Statement Opposing "Campus Carry" Laws

By Kelly Hand

The AAUP joined in issuing a statement in November opposing “campus carry” laws proposed or enacted in response to recent incidents of gun violence on campuses and elsewhere. Other signatories to the statement were the American Federation of Teachers, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Rejecting the notion that “campus carry” laws—already approved in eight states—make campuses safer, the statement calls for the repeal of these laws where they exist and opposes new legislation. The signatories recommend that colleges and universities rely on trained and equipped professional law-enforcement personnel to respond to emergencies and that they include faculty and staff in critical incident training.

The statement alludes to the chilling effect that the presence of guns is likely to have on the free exchange of ideas. It includes a comment from William Raven, chancellor for the University of Texas system and a former member of the Navy SEALs who rose to the rank of admiral. Having opposed passage of “campus carry” legislation in his state, he said, “If you’re in a heated debate with somebody in the middle of a classroom and you don’t know whether or not that individual is carrying, how does that inhibit the interaction between students and faculty?”

Supporting efforts to make campuses as safe and weapon-free as possible, the signatories call on state legislative bodies to refrain from interfering with decisions that are properly the responsibility of the academic community.