NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 24, 2009

Mass public shootings are a horrific feature of modern life.  Many of the bloodiest examples of this scourge have occurred on college campuses.  Professors are particularly sensitive to this danger, say Theodore Day, a professor of finance, and Stan Liebowitz, the Ashbel Smith Professor of Economics, both at the University of Texas at Dallas, and Craig Pirrong, a professor of finance at the University of Houston.  All support a bill currently pending in the Texas Legislature that would permit the concealed carrying of firearms on college and university campuses in the state by holders of concealed-handgun permits.

According to the professors, any public policy involving matters of life and death should be decided only after weighing carefully the competing risks.  For example, examining the relevant facts and data indicates that permitting Texas permit holders to carry weapons on college campuses would improve safety because:

  • The best available empirical evidence shows that concealed-carry laws reduce the incidence of mass public shootings.
  • Mass public shootings occur almost exclusively in places -- like universities -- where concealed carry is proscribed.
  • There are numerous examples of firearms owners acting to disarm would-be mass murderers, thereby saving lives.
  • Concealed-handgun-permit holders are overwhelmingly law-abiding individuals.

If gun bans truly reduced the risk of mass public shootings, then gun-free zones would be refuges from such havoc.  Sadly, the exact opposite is true.  All multiple-victim public shootings in the United States with more than three fatalities have occurred where concealed handguns are prohibited.  Moreover, the worst primary and secondary school shootings have occurred in Europe, despite its draconian gun laws, say the professors.

Source: Theodore Day, Stan Liebowitz and Craig Pirrong, "Put guns on campus," Dallas Morning News, April 23, 2009.


Browse more articles on Government Issues