Researcher argues case for guns on campus

Published: March 2nd, 2009

Category: News

Schools would be safer places if guns were allowed on campus, according to Dr. John Lott.

Lott, a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, argued Wednesday that those with concealed weapons permits should be allowed to carry them onto campus.

The Federalist Society brought Lott to campus.

Criminals do not care if guns are prohibited on school campuses, Lott said. In fact, it makes it easier for them to kill people, he argued.

“Rather than creating safe zones for victims, we’re creating them for criminals,” said Lott, who has written many books and articles on guns and gun control.

Lott argued that a criminal that wanted to kill many people on a campus would not go through the process of getting a proper permit. Nor would he or she worry about the punishment for bringing a gun on campus considering the other punishments coming or likely death of the criminal.

Lott conducted a study on multiple victim public shootings between 1977 and 1999 and found that all of the killers either died (75 percent) or expected to die (25 percent).

Because of that, there is no way to deter them from killing, so the only way to end their massacre would be to kill them first, Lott said.

The greater probability they would be stopped, the greater the deterrence, Lott said.

He said about three percent of Florida’s population has concealed weapons permits. If a killer went into a classroom, he or she would not know who had a gun and would not know who to shoot first. Instead of the killer being able to take many people out, someone would shoot him or her first, Lott said.

Lott argued that the media does not do a good job covering when a law-abiding citizen using a gun stops a potential crime.

In 2001, he said, the media wrote approximately 190,000 words on gun crimes, and not one story mentioned a citizen using a gun to protect himself or someone else.

And while Lott understands that a murder is more newsworthy than someone stopping a crime, he gave examples of newsworthy events that the media ignored that someone stopped the crime with a gun.

In 2002, at Appalachian Law School in Virginia, a shooter opened fire. A couple of students ran to their cars and got their guns and eventually subdued the shooter.

Out of 218 stories, only three mentioned that students subdued him with guns. One of the students was interviewed heavily and not quoted. Lott said every reporter knew about it, and 47 reporters interviewed one of the students that stopped the killer. The Washington Post said students pounced on the attacker but did not mention their guns.

Lott used statistics from Florida concealed weapons permits holders to address whether chaos would break out in the classroom. Between Oct. 1, 1987 and Dec. 31, 2008, Florida issued 1.46 million concealed weapons permits. Out of all of those, there have only been 166 weapons violations, and most of them were accidentally carrying a weapon into a gun-free zone, Lott said.

Further, Lott said that out of five million concealed weapons permit holders in the country in 2007, there were only nine murders.