Tom DiGennaro | United States
The vast majority of college campuses do not allow campus carry. In fact, 16 states completely outlaw it. Pennsylvania and Virginia are two of the 23 states that allow campuses to set their own policies for firearms.
Campus Carry Bans: The Consequence
Though these states and schools act with good intentions, their policies have disastrous consequences. In many cases, they leave both men and women unable to defend themselves against sexual assault. Though colleges usually have numerous blue light alert poles to protect women, none have a reaction time as fast as a firearm, and it has shown.
Below, two women share their heartbreaking stories of sexual assault. Both trained to operate a gun, they were unable to do so due to their school’s restrictive campus carry policies.
Read more about nationwide campus carry laws here.
Savannah Lindquist grew up in Norfolk, VA. She felt safe because her pop-pop always carried his gun and taught her responsible gun ownership and safety. However, that all changed when she moved to Temple University in Philadelphia. During her senior year, she fell victim to a violent sexual assault/rape. A man she was in a casual relationship with decided he would not take no for an answer that night. Unfortunately for Savannah, (and fortunately for her attacker), she could not access her handgun at the time.
Savannah did not have access to her firearm when she needed it more than ever before. Why? Because Temple University does not allow concealed carry on campus. She spends the vast majority of her time on campus. Consequently, she also felt unsafe leaving her gun unattended in her apartment, due to high robbery rates. The tragic night of her rape, her means of defense was hundreds of miles south at her home in Norfolk.
Traumatized by her attack, Savannah relocated back to her home in Norfolk and attends Old Dominion University. However, ODU also prohibits her from carrying on campus, despite being a Virginia concealed carry permit holder. Savannah could not rely on campus security or law enforcement to protect her that fateful night. Nor can she in the future. She says, “If I would have had my pistol under my pillow that night I wouldn’t have to deal with all this”.
Amanda Collins from Nevada shares a very similar experience and opinion to Savannah Lindquist. “During my junior year at the University of Nevada-Reno, I was raped in the parking garage only feet away from the campus police office,” she says. Prior to her attack, she had obtained a Nevada state concealed carry permit. But like Savannah, she too was unable to legally carry on campus.
“Unfortunately, legislators opposed to campus carry are more intimidated by law-abiding citizens like me sitting in class with a legal firearm, than the rapist waiting for me in the parking garage,” she says, fully aware that her personal experience and beliefs will fall by the wayside as mass shootings fuel an emotional fear of guns.
If Savannah and Amanda had their guns on their hips, their accounts of the night they were attacked could have been very different. As #MeToo and other movements against sexual assault on women gain traction, one has to wonder how gun rights aren’t consistent with their platform. Embracing such a position could guard women against the horrific injustices that take place.
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