total forcible sexual offenses, 39 total aggravated assaults

I have purposely skipped over a few colleges on the list for the sake of brevity. These statistics were compiled over a three-year span (2011-2013).

It seems save to speculate that the overwhelming majority of the forcible sexual offenses on college campuses are committed against female victims. Then again, it’s also important to note that given current standards, some of those forcible sexual offenses could be an unwanted hug (as defined in the student conduct guidelines of many college websites). I’m not making excuses for that either, but it’s a far cry from forcible violent rape. These are important distinctions as campuses are reportedly becoming increasingly dangerous for young women.

So now that we now the reasons campus carry is something to consider, it’s time to arm up. But with what exactly?


Most universities will ban carrying concealed firearms on campus, even by those with a concealed carry permit/license. Despite my personal views on the subject, this alone will deter many from carrying a firearm. Depending on the laws, the penalties for carrying on campus could range from a misdemeanor to a felony – so it’s important to research your state laws and decide if the risk is worth it.

If you decide to carry a firearm on campus, you should carry on your person for a number of reasons. If you open the wrong pocket, other students may be able to see you have a firearm in the classroom – not a good thing. If a fire-alarm goes off, most teachers want you to leave your belongings behind and make your way to an exit. If your firearm is in your bag, you’ve now left a loaded firearm unattended – also not a good thing.

Tasers/stun guns

If you bought a cheap convenience store “stun gun” for $15, throw it away. If you choose not to carry a firearm while on campus, your main objective then becomes to inflict as much pain as possible on an attacker and get away. A $15 “stun gun” is much like a shock collar for a dog. It hurts as long as you’re holding the button down. As soon as you release the button (keep in mind these are press contact weapons – so you will have to be within arm’s reach of your attacker to use it), the pain ceases and your attacker is able to continue as usual. If he has a temper (which is likely), it may do more harm than good, and may not even force him/her to lose their grip on you.

There are many good law enforcement and civilian model tasers that are incredibly effective. The two biggest benefits to these are they can be deployed with or without being close enough for your attacker to grab you. Most of these have fish-hook-like barbs that shoot out and stick in the individual and deliver a painful and incapacitating jolt of electricity.

They are also a quick way of dropping an attacker to his/her knees with the press of a button (YouTube is full of videos showing the effectiveness of tasers). If the barbs make contact, the taser will continue to shock the attacker until you flip the safety on, or the battery runs out. Either of those will give you time to get away.

Two major drawbacks to these weapons are the cost (sometimes as high as many concealed carry firearms), and their size (often bigger than single stack 9mm’s and 380’s).

Pepper Spray

There’s a variety of pepper spray options out there. The truth is most of them are the same chemical on the inside. What you’re really looking for here is the OC percentage. Pepper spray contains Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC) and the percentage of OC is usually listed on the canister. Normally, you will see OC percentages range from 2% to 18%. These percentages tell you the amount of OC proportional to the volume of the canister. The higher the percentage, the more potent the spray.

Something important to keep in mind is that if you spray indoors, you will want to clear the area quickly. Pepper spray will fill the air around you and can cause severe irritation to your own lungs, eyes, and skin, whether you get hit directly or not. The good news is it’s very effective. While it may not put an attacker on the ground, it will disorient him/her and allow you a window to escape.

Finally, personal safety is your responsibility. You shouldn’t rely on others to protect you everywhere you go. Remember that the best tool you have available to you is your brain. Your mindset is your biggest asset in a self defense situation. How you prepare in peace, often determines the outcome in war.

There are certainly other options I’ve passed over for this post. Knives, tactical pens, flashlights, etc. could all be used defensively if given the right scenario. The moral of the story is making sure you’re armed with something. If your state’s laws allow you to carry a firearm on campus, carry one. If the law doesn’t, you still have options for self defense.


Bryce Booher runs Defensive Resources LLC and is a NRA certified firearms instructor. 


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  1. Take it from someone who has been sprayed and juiced, I’d rather be juiced.

    Never been shot, but I’d say that would take a pretty high ranking, as well.

