April 19, 2007

A Proposal for Collegiate Concealed Carry

One of my liberal regulars made the following observation in this post, which got me thinking if there was a "right way" to implement the carrying of concealed weapons at colleges and universities:

The thing that surprises me about the news coverage is the idea that this can be blamed on the fact that this campus was a "no firearm" zone. I didn't know that there was a "fully armed" option when it came to college campuses.

Let's all cast our minds back to college, shall we? I'm willing to bet that every one of us was, to some degree or another, a horse's ass back then. Do we want fully-armed horse's asses on our college campuses? It seems like a bad idea to me.

The idea that more weapons on campus would solve this problem is counterintuitive. This guy was on campus, and he had a weapon, and he killed 33 people.

"Fully armed" college campuses are of course a horrible idea for the very reasons implied above, which are primarily a lack of maturity and the abundant flow of alcohol and other recreational drugs. It would be a recipe for further increasing recipients of the Darwin Awards, and that is something we are certainly against.

What is reasonable, however, is giving students, faculty, and staff who meet certain rigorous standards the ability to bring handguns on campus for the defense of themselves and others in extraordinary life-threatening circumstances.

Here is my proposal.

The minimum age to purchase a handgun is 21 years old in most states. By definition, this would limit concealed carry to mostly juniors, seniors and graduate students, non-traditional (older) underclassmen, faculty, and staff.

Limit concealed carry to students housed off-campus, and to faculty and staff members. Firearms would not be allowed in the dormitories. This is both a practical and legal consideration. In-dorm firearms could not be secured properly and uniformly, and should not be allowed.

Those students, faculty and staff must prove that they have secure storage for their firearms in their off-campus dwellings.

They must register the firearm they wish to carry on campus with the university police, and qualify with that firearm to show proficiency and safety at least once per calendar year. These requirements are already served by the current CCW licensing process in some states, and actually exceed the CCW licensing of others, who may only require a one-time qualifying performance. It is also comparable to the qualifying guidelines of most police departments.

In addition to these state guidelines, those faculty, staff and off-campus students who qualify under state CCW guidelines should also take a university-prescribed course detailing any additional campus restrictions, and then require them to pass a written test showing these understand both state CCW laws and campus restrictions.

Universities should adopt guidelines for acceptable firearms and ammunition for those who wish to carry on campus, using the following as a general outline:

  • All university-approved CCW firearms shall be of modern design and sound mechanical shape, as shall holsters and spare magazine carriers;
  • All firearms shall be of standard self-defense calibers, and these calibers are designated as follows: .380 ACP, .38 Special, 9mm Parabellum, .357 SIG, 40 S&W, .44 Special, and .45 ACP or comparable cartridges;
  • All firearms using lower-powered cartridges (below .380 ACP) shall not be allowed;
  • All firearms using higher-power cartridges (.357, .41, 44 Magnums, and above) shall not be allowed;
  • All firearms using bottlenecked ammunition ( exception: .357 SIG) shall not be allowed;
  • Only commercially-loaded frangible ammunition shall be allowed.
  • Pistol magazines shall be of "standard length" (not exceeding the butt of the firearm but more than 1 inch, including any "bump" pads). The number of magazines would be restricted to one in the firearm and one spare magazine in an approved spare magazine carrier.

The guidelines above are very practical in nature. Certain calibers are simply better than others for CCW purposes, and the calibers cited above encompass the overwhelming majority of those in which defensive handguns are chambered. The frangible ammunition mandate may be new to some that are more familiar with full metal-jacketed (FMJ) and hollowpoint ammunition, and so may need to be explained.

Frangible ammunition is designed to fragment or disintegrate upon or shortly after contact. This significantly reduces the dangers associated with overpenetration, by transferring most or all of the projectile's energy into the target as the bullet fragments. While typically being more lethal to the target, frangible ammunition is not as likely to penetrate structural components (walls, floors, doors). Glaser and MagSafe are two of the most common examples.

As for carrying and storage guidelines, all students would be required to carry their firearms and magazines on their persons at all times while on campus (not in a desk, satchel, purse, or bookbag), and all faculty and staff would be expected to follow these same guidelines, with the additional provision that firearms can be kept in individual locked offices in university-approved, bolted-down gun storage safes for faculty and staff.

The requirements and restrictions outlines above are only a rough roadmap of reasonable outlines for a campus concealed carry program.

A similarly-implemented plan would create an atmosphere where the faculty, staff, and students can be confident that those who are allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus are perhaps better trained than their CCW-licensed counterparts in the rest of society, and are arguably as well trained as some municipal police officers.

Your thoughts?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 19, 2007 09:46 AM

Point 2 and point 5 are contradictory.
357 sig is a bottlenecked cartridge.

But point 5 seems rather silly anyway, bottlenecked cartridges feed more reliably so why ban reliablity?

Posted by: Liberrocky at April 19, 2007 09:58 AM

You've addressed most concerns I have but one. If you are on any psychiatric meds of any kind, have any psychiatric needs of any kind, or have been counseled at any time in the past for any related "illness" then no CCW for you.
Still, having said that, there are still those out there that could pass the rigors you stated and still should not be able to carry. Similarly, there are many people who have obtained a drivers license (though not nearly as scrutinized)and shouldn't be anywhere near a car.
Owning weapons is a unique thing. I own many, most or all of my friends own multiple weapons yet there are only a SMALL handful of them I go into the field with. They don't meet "my" standards. It's also sucks to think that 99.8% of people meeting the criteria above could have taken that VaTech creep out if.....

Posted by: markm at April 19, 2007 10:07 AM

Also, if you have had any anger management needs (spousal abuse, road rage incidents, etc.) CCW for you. I'm sure there are more.

Posted by: markm at April 19, 2007 10:09 AM

Good point on the .357 SIG, which I've now added an exemption for.

