Guns on Campus

January 27, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 4
Would they make colleges safer?
By Christina L. Lyons


Anthropology professor Pauline Strong posts (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman/Jay Jenner)
Anthropology professor Pauline Strong posts a sign prohibiting guns in her office at the University of Texas, Austin, on Aug. 1, 2016, the first day of the state's new campus-carry law. Texas is among eight states that allow concealed firearms on campus in certain circumstances. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia ban guns on campuses. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman/Jay Jenner)

Mass shootings at colleges and universities are spurring lawmakers in a growing number of states to consider allowing students, faculty and others to carry concealed firearms on campus. The American public is evenly split on the issue. Gun-rights supporters say shooters specifically target gun-free spaces such as college campuses. And many students say their constitutional right to bear arms shouldn't end when they walk on campus. But those opposing guns on campus say students with gun permits are not necessarily trained to stop violent crimes. They also note the unique nature of students on college campuses: Young adults' self-control brain functions are not yet fully developed, students often engage in heavy drinking and an increasing number of students are reporting anxiety and other mental health problems. All of this, say foes of guns on campuses, means firearms will make campuses less safe. Debate is also fierce over whether campus security forces should be armed and how colleges and universities can improve counseling services to identify potentially violent students.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Gun Control and the Second Amendment
Aug. 05, 2022  Gun Violence
Jul. 27, 2018  Gun Violence
Jan. 27, 2017  Guns on Campus
Mar. 08, 2013  Gun Control
Oct. 31, 2008  Gun Rights Debates Updated
May 25, 2007  Gun Violence
Nov. 12, 2004  Gun Control Debate
Dec. 19, 1997  Gun Control Standoff
Jun. 10, 1994  Gun Control
Mar. 22, 1991  Reassessing the Nation's Gun Laws
Nov. 13, 1987  Gun Control
Dec. 13, 1985  Guns in America: the Debate Continues
Jul. 19, 1972  Gun Control: Recurrent Issue
Nov. 11, 1959  Firearms Control
Crime and Law Enforcement
Gun Control
Undergraduate and Graduate Education