    Not higher than a forced mustache ride by Lena Dunham, though, I’d take the bullet on that wheel-o-shitty.

  2. I’m sure that it’s an informative article and well written, but I stopped when I reached this: “Our 2A rights shall not be suspended or removed simply because we’ve crossed an imaginary line and walked onto a college campus (or anywhere else for that matter). No other rights are treated in such a manner.

    That’s simply not true. Google “Free Speech Zones”. At many universities if you want to speak out about a “hot topic” or a “political issue” you have to get a permit (license) to do so and then you can only do it in a certain area of campus (usually off in some far flung and rarely trafficked part of campus where no one will hear you) from a certain hour to another certain hour.

    Universities are now literally policing speech the admins don’t like. When it comes to certain things you literally need a license and even then you can only speak about the topic in a certain place at certain pre-arranged times approved by the administration and that “permit” can, and often is, denied.

    Numerous groups are fighting against this but the use of “Free Speech Zones” is so pervasive that they can’t keep up and even when they inevitably win the university pulls a “DC” and simply rewrites the rules to basically the same outcome in a different language and the group that sued now has to start over again and win against that specific language.

    Make no mistake, on campuses nationwide, all our rights are under attack.

    • Besides a prison, the typical (not all) American campus is the LEAST FREE place in the America.

      And why is that….well because the Left has pretty much free reign to implement any fascist rules that comes to their statist mind. If you want an example of what America will look like after the Democrat party and a soon-to-be Leftist SCOTUS gets a stranglehold on America all you need to do is look at these totalitarian campuses.

    • I don’t think 1A rights cease to exist when you walk onto a university’s grounds, just that the petty tyrants running the place think they do.

      I believe FIRE has a very good success record suing those idiots. What we really need are employment contracts that say if you violate the civil rights of students and they sue your ass, it’s coming out of your $50,000 a month salary, the taxpayers aren’t going to pay for your crimes.

    • The origin of the “Free Speech” zones (at least back in my day), was to prevent political, religious, or cultural protests, marches, gatherings, etc. from disrupting those students that were just trying to go to class and get an education. You can no longer set up in the middle of the “quad” and cause disruptions with bull horns, drums, signs etc. I found it to be a reasonable solution. Of course, I found that the liberal/progressive agenda groups were generally the most disruptive.

  3. Bruce, good advice, but while we’re being pedantic I have to reiterate a pet peeve of mine:

    “Our 2A rights shall not be suspended or removed simply because we’ve crossed an imaginary line and walked onto a college campus…”

    We do NOT have any 2A rights! The Second Amendment is an attempt to protect our natural, civil and CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED right to keep and bear arms from government infringement. This is a small but very important point to keep remembering and repeating. The Second Amendment (nor any of the amendments) gives us nothing except a modicum of protection against the government we established.

    When asked what sort of government the Constitution provided Ben Franklin reportedly replied, “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”

    The Second Amendment was intended to protect our means of “keeping it”.

  4. I carry on campus. I go to a state university and in Colorado the State Supreme Court ruled that state universities cannot stop concealed carry. I carry my “normal” CW380 in my back pocket and my “active shooter” scenario pistola in a Maxpedition JK-3 concealed carry pouch inside my messsenger bag. That pistola is a FN FNS Long Slide .40 with three mags of Underwood Gold Dot 165 grain. I keep that bag with me at all times. The pistol is concealed in the messenger bag, so even if it is open, you can only see the top of the pouch. I thought of many possibilities, including a Sub-2000(!) but decided the FNSL was the way to go.

    • Funny you say that. I just ordered a couple of those late last week for the wife and I. Less chance of being discovered.

  5. If nothing else is an option get a damn flashlight. Even in the daytime(not so much in direct sun but shade or indoors) a decent flash to the eyes can stun someone long enough for a groin shot and a good head start off to someone who is hopefully one of the privileged class and able to be armed by their 2nd amendment. Seriously though what kind of American doesn’t at least have a knife and a flashlight at all times? Unless I’m going in a courtroom I at least have a good knife and a good light. If I am allowed to use my God given rights I obviously will be more heavily armed with something steel and polymer with a nice 8 round capacity at least, but when living umong the noble class sometimes you must abide by their rules and be a good properly defenseless serf.