The reasons to ban bottlenecked catridges are twofold:

  • Most bottlenecked cartridges are rifle caliber cartridges not suitable for self-defense;
  • most pistol-caliber bottlenecked cartridges are plagued with relatively low stopping power coupled with excessive penetration.

    The .357 SIG is a notable exception, as it is essentially a 9mm in a necked-down 40 S&W case to attain higher velocities.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 19, 2007 10:14 AM

Why are you putting so many restrictions on gun ownership and carry? Sound like a closet liberal to me. As I recall, the 2nd amendment doesn't allow for ANY of the myriad restrictions you call for, so -by definition- you are wrong. No restrictions on any carry, any where!!!

Posted by: Brent at April 19, 2007 11:31 AM really don't like opposing views do you?
i actually am a big supporter of the 2nd. what with a government that illegally wiretaps its citizens, opens there mail, tracks their activities, subverts the constitution and treaties, tortures innocents, and politicizes the justice system...the 2nd may be all that saves this once great nation.

Posted by: jay k. at April 19, 2007 11:40 AM

Why don't we just arm an uniformed youth militia to patrol university campuses and weed out any undesirables before they get the chance to do something like this. Guys like this couldn't have been hard to spot - being obsessed with guns and violence, clearly should've been a sign he was mentally unhinged. Anyways, he looks a bit foreign and dresses in military style clothes.

Posted by: Rarian at April 19, 2007 11:45 AM

... That is the very definition of an enemy combatent. He should have been locked up permanently without trial. What's wrong with this country?

btw, I love your tag-line. the doctrine of liberalism is religiously followed by conservatives like the Bush administration while they drool over stacks of money. so there's a certain amount of irony that you've hit on, which i think is great.

As for me, I'm more of a radical libertarian - no government interference and no restrictions on me!

Posted by: Rarian at April 19, 2007 11:57 AM

There are such people already...its called CAMPUS SECURITY...maybe if they spent less on football they would have more cops.

Posted by: madmatt at April 19, 2007 11:59 AM

Better yet...all students are fitted with either magnetic boots (like in the prison in the movie Face Off), or electronic collars which either emit high frequency disabling sound, or stunning shocks (picture dog shock-collar and taser combined). When trouble is reported, everyone in an entire area/building/class can be either locked down or knocked out. Simple.

I think I'd rather accept that sh&t happens, that there are risks in life, and hope that my number isn't up. As tragic as VT was, the odds of anything like this happening to a single person are probably worse than getting hit by a meteor from space.

Posted by: Specter at April 19, 2007 12:03 PM

"The sky is falling. The sky is falling." Quick - let's all panic......

Posted by: Specter at April 19, 2007 12:04 PM

Not being a firearms guy, I'm not understanding why you'd restrict the caliber of the weapon. If you want to be able to kill people to protect yourself, don't you want to be able to go ahead and kill 'em good and dead?

Someone please explain in non-technical terms.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at April 19, 2007 01:05 PM

Larger, high powered rounds tend to poke a nice inlet hole and large outlet hole and keep on going. (not safe in a crowded situation). Smaller, less powerful rounds tend to stay inside the target minimizing the danger to bystanders.

Posted by: markm at April 19, 2007 01:17 PM
Not being a firearms guy, I'm not understanding why you'd restrict the caliber of the weapon. If you want to be able to kill people to protect yourself, don't you want to be able to go ahead and kill 'em good and dead?

Someone please explain in non-technical terms.

I'll make it very simple: the smaller caliber cartridges aren't much good, the larger ones will go clear the bad guy with enough force to kill those behind them. The bottlenecked cartridges typically offer the worst of both worlds, having underwhelming stopping power and a bad record of overpenetration.

The calibers of cartridges I advocated for have a long record (more than 50 years of proven performance for all but two of them, the .40 S&W and the .357 SIG, both newer rounds very popular with police) of being able to do the job properly.

The choice of frangible ammunition wasn't accidental either. While it offers much less chance of overpenetrating, frangibles such as Magsafes and Glasers are also by far the most lethal rounds made in situations where direct shots are dictated, like most justifiable self defense shootings.

Yes, it seems contradictory that frangibles can be the safest and deadliest bullets at the same time, but it is the truth of the matter.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 19, 2007 01:28 PM

Brent, the second ammendment states clearly that the reason for the right to bare arms is the requirement for a well regulated militia. Anybody wishing to own any firearm should be required to prove reasonable proficiency with it at the very least. Also that requirement might reasonable be construed to cover the requirement for particular calibers and ammunition types.
But the point is moot. Yankees proposal applied to college campuses, not the general public and were reasonable. There are strict guidlines about who gets to carry in a courthose, too. I hope you're not proposing that anyone can carry any weapon anywhere. The 2nd ammendment just doesn't provide that right.

Posted by: iaintbacchus at April 19, 2007 01:43 PM

Why not .22s or like smaller calibers? You want the weapons being carried, don;t you? A .22 in a purse or pocket is better than a .45 at home. And plenty of people have been killed with .22s. They are also easier to hit with and since the ammo is so much cheaper, more practice --> more accuracy is possible. The lower recoil of a .22 or .25 (for that centerfire reliability) is also desirable for female weapons bearers. Speaking of expense, IIRC, Glasers cost the earth, and are not available to all comers.

As for bottlenecked rounds, I suppose you are worried about a flood of Mausers and Tokarevs? Yeah, those Broomhandle Mausers have no place in combat.

As for larger calibers, while they might be impractical for concealed carry, why would they be more dangerous with frangible ammo? The intimidation factor of a magnum pistol might also serve to defuse the situation.

As for the safety and consistency of weapons storage in dorms, where else could it be more easily regularized? Have gun safes like the safes in hotel rooms.

One thing that would be useful at schools like VT would be some more attention to emergency communications. VT uses the ROLM phone campus-wide. Nothing would be easier than to program them with alert codes, whether for "Pick up now for this recorded emergency message" or "GET OUT NOW!!!!!"

