Law Professor: Campus Carry ‘The Common Sense Solution’ to Campus Shootings

George Mason college student carries a gun on campus
Melissa Golden/AP Photo

On October 9 Charles Haywood–Purdue University associate professor of business law–contended that “the common sense solution” to campus shootings is campus carry, a mechanism that allows students and faculty the legal avenue of being armed on campus for self-defense.

Haywood has been teaching at Purdue for eleven years. He said that after the Umpqua Community College attack it dawned on him that his students are sitting ducks and he would “be helpless to defend them” if someone stormed his classroom.

Writing in The Exponent, Haywood said he has a concealed carry permit but is not allowed to carry his gun on campus for self-defense. He says the time has come to do away with this ban so that law-abiding citizens have a fighting chance in the event of an attack.

Haywood admitted that emotion plays into decision making when guns and school campuses are discussed in the same sentence, so he is asking people to step back and think rationally about campus carry. He offers three questions for people to ask themselves: “What’s the problem Purdue’s policy is designed to solve? What are the benefits of the policy? What are the costs?”

He quickly shows that the problem with banning campus carry is the simple reality that criminals do not recognize the ban, therefore it “will never stop premeditated murders, whether small or mass.” So it does not solve anything.

As to the second question–which was partially answered with the first question–Haywood points to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers which show “[concealed carry] permit holders commit crimes at a rate of 22.3 crimes of any type per 100,000 people, compared to a rate of 3,813 per 100,000 people in the general population.” In others, they are characterized by law-abiding tendencies.

He says this shows that people who want campus carry banned to keep concealed carry permit holders from committing campus crimes really have no evidence to support their position.

Lastly, Haywood addresses the cost of banning campus carry at Purdue thus:

As to costs of banning concealed carry, on a normal day there are minimal costs. [But] it’s on the not-normal days that the costs become incalculable. A nearby concealed carry holder at Umpqua, a college that formally banned all guns, could have ended the shooting. If Chris Mintz, who charged the gunman and got shot seven times, had instead had a gun, the Umpqua story would have ended differently.

These points are all part of Haywood’s rational appeal for campus carry at Purdue, And when you get down to it, what Haywood is really doing is simply asking the university to give law-abiding students permission to defend their lives in the face of danger.

Haywood said: “Concealed carry holders have stopped and deterred shootings numerous times around the country—just never in ‘gun free’ zones like Purdue, where no law-abiding person has a gun.”

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at


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