  6. Not a final solution, but ladies should check their area for a Gracie Academy affiliate that offers the “Women Empowered” course. (Check out This is a self-paced Gracie Jui-jitsu course that teaches women how to resist and overcome the 15 most common attacks against women, as compiled by the police. On completion and proven competency the student is awarded a pink belt.

    Examples of the training are available on YouTube. While Jui-jitsu is never as good as a stand-off defense like a concealed pistol, it is available to ALL students, not just those who have reached the magic 21 years old and jumped through the hoops to get an (unconstitutional) State permission slip. It is also usable on every campus, not just those that allow concealed carry.

  7. These foaming at the mouth anti-gun professors are not making a whole lot of sense on this, in a number of ways. They just HATE guns, pure and simple. Their arguments don’t make a whole lot of sense, never have. The idea that they should be scared of the VERY few students who might carry on campus LEGALLY, students who go through classes, and undergo background checks, and pay fees and on and on….that THAT type of person is introducing danger into the classroom? I mean, anyone, at any time, regardless of any law on the books, AT ANY TIME, can bring a gun into a classroom, illegally, without a permit, concealed on their person, in their backpack, and no one is EVER going to know. How in the WORLD do these kooks actually feel better about that, knowing that the few good citizens who might carry, won’t.??? Really?

    Secondly, all progressives and liberals SHOULD be for guns and gun rights, because gun rights are EQUAL RIGHTS for all:

  8. “No other rights are treated in such a manner.”

    Please stop perpetuating this fiction. There are plenty of cases where your constitutional rights are abridged because you cross an imaginary line.

    For starters, try exercising your constitutional rights after your crossed one of the imaginary lines called a border. If you’re captured in Afganistan, for unstance, expect to be treated as an enemy combatant unentitled to traditional constitutional rights.

    Closer to home, your right to free speech will be restricted when you step into a court room. Your right to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances will be restricted unless you have a permit to protest (unless you’re black). Your right against unreasonable search and seizure will be restricted if the school wants to see inside your locker.

    • Or, better yet, cross the imaginary line that says you’re in the Constitution-free zone that the SCOTUS defines as being within 110 miles of the border, you know, that tiny area where over 80% of USA citizens live, and look for the ‘interior border checkpoint’, raise your right arm, and say ‘Seig Heil’.

  9. I would like to see the statistics for Texas schools where there has been vehicle carry for many years on Texas campuses.

    • Missouri as well. Not much on-campus violent stupidity happening here, the Mizzou idiots notwithstanding.

  10. Given the current state of our educational system, the escalating cost of a degree, and the ever increasing number of completely worthless degrees in social justice fields one can go bankrupt obtaining . . . it seems to me that “Avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places” would apply to college campuses in general.

  11. I still wonder what these colleges think that mere words on paper will do to deter an armed attacker? The only thing these laws do is inconvenience otherwise law-abiding citizens.

    Now unless they want to wall off the campus (hah, how’s that for irony? Those students clamor for open borders and all…) and institute draconian security checkpoints, the law is just words on a piece of paper, and the signs amount to pretty much the same thing. Someone bent on mayhem will stroll onto campus whilst armed, flip the bird at the sign, and start shooting.

    And I doubt students and parents are going to go for stop-and-frisk policies where $10/hour G4S contractors gleefully give an underdressed 19-year old coed a thorough search…

    I’ll respect the idea of banning campus carry if it’s a private institution. Private property, pass all the dumb rules you want – it’s your house.

    Public property, not so much.

    It’s all just feel-good legislation that does nothing.

  12. I have heard Dr. Lott testify (youtube or his website) that 9 states have campus carry and have compiled 1500 semesters of data and there has been zero cases of a crime or act of “teacher intimidation” by a student who is legally allowed to carry a handgun. How he compiled these facts I do not claim to know. I do know however, if there was or ever is a case of violence committed by a concealed carrier it will be front page news.

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