Perhaps the campus need not have been evacuated after the shooting, but I see no reason not to flood the Drillfield area with rapid-response teams, extra patrols, and floorwalkers in the dorms and classrooms. While I am not against student or prof carry (esp. during regular class hours, when there SHOULD be less drunkenness, and when most of these sorts of shootings seem to happen), I am not sure it is the only answer.

Posted by: nichevo at April 19, 2007 02:50 PM

You guys are sounding like liberals.

No, seriously... for years, liberals have been trying to establish guidelines not unlike the ones you describe above. We've been fought at every step of the way. Why the sudden 180?

Posted by: Josh Yelon at April 19, 2007 03:31 PM

haven't you been paying attention...conservatives have become liberals. conservative tenants have been abandoned. republicans are now everything they used to despise. and the dems are the adults in the room. welcome to bush-world.

Posted by: jay k. at April 19, 2007 03:58 PM

the reason for the right to bare arms is the requirement for a well regulated militia.

Yeah! No one is going to take away my right to short sleeves!


Posted by: dicentra at April 19, 2007 04:03 PM

If you want to be able to kill people to protect yourself...

Its not about killing them. Its about getting them to stop doing what they were doing. If they happen to survive, I'm OK with that.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at April 19, 2007 04:04 PM

I just excerpted and linked at Virginia Tech: The Day After The Day After The Day After. I think you're definitely on the right track looking for a compromise. The 18 year old Freshman I was in 1968 knew how to shoot but had no business at all having a firearm anywhere near the campus. The 26 year old Junior I was in 1976 was an entirely different person; he even had a pretty little ribbon from Uncle Sam for proving he could shoot straight. [Aside: Check out Dafydd's comments on unofficial militias here.] I think it would have made perfectly good sense for that 26 year old Junior, and a lot of others who'd been through similar experiences, to have the legal right to carry a concealed weapon any time, any where. You're also quite correct that firearms have no place in the dorm, for the reasons you state. The only place I'll quibble with you is over the minimum caliber required for licensing. Gotta go with nichevo's take on that; a P-22 in the hip pocket is better than a Glock at home. Tell me I'm wrong and I'll take your word for it but I think even the most concealable .380 on the market is still significantly harder to conceal than some pretty decent .22s.

Posted by: Bill Faith at April 19, 2007 05:06 PM

I agree with Specter. Life is full of risks. Mankind has eliminated or greatly reduced trhe big risks in life. We have a plentiful and cheap food supply, and antibiotics and vaccines have vanquished many infectious diseases that uses to kill us by the thousands or even millions. Now we are trying to mitigate incredibly small risks and that is folly. We will never live in a risk free world. As for the hand gun at college debate, even if one is allowed to carry a handgun to class, who is going to want to lug all that weight around every day on the chance that sometime in the next 30 yrs, a shooter might appear somewhere on some college campus?

Posted by: feeblemind at April 19, 2007 05:51 PM

I disagree with your ban on FMJ and other non-frangible ammo. If an assailant wears body armor, some FMJ ammo will take him out. Most will at least knock him down, enabling a better chance at a head or gut shot. Frangible ammo usually will not even knock down a body armor-clad assailant.


PS: According to Basharee Murtadd, Cho is being praised as a Muslim in several Arab websites.

Posted by: chsw at April 19, 2007 08:30 PM

Anyone who thinks that permitting students to carry weapons would have reduced the loss of life at Virginia Tech is a pathetic fool.

Think about the situation. You are sitting in a classroom and hear gunfire. You are armed, so you decide to go after the guy (or maybe you just prepare to defend the room you are in, but some hotshots who play too many video games will get all Rambo and try too be a hero).

Several other armed students enter the hallways in search of the gunman as well. None of these students have combat or police training and they have no way to coordinate efforts. As you turn a corner, you see a figure step from a classroom with a gun, and you open fire--killing your best friend (who shot straighter at the range, but not as quickly). Now several armed people are roaming the halls, trying to save the day, shooting each other out of fear, shock, or mistaken identity. It is simply stupid to think that a bunch of 21 year olds with no training could manage this sort of situation after passing a written test and poking some holes in cardboard.

A few days at a range once a year does not qualify people to conduct operations best left to soldiers and police officers. Adding a bunch of well-armed but untrained kids to a situation like this is a recipe for more tragedy, not less.

You clearly know a lot about calibers and muzzle velocities and such, but you know nothing about how weapons are used in the real world--or you at least have no clue how this would look in real life if a bunch of wannabe Rambos tried to stop a homicidal maniac.

Guns of any kind in the hands of amateurs is not a solution, it's a problem, but you have bought so deeply into the "he-man gun owner's club" that you overlook how this stuff works in real life. For every successful use of a handgun to foil a crime, dozens of children or spouses are accidentally shot by people who had no business owning a gun.

Think about it--this deranged young man, with demonstrable psychiatric problems, simply walked into a store with a credit card and bought a dangerous weapon. What part of fucked up and stupid don't you understand?

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at April 19, 2007 09:31 PM

As guidelines for the schools only? I find these alright.

I think I'd rather accept that sh&t happens, that there are risks in life, and hope that my number isn't up. As tragic as VT was, the odds of anything like this happening to a single person are probably worse than getting hit by a meteor from space.

As of about five years ago, there had been a single case of a human being hit by an asteroid. It was a little old lady, and she got a bruise.

Now, you ARE probably more likely to die in a plane crash than by a school shooting, or be the accidental victim of some loonie with a car. (Be the loonie drunk, deranged, high or a selection.)

