Guns on Campus: A History

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  1. 1.

    Claire Simms, “Guns on Georgia Campuses Could Be Allowed July 1,” Georgia Public Broadcasting News, May 28, 2014,; Adam Strunk, “House Bill Would Allow Students to Carry Guns on Campus,” Wichita Eagle,, February 13, 2012,

  2. 2.

    Monte Whaley, “Colorado Supreme Court Affirms that CU Students with Permits Can Carry Concealed Guns on Campus,” Denver Post, March 5, 2012,; Regents of Univ. of Colorado v. Students, 271 P.3d 496 (Colo. 2012).

  3. 3.

    University of Utah v. Shurtleff, 144 P.3d 1109 (Utah 2006); Ben Gose, “Dispute Over Guns at the University of Utah May Test Academic Freedom,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 20, 2002,; University of Utah, “Policy 6-400: Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (“Student Code”),” §III(A)(7), Regulations Library,

  4. 4.

    University of Utah, “Policy 6-316: Code of Faculty Rights and Responsibilities,” Regulations Library,, has no references to firearms or weapons. University of Utah, “Policy 1-004: Violence in the Workplace and Academic Environment,” Regulations Library,, defines “Weapons” and “Violence in the Workplace or Academic Environment,” but these apply only to “approaching or threatening another with a weapon.”

  5. 5.

    Allie Grasgreen, “Guns Come to Campuses,” Inside Higher Education, October 3, 2011,; Bill Graves, “Oregon University System Will Not Appeal Court Decision Allowing Guns on Campus,” Oregonian, November 8, 2011,

  6. 6.

    Bill Graves, “Oregon State Board of Higher Education Resorts to Policy to Ban Guns on Campus,” Oregonian, March 2, 2012,

  7. 7.

    Mark R. Hinkston, “Wisconsin’s Concealed Carry Law: Protecting Persons and Property,” Wisconsin Lawyer 85, no. 7 (July 2012),; University of Wisconsin System, “FAQ: Concealed Carry,” Office of General Counsel, Legal Topics,

  8. 8.

    Scott Maben, “Idaho Colleges Get Ready for Concealed Weapons on Campus,” Seattle Times, May 24, 2014,

  9. 9.

    Somewhat dated now, but an introduction to the history of and initial effects of these laws can be found in Clayton E. Cramer and David P. Kopel, “‘Shall Issue’: The New Wave of Concealed Handgun Permit Laws,” Tennessee Law Review 62, no. 3 (Spring 1995): 679–757.

  10. 10.

    United States Government Accountability Office, Gun Control: States’ Laws and Requirements for Concealed Carry Permits Vary across the Nation, Report to Congressional Requesters, GAO-12-717 (Washington, DC: United States Government Accountability Office, 2012), “Highlights” and 75–77,

  11. 11.

    U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics, “U.S. Murder and Nonnegligent Homicide Rates, 1960–2012,” accessible at, following from 8.3/100,000 population in 1987 to 4.7/100,000 in 2012.

  12. 12.

    Bob Spencer, March 8, 2014 (8:05 a.m.), comment on Russ Newell, “Guns on Campus,” letter to the editor, Fairbanks, Alaska,, March 6, 2014,

  13. 13.

    Editorial, “Guns on University Campuses: Whether to Allow the Concealed Carry of Firearms Is a Potent Topic,” Fairbanks Daily News,, February 25, 2014,

  14. 14.

    Tribble v. State Board of Education, CV-2011-0069 (Latah D.C. Idaho 2011), 24,

  15. 15.

    Michael L. Smith, “Second Amendment Challenges to Student Housing Firearms Bans: The Strength of the Home Analogy,” UCLA Law Review 60, no. 4 (2013): 1056–58,

  16. 16.

    Ibid., 9–10.

  17. 17.

    Associated Press, “Va. Tech Killings Underscore Guns-on-Campus Campaign,” WTOP 103.5 FM, August 12, 2007,

  18. 18.

    See the testimony of Prof. Kimberly McAdams in George Prentice and Jessica Murri, “Idaho Senate Committee Pushes Through Guns on Campus Bill Without Hearing Testimony from U of I, Law Enforcement,” City Desk, Boise Weekly, February 12, 2014,

  19. 19.

    “Town and Gown,” Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World, ed. Karen Christensen and David Levinson, vol. 4 (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2003), 1388–89.

  20. 20.

    Cecil Headlam, The Story of Oxford (London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1907), quoted in Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization, 9th ed. (Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2014), 258.

  21. 21.

    Blake Gumprecht, The American College Town (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), 297.

  22. 22.

    Dorceta E. Taylor, The Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s–1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 65.

  23. 23.

    Orrin Z. Hubbell, A University Tramp (Elkhart, IN: G.W. Butler, 1889), 98; Mrs. John Philip Newman, European Leaflets for Young Ladies (New York: John F. Baldwin, 1862), 73.

  24. 24.

    For an overview of the regional nature of dueling in early America, see my Concealed Weapon Laws of the Early Republic: Dueling, Southern Violence, and Moral Reform (Westport, CN: Praeger, 1999), 50–62.

  25. 25.

    David A. Hoekema, Campus Rules and Moral Community: In Place of In Loco Parentis (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994), 12–13.

  26. 26.

    David S. Garland, Lucius P. McGehee, and James Cockcroft, ed., The American and English Encyclopaedia of Law, 2nd ed. (Northport, Long Island, NY: Edward Thompson Company, 1900), 16:262.

  27. 27.

    Jonathan Karl, “Twenty-Five Years of 18-Year-Old Voting,”, June 28, 1996,

  28. 28.

    For a collection of colonial- and revolutionary-era militia statutes, see “Militia Statutes,” under “Primary Historical Sources,”,

  29. 29.

    Rhode Island, Acts and Laws of His Majesties Colony of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations in America (Boston: Printed by John Allen, for Nicholas Boone, at the Sign of the Bible in Cornhill, 1719), 222–23.

  30. 30.

    The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, comp. Allen D. Candler (Atlanta, GA: C.P. Byrd, state printer, 1910–1911), 19, pt. 2: 348, 353.

  31. 31.

    New Jersey, Acts of the Council and General Assembly of the State of New-Jersey: From the Establishment of the Present Government, and Declaration of Independence, to the End of the First Sitting of the Eighth Session, on the 24th day of December, 1783; with the Constitution Prefixed. To Which Is Annexed, an Appendix, Containing the Articles of Confederation of the United States, &c. With Two Alphabetical Tables and an Index. Compiled under the Appointment of the Legislature, by Peter Wilson, A.M. (Trenton: Printed by Isaac Collins, printