This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Professor Darren Bush ("More Guns, Less Learning,"Opinion, Jan. 22) argues the costs of allowing concealed weapons on the University of Utah campus outweigh the benefits and therefore students' Second Amendment rights should be cancelled.
Although his arguments are based on little more than speculation, Bush demands "proof" that concealed weapons deter crime. Bush claims learning and academic freedom at the U. would suffer from these possible situations: guns used to intimidate opponents in classroom debates, guns used to settle parking lot disputes, drunken student gunfights, and (my personal favorite) students using guns to frighten professors into changing grades. These imagined costs of U. concealed carry are so preposterous that I thought I was reading an article from the satirical magazine Onion. Since he is a U. graduate, I assume that Bush knows U. students well. If he thinks U. students will engage in these activities, the U. has bigger problems than concealed carry.
There are currently more than 70 campuses that allow concealed carry, including all Utah campuses. Prior to the gun-free school laws of the early 1990s virtually every campus in a concealed-carry jurisdiction allowed students with permits to carry. Could Bush please provide "proof" that any of his sensational claims have ever occurred on any of these concealed carry campuses?
How about any gun crime on any campus at any time that was committed by a concealed carry student?
Because most U. crimes are related to alcohol and property, Bush argues students do not need concealed carry protection. I am sure that pre- 2007 most Virginia Tech crimes were similarly petty in nature. Prior to the massacre the Virginia Legislature defeated VT concealed carry.
The provost said "this will help parents, students, faculty and visitors feel safe on our campus." It certainly made the VT shooter feel safe. Bush is simply wrong when he states "no proof exists that concealed weapons deter crime in any setting."
There is more evidence that concealed carry reduces crime than there is that concealed carry reduces academic freedom.
Anecdotal evidence abounds. There are at least 18 peer-reviewed econometric studies that find statistically significant crime reduction associated with concealed carry.
There is virtually no evidence supporting Bush's argument that concealed carry increases crime.
For their sake, I hope Bush teaches his law students to make better arguments than those in his article.
J oe G. Baker is a professor of economics and director of the Center for Economic Education in the Southern Utah University School of Business.