Posted by: Foxfier at April 19, 2007 10:17 PM

There is already a clear, established and verifiable method of deciding who can carry in campus. Its called a CHL or CCW. I had to receive 8 hours of classroom training, prove my proficiency in a range and submit to a background check before getting mine. Anything else is horse puckey. The mere thought that you would have the rigth to dictate what caliber ammunition I can carry in my legally carried firearm is specious. Registering the firearm with campus police only ensures that campus police can either reject my application or enact prohibitive fees.
r. stanton, you are an idiot. You have been watching too many movies. The armed citizens would either barricade and defend themselves in the classroom with their classmates or cover their retreat. Running into a hail of bullets would be no ones choice. The scenario would be the gunman walks into the classroom looking for victims and is greeted with lead. If necessary, students could be briefed on a plan of action in case of "deranged loner". Similar to fire drills. Everyone, barricade yourselves an those who are armed defend the rest.

Posted by: Rey at April 19, 2007 10:26 PM


Maybe the analogy was too specific, but you obviously understood the point. There is no way that we can "protect" ourselves from every possible, but statistically not-probable, event that might occur. It isn't possible if you want to live a life that has contact with other humans (contact other than across the ether...).

Posted by: Specter at April 19, 2007 11:40 PM

CY, you sure have a lot of trollers on here that I doubt even read your post.

I noticed the "provide all students with weapons" argument voiced by liberals too, and they might get their way again.

I understand what you're saying about a middle ground.

I've repeatedly read the liberal argument that we must either ban all weapons, or the federal govt must provide all people with weapons. What a goofy idea.

That's like saying that if you're against banning all airplanes in America, then the federal government must buy everyone their own personal airplane.

The valid question isn't "should we allow firearms?", but rather "should we ban them, and how and why, and to what extent?"

Posted by: brando at April 20, 2007 12:44 AM

Via Allahpundit's latest, this snippet from the WaPo:

Kevin Granata had heard the commotion in his third-floor office and ran downstairs. He was a military veteran, very protective of his students. He was gunned down trying to confront the shooter.

I hope the people responsible for the fact he wasn't armed are extremely proud of the way they kept the VT student body safe.

Posted by: Bill Faith at April 20, 2007 12:49 AM

Just get over it. Guns at a school or in the workplace have no place. Ain't never going to happen no way no how.

You have the right to have a safe and secure workplace or learning environment. To that end all security personnel should carry firearms and be fully trained in their use.

Posted by: J at April 20, 2007 06:12 AM

Or we could just follow Oregons example and allow CCW anywhere but courthouses. It's been that way for almost 15 years with no incidents on campus or anywhere. Proving once again that only careful law abiding citizens bother with CCW. Oregon only requires a pistol safety course - no range qualification.

Posted by: Airhog at April 20, 2007 08:27 AM


You're the one who needs to "just get over it."

The one place where schools are safe is in Israel, where the teachers and parents are armed and there aren't any attacks on the students. As for the workplace, I would guess that almost all workplaces in America - flyover America - have armed employees present. Perhaps openly or perhaps on a "don't ask, don't tell" basis, but present all the same.

And there are no attacks there, either. Only in the big liberal cities, where they know the population has been disarmed, do criminals range freely. Only in Post Offices and schools where law makes the victims powerless do we have shootings every month.

In places where citizens can and do carry, there are fewer shootings.....and lunatics like Cho are able to kill only one or two before they meet with the justice they deserve.

Concealed carry by responsible citizens is the path back to a safe and peaceful America, and the overwhelming majority of us know that.

Get over it.

Posted by: askmom at April 20, 2007 08:40 AM

I've been hearing about "background checks" my whole life, but I don't know what they encompass. Could someone please tell me what a firearm background check actually checks? Does it weed out insane people?

Posted by: Doc Washboard at April 20, 2007 08:40 AM
Why not .22s or like smaller calibers? You want the weapons being carried, don;t you? A .22 in a purse or pocket is better than a .45 at home. And plenty of people have been killed with .22s. They are also easier to hit with and since the ammo is so much cheaper, more practice --> more accuracy is possible. The lower recoil of a .22 or .25 (for that centerfire reliability) is also desirable for female weapons bearers. Speaking of expense, IIRC, Glasers cost the earth, and are not available to all comers.

As for bottlenecked rounds, I suppose you are worried about a flood of Mausers and Tokarevs? Yeah, those Broomhandle Mausers have no place in combat.

.22s have weak stopping power, and there are literally dozens of pistol designs chambered for .380, 9mm, .40 S&W, .357 SIG and even .45ACP that are as small as .22 pistols. .25s often just really piss people off, and are typically chambered for "junk" guns. Anyone who recommends a .25 for defense should not be taken seriously.

As for bottleneck rounds, I'm not thinking much about ancient 7.65 rounds, but the most modern rounds, the 4.6mm and 5.7mm rounds designed for PDWs (personal defense weapons) that are also chambered for pistols, or will be. All of these rounds have questionable stopping power, as they tend to penetrate straight through a target with minimal damage without expending their energy, and keep right on going.

As for larger calibers, while they might be impractical for concealed carry, why would they be more dangerous with frangible ammo? The intimidation factor of a magnum pistol might also serve to defuse the situation.

Magnum pistols are typically too large for CCW, and have excessive muzzle blast and noise. Sure, they could work, but it's an academic argument, not a practical one.

Gotta go with nichevo's take on that; a P-22 in the hip pocket is better than a Glock at home. Tell me I'm wrong and I'll take your word for it but I think even the most concealable .380 on the market is still significantly harder to conceal than some pretty decent .22s.

Okay... You're wrong. ;-)

There are dozens of handguns designed for CCW as small or smaller and as light or lighter than the P22 or other .22 pistols. Kahr, Kel-Tec, Glock, Smith & Wesson, Springfield Armory and dozens of other manufacturers offer firearms in much more effective calibers.

I disagree with your ban on FMJ and other non-frangible ammo. If an assailant wears body armor, some FMJ ammo will take him out. Most will at least knock him down, enabling a better chance at a head or gut shot. Frangible ammo usually will not even knock down a body armor-clad assailant.

