Concealed-carry activists at KU need more education

11/20/2013 3:08 PM

11/20/2013 5:34 PM

Here’s an extra lesson before the Thanksgiving break for the handful of students who wore empty holsters at the University of Kansas on Tuesday.

They were protesting the stalling of the university before it might have to allow concealed weapons on campus, a delay that is allowed by law.

But the KU chapter of Young Americans for Liberty didn’t use solid reasoning for much of its argument. Although in its defense, it should be noted that the students are hardly alone in swallowing the pitch that gun-free zones, like most schools, are lures for mass shooters.

This has become a rallying cry to put more guns in more places where they previously were banned — a twist to argue that a good student with a gun can take out a bad student with a gun.

The pitch makes the common mistake of citing correlation as a cause. It presumes to know the mindset of mass killers and stretches both motive and means. Sorry, but facts don’t support the contention.

Mass shooters tend to have a connection to the places they target. Think of shootings in places where the shooter worked, went to school or had some grievance.

Mother Jones dissected more than 60 mass shootings during the past 30 years and didn’t find one case where the shooter indicated that the location was picked because it was a gun-free zone. Even more concrete was the February study of FBI data by Mayors Against Illegal Guns that found less than a quarter of the mass shootings in the past four years occurred in gun-free zones.

The other leap is to believe that more guns in these places would be the answer. That’s the wannabe hero’s cry. But there’s no evidence for this.

So KU, like other state universities and colleges, is in the tough position of either allowing concealed carry owners their legal right to protect themselves or incurring the massive cost of hiring security staff or metal detectors to cover the entire campus.

KU understandably took the four-year exemption allowed by law. The students argue that undercuts their Second Amendment rights.

Young Americans for Liberty did wisely work with campus security, stressing that nothing would be in the holsters. They are also right in being offended by the sophomoric tweet of a KU professor who implied the children of National Rifle Association members deserve to be mass shooting victims.

But otherwise, more study and sound logic is necessary if these students want to help ensure that campuses remain safe.

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