It depends on the threat level the body armor is designed for, but most modern vests of level IIIA will stop all conventional FMJ. You'll not pentrate most of it with FMJ, or hollowpoints, or frangibles. FMJ also posed a far greater risk to anyone on the other side of your target, whether the shooter is wearing body armor or not, and the stopping power is pathetic when compared to frangibles on a "clean" hit. See if you can Google up the Strassbourg (sp?) incapacitation tests. FMJ has no business in a high-density environment.

If you'd like to test your "knockdown" theory against frangibles, be my guest, but as the typically offer several hundred FPS more velocity in the trade off for bullet weight, and can typically be brought back on target faster for follow-up shots, I fail to see how they are any less effective. As ever, shot placement counts, and on a clean hit, the frangibles are proven more effective, and on a miss or a mishit, they less dangerous to others as they are going to fragment instead of bouncing around as a solid, lethal mass.

R. Stanton Scott, you don't know jack. Sorry.

In situations like this, the CCW carrier wouldn't go looking for a fight, he'd let the fight come to him. He knows that the shooter will have to come through the door, and he simple needs to be ready to fire once he confirms his target. You don't go looking for a fight, and people who are conscientious enough to carry firearms know this. Thans for providing the "movie" response, as wrong as Hollywood typically is.

Just get over it. Guns at a school or in the workplace have no place. Ain't never going to happen no way no how.

You have the right to have a safe and secure workplace or learning environment. To that end all security personnel should carry firearms and be fully trained in their use.

J, you don't know many police officers or CCW holders, do you? I've got many friends in uniformed PD in two states including SWAT officers, and I know several CCW carriers as well.

Your typical police officer is just familiar enough with his weapon to pass qualifying, and often, many only practice shortly in advance of that. The rest of the year, they often do not practice. Every CCW holder I've personally known goes to the range at least once a month, and takes the responsibility of carrying and shooting a weapon far more seriously than do my friends in the PD (with the exception of the SWAT officer, which you would hope would be true).

All the CCW carriers I know have far superior trigger discipline and are better shots than every police officer and sheriff I know in two states. Again, the SWAT officer is the exception. His discipline and accuracy is on par or slightly better than the abilities of the CCW carriers I know.

Quite frankly, you are less likely to be shot by a CCW carrier than a cop, and this is a statistical fact. Police officers are responders, showing up to a situation and having to adapt. Your typical CCW carrier who has to deploy his weapon is usually in the situation from the beginning, and knows who the threat is from the beginning. Who is a greater threat, the person who knows who the threat is, or the person arriving at the situation late?

Guns are used an estimated 2 million times a year in personal defense, most times without a shot ever having to be fired. Personal firearms have saved lives or stopped crimes at work and school when cops have not yet had the time to respond. This is a fact.

The average CCW carrier has a better understanding of the threat situation and better weapons discipline than your average police officer.

You can enjoy your ignorance of the facts and live in denial if you would like, but you are far safer with a CCW carrier around you.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 20, 2007 08:56 AM

I agree with rey. If you have done what the state requires for a concealed carry permit that should be all the restriction that need be applied.

Doc Washboard, in my post I had assumed that someone in VA neglected to enter this nutjob's "temporary detention order" into the NICS database.

A post by Mrs Dutoit explained that since the courts use this technique to government fund shrinkage for the suicidal, that to qualify to be put in the database, the box marked "dangerous to others" must be checked off. I don't know where that came from, but it would lead me to think we need to get that procedure changed. From what I've heard the standard divorce lawyer trick of filing for a restraining order will get you in that database immediately.

Posted by: RRRoark at April 20, 2007 09:02 AM
I've been hearing about "background checks" my whole life, but I don't know what they encompass. Could someone please tell me what a firearm background check actually checks? Does it weed out insane people?

It depends.

Federal NICS checks,as I understand them, check for flags such as criminal records, dishonorable discharges from the military, and mental health issues, and perhpas other issues. State background checks vary, but some require all of the above, and require pistol purchasers a higher level of scrutiny, and may ask for non-family character references as well.

It appears that Cho should have been disqualified, but Virginia did not apparently report his mental issues to the Feds.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 20, 2007 09:08 AM

This is an excellent idea.

As part of your January registration, you indicate you are a licensed CHL Holder, you indicate you wish to carry on campus for the year, you pay the fee. The fee coves the cost of instruction plus the rental of the range.

The week before classes start, they hold a class for candidates ( students, employees, professors ) at a range near school. They cover the dos and donts and any other relevant material then test the class. They check out your weapon. You get to meet campus security. They cover procedures on emergencies. Describe any ROEs. When your school ID is issued, they put CHL on it.

You then have the right to carry on campus for the year.

Someone can come up with ROE ( Rules of Engagement ) and train the students on this to help prevent Blue on Blue in a meeting engagement. Since by definition only those in the class know them, this will prevent unlawful shooters from mimicking them. They can also cover evacuation procedures.

Same goes for School Districts. Parents who are CHLs go to a similar class sponsored by the School District.

Or, add a School Carry class to CHL and add another day of instruction that is run by the state.

Better yet:

All ROTC Cadets who are Seniors WILL get a CHL and WILL carry on campus. Make it part of their uniform.

I am not sure about the ammunition requirement. But it may be a good idea. To deal with this, I would have two sets of magazines - with my first round always being the school type, then just do an adminstrative load ( swap mags while in holster) when I entered campus.

Posted by: red river at April 20, 2007 09:29 AM

I learned to shoot a shotgun at age 11, a rifle at the YMCA range, shot at an outdoor range at a summer camp the next year, and attended a high-school with an indoor range. I've been a shooter for 41 of my 52 years, and there hasn't been much of a change with firearms and ammunition. No one I ever knew shot-up a school or workplace, so how can guns be the problem? It was far easier then to buy guns and ammo!

Posted by: Tom TB at April 20, 2007 09:31 AM

Does it weed out insane people?

Supposedly yes, if they've been adjudicated mentally ill. Or at least that what the existing gun control laws call for.

Why not examine 27 CFR and educate yourself on this stuff? It might be an eye opener what is already (theoretically) in place.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at April 20, 2007 09:32 AM

I don't know what "27 CFR" means. Point me in the right direction and I'll look at it.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at April 20, 2007 10:09 AM

Sweet Jesus. As always, the answer is more guns. Don't you find it odd that other industrialized nations are safer with fewer guns? Or that you've voluntarily surrendered your civil liberties to our idiot president rather than the black-helicopter UN one-world government we needed to arm ourselves against?

It's truly amazing that your answer to finding yourself in a hole is to keep digging.

I know, I know. We need to enforce the laws we already have, and give more guns to the good guys. Seems to working really well so far.

Posted by: OMG at April 20, 2007 11:20 AM

Iaintbacchus, you need to do a tad more research on how the term militia is defined in the US Code Section 10. It basically breaks down into two parts, the organized and unorganized militia. The unorganized militia is every able-bodied citizen over the age of 18 who has not been convicted of a felony. PS: able bodied also covers "not in need of a mental hospital." Cho would have been right out.

Posted by: SDN at April 20, 2007 11:26 AM

Good points, except trying to detail what types of magazines and ammunition is allowed. Once again it comes down to whether you trust the person or not, not the equipment.

The point about not allowing firearms in the dorms makes a lot of sense.

I attended college as a recently discharged army sergeant and lived off campus. I've never understood why college students are infantilized. It must be by people who were themselves immature when they were students.

Posted by: Mike S. at April 20, 2007 11:32 AM

Doc Washboard,

27 CFR Part 178

Posted by: RRRoark at April 20, 2007 11:46 AM

Not everyone has the temperament or firearms training to carry a weapon. Most don't. Just because you feel that it would be too dangerous for you to carry a weapon please do not project your inadequacies onto me. I've never been arrested, never been in a fight since puberty and I shoot at least once a month. I've never had a drug or alcohol problem. I shoot as well, if not better, than most law enforcement officers and I try my best to avoid trouble. I live responsibly. Why shouldn't someone like myself be allowed to protect ourselves, and you, if we feel competent in doing so.

Some of us feel that its our families, our communities and our society that we are responsible to protect. We are willing to take on the additional potential liability to do so. The alternative is a "it's not my job" mentality that leads to a lack in citizen ownership of the society. If you're o.k. with that fine, just don't expect me to buy into it.

Posted by: Mike S. at April 20, 2007 11:56 AM

In-dorm firearms could not be secured properly and uniformly, and should not be allowed.

And thus, another kill-zone is created. Why NOT arm the RA's and such? At the very least, with Tasers.

Posted by: Bane at April 20, 2007 12:06 PM

CFR = code of federal regulations

Those are pointers to federal fire arms laws.

Posted by: Mike S. at April 20, 2007 12:07 PM

While I like the idea of striking some kind of compromise between the lunacy of "gun-free" zones and the Gunfight at the OK Corral, I do think that this approach has one weak point. By giving the universities the power over who may or may not carryon campus, hey could establish a system that effectively was impossible to qualify under with the intent being to discourage people from carrying while appearing to endorse that right. Any additional qualifications for on-campus carry should be established by the state and apply equally to all colleges. In that way, you can ensure that only those people who are truly qualified are allowed to carry while making sure that no school arbitrarily abridges its students' rights.

Posted by: Steve L. at April 20, 2007 12:23 PM

I think the overriding sentiment of those opposed to more guns is that the problem they're largely addressing is guns already circulating. We need guns because we have guns. As this proposal shows, escalation is the end result, meaning more guns in circulation, and the increased need to arm oneself against them.

The fallacy of the argument is demonstrated by the relative violence of American society compared to that of other industrialized nations.

Now, whether or not it's feasible to remove guns from circulation is certainly open to debate.

But those who support gun control are simply pointing out the obvious. The more guns, the more gun violence. They're not unpatriotic or passive victims. They're simply seeing the situation for what it is.

As I say, gun control might simply be barring the door too late. But it doesn't mean that the motives are erroneous, or that the analysis is faulty.

We are supposed to be the the most free nation, yet we're the only industrialized nation agonizing over this particular problem, leaving us to make statements about protecting our families and others via firearms, a stance more appropriate to Baghdad than the shining beacon on the hill.

Posted by: OMG at April 20, 2007 12:24 PM

In other words, the only reason a proposal like this makes any sense to anyone here is because we allowed guns to get out of control in the first place.

This fundamental truth is something that those who oppose gun control need to face squarely.

Posted by: OMG at April 20, 2007 12:29 PM

Large cities do not lack guns; in fact, many of them are awash in firearms because of the illegal drug trade and street gangs. Gun control is promoted by police and politicians in these cities because they are trying to reduce the number of weapons on the streets. They also use buyback programs and the like to reduce the number of guns.

It's also worth pointing out that according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Victimization survey, the liberal and degenerate Northeast had lower rates of violent crime and property crime in 2005 than the rest of the country. (See

I don't know if there is a correlation between concealed carry and overall crime because I have not crunched the statistics, though. Anyone care to give it a try?

Posted by: Phranqlin at April 20, 2007 12:37 PM

And let us not forget that it was, by definition, liberals in the first place who framed our political philosophy and took up arms against the crown. And it was those liberal big cities who gave us many of the leading lights of our revolution. And it is liberals today who have most loudly decried the erosion of civil liberties in the name of security occurring today, civil liberties, such as habeus corpus, that our founding fathers were willing to die for.

To say that liberalism equals a persistent vegetative state is to be ignorant of history. It's cute, but it's inaccurate.

Remember, Jesus was a liberal, too.

Posted by: OMG at April 20, 2007 12:37 PM

It's good to see a conservative at least making an attempt at rational discourse. I have long marveled at how other bloggers were able to insist with a straight face that armed students would have been able to stop this shooter by engaging in some sort of Chuck Norris-style shootout, while dismissing the fact that college students would be much more likely to shoot each other in some drunken frat party fight.

But I'm not sure how your restrictions on gun ownership among students are anything but arbitrary. Restricting guns to over-21 students would be about as effective as restricting alcohol to over-21 students has been. If some students have guns, it's just as good as all students having guns. Besides, many schools are 100% residential.

A more reasonable proposal (though one I'm still not sure I'd agree with) is to limit gun ownership to faculty (and perhaps require training). This means there'd be one armed person in every room. Maybe the prof in the first room would have been taken out before being able to do anything, but other faculty on the floor would have heard the gunshots and rushed to their aid.

Posted by: Alex at April 20, 2007 01:26 PM


I'm sorry but the argument really isn't about arming college students, it is about disarming adults that have gone through the process of obtaining permission to carry a concealed weapon nearly anywhere else, and demanding that they too, must be defenseless despite their efforts.

I went to college in the '60s and while we needed some growing up time also, I think that the colleges today are run by the most narcissistic and libertine of my generation and because of that, the behaviour of the students is worse than ever. Perhaps with the exclusion of the service academies and the state military colleges.

Posted by: RRRoark at April 20, 2007 01:40 PM


Speaking as a former college professor, I think I've known more students I would trust with a firearm than professors. I'm sure there are more students with military training.

Some individuals will feel they can be disciplined enough to take on the responsibility of carrying a weapon. While many college students can't many can. Why should you make the decision on who can or cannot accept the responsibility?

Posted by: Mike S. at April 20, 2007 01:43 PM


Ever fired a gun? Ever had any training in firing a weapon? Thought not. Fact is you are afraid of them. So be it. There are others that are not. So be it. Individual choice.

And your statement that other industrial nations with less guns have less gun-violence. Welll....Duh... But what about other types of violence? Have your correlated the other weapons that are available and how often they are used? Bet not.

Posted by: Specter at April 20, 2007 03:35 PM

Well, your idea is a little more restrictive than I'd prefer, but we can talk about it like reasonable gentlemen. But what I _really_ want to know is...

...what you got against God's own caliber (.45LC), son? ;-)

Okay, I see you said "comparable cartridge," and I don't know offhand what contortions one would have to go through to carry a Single Action Army (no durn derringers, thanks) concealed, but by gum, .45LC needs to be mentioned specifically. :-D

Posted by: Oldsmoblogger at April 20, 2007 04:12 PM

CY, obviously a real man-stopping caliber would be better. Nonetheless, I repeat that a weapon which is actually carried, which is shootable, and which is practiced with, has more valuable than a 1911, an M4, or a .50 BMG left at home.

Yes, you can get (for a pretty price!) a Kahr K9 or a scandium S&W five-shot, and they will fit in a pocket or purse *almost* as well as a .25 Beretta, a baby Browning or a Seecamp .32. Though they inevitably weigh more, esp. with ammo.

However, consider shootability. Not only is the ammo considerably more expensive, leading to less practice (especially with your mandatory Glasers at, what, $1/round?), but the weapon itself is a bucking bronco. Try firing some hot .38 +P+ (or whatever Glasers are loaded to) out of that fourteen-ounce snubby.

Muzzle blast anyone? Noise? Not to mention recoil? How do you think controlled pairs will work with that for a freshman girl or a 120-lb boy who got it for a commencement or going-away present and, with all good intent, has fired with it perhaps a dozen qualifying rounds, or none?

A .22 or a .25 will indeed kill a man. It won't do so in all circumstances, but will in some. It will certainly hurt. If you don't agree, please allow me to shoot you with one. I don't insist upon a head shot - but at ten feet in a classroom, I would feel better about that with a .22 I've shot off a box of Vipers with every weekend on the range, than with a .38 or a nine or a .45 that makes me flinch every time I pull the trigger.

(I like the .45 just fine, thanks, but everyone with a right and an incentive to carry is not like me.)

Obviously the .25 has little to recommend it over a .22 - except centerfire reliability. Bond, of course, was a fictional character. You might as well go with a .32 at least, at that point. However, anything I can hit with will at least help.

In Europe (yeah, yeah) they don't sneeze at the smaller calibers. Even in this country, the .32 used to be the police load till the Drug War kicked up stories about "cocaine-crazed Negroes" who didn't stop when "asked," hence the advent of the .38.

Some people sneer at the .38 or 9mm as with the Philippines experience when they decided on a .45 after the juramentados failed to lay down and die. Some people refuse to die when shot with .45s, for that matter. And body armor is a real threat, whether in the form of a Cho vest stuffed with magazines that will deflect a round, or Russian Kevlar worn by Chechen Beslan types.

Let's take your worst case scenario - Cho is shot with a .22 and does not drop dead right there. Fine, so instead of shooting everybody, he...shoots them twice? At least he may soon drop from blood loss, instead of going on till he runs out of ammunition. Or he may come to his senses.

Also, as a fellow like you knows, most of those 2 million defensive gun uses succeed without the need to fire a shot. The mere menace of the pointed weapon often suffices. Not everybody - killers no less than students - will keep coming in the face of a muzzle of whatever size.

In short...the perfect is the enemy of the good. If you were in the school and some scared kid passed you a .22 or a Raven .25, would you turn it down? I doubt it.

If you want to ban magnum calibers, FMJ, PDW rounds, there is some point to that (though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for kids to bring 4.7 to class), but a nice .44 Magnum, say a Bulldog loaded with .44 Specials, or a .357 Mag loaded with .38s, is a popular choice.

I agree on no FMJs, personally, but what of a GI with no choice? Or a new weapon that needs a throat job and until then won't feed hollowpoints (or Glasers) reliably? Shot selection is key as always. (And at VT, at least, the walls are concrete and would do a fair job of holding in strays.)

Me? Probably a 1911 in .45 or 10mm Auto (is that OK?), worn in the small of my back (we are sitting at desks after all). IF I decided to have two or three pounds of iron on my belt that day - whereas the .22 would be more automatic (pardon the pun) to always have on hand.

Or one of those lovely Kahrs. But I can hit with a 1911 in .45. If you can't, the hell with you? I say no. Let some 98-pound cheerleader show us what she's got. It might be a nice surprise. If nothing else, it might scare the shooter off or disorient him so some linebacker in the next row can do his thing with bare hands or a desk.

BTW, one of Cho's weapons was a .22. Why bother, in his case? Why not a pair of wundernines?

Posted by: nichevo at April 20, 2007 04:15 PM

Specter, you're a little off the mark. I grew up in London, England, and Oklahoma. I learned to shoot a .22 when I was a kid, and had a 30.06 on the bedroom wall when I was in high school. I know how to shoot and clean a gun, and have plugged my share of rattlesnakes, water mocassins. Shot a rabid possum in the front yard one night, too. Whoop de doo. I'm not at all scared of guns. Bought my boy a pellet gun this last Christmas, and when he shows me he can be responsible with that, I'll get him a .22.

I've also lived somewhere where guns are rather uncommon.

My basic point of view is that rifles and shotguns have a purpose: Whether it's hunting, taking care of varmints, or whatever.

To me, handguns have one true purpose: Killing people. Now obviously you can target shoot and I'm sure hunt with a handgun. But like an automatic weapon, it's really only intended for one thing by design. Any other argument is disingenuous.

What I'm commenting on more than anything (and the discussion here is rational if a bit surreal) is that fact gun violence happens because we have guns. And guns enable a lot more wackos and chickenshits to kill people than knives, brass knuckles, or 2x4s do.

So, everyone here says the rational thing is to arm oneself in response. I'm saying the more rational position is to take the handguns away. Talking past the problem because there's something holy about all firearms is why we find ourselves here debating how we can arm more citizens instead of how to get rid of the guns.

And it's fine if people admire different weapons, and so forth. Fine if they collect, and whatever. Me, I'm more into military history and aircraft. But to each their own. I don't think liking guns makes a person a nut.

A lot more is at work with Chos of the world than just having access to guns.

But guns are powerful killing tools. And the more you have in circulation, the more they're going to be used. It's that simple. And so, I say fewer is better. It's not a stretch.

Posted by: OMG at April 20, 2007 06:21 PM

OMG, I can adapt any Coast Guard approved flare gun to fire any pistol cartridge ever made. The way to stop the murderering Chos is to arm the good guys, plain and simple.

Posted by: Tom TB at April 20, 2007 07:13 PM

27 CFR - Code of Federal Regulations, Title 27

Of special interest is 479.105 and how the media constantly distort what is and isn't a machine gun and inevitably fail to mention that production of new machine guns was halted in 1986.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at April 20, 2007 11:01 PM

CY: "R. Stanton Scott, you don't know jack. Sorry."

You know, it's a bit hard to know how to respond to this, because it's really pretty insulting. You seem to believe that because you spent time on a firing range and you can recite a bunch of specifications about guns and magazines you think you know more about how real people react in real crisis situations with firearms than a twenty year combat soldier.

Probably not. At any rate, if you really believe this, you must not have much faith in the Army that trained me. I don't know everything, but my profession is preparing people of college age to deal with these situations. I think I have a clue.

Sure, some armed students would wait for the fight to come to them, but many would not. Many would probably be as off-center as our VT gunman, and would acquire concealed carry permits and handguns in the express hope that something like this would happen, so they could be a hero.

This is a fact of life. Someone--especially young someones--would do something stupid. Without proper training, they would go off half-cocked, and if you think no one would try to be Rambo--that every one of the young students you think should be armed would behave as if they had years of police or military training, you are not really thinking. They would make the situation worse, guaranteed.

I am not a knee-jerk gun control nut. Like OMG, I understand that they have their place. You can't just call me a liberal and say that I have no clue what I am talking about just because I disagree with you. It's pretty silly to think that a few days at a range and a safety class qualifies people to conduct police or military operations. It literally takes years to properly train a police officer or a soldier. Average citizens may be able to defend their homes from intruders with handguns, though I would suggest that this is only possible if the intruder himself is untrained and nervous. But they cannot conduct clearing operations in what amounts to a combat situation without training and coordination of efforts, and they will not have the presence of mind to know that they are incapable of doing so.

Arming these students would simply not stop a gunman like this VT nutjob. I would likely just mean more people would be killed by a bunch of untrained yahoos running through the halls of a classroom building playing Rambo. This does not mean we should ban guns. But it means that the solution is not to arm everyone.

I spent twenty freakin' years slogging through the mud defending you while you were playing he-man by learning a lot about handguns and shooting them on weekends. You think I don't know jack?

I know Jack. We deployed together. And we're both calling BS.

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at April 21, 2007 07:47 AM

please read the second amendment to the US Constitution

Posted by: mark derkin at April 21, 2007 05:55 PM

You mean the part where it says "well regulated?"

Posted by: R. Stanton Scott at April 21, 2007 10:47 PM

Way too complicated. Why not just remove the prohibition on concealed carry, but not the prohibition on keeping firearms in dorm rooms? That would handle almost all your requirements, just by virtue of already-existing state and federal laws: nobody who's under 21, nobody who can't pass a background check, and (in most states) nobody who can't pass a course and range test. What's with micro-managing all the fine details--especially when liberalized concealed carry hasn't turned out to be a problem anywhere it's been instituted?

Posted by: Kirk Parker at April 21, 2007 10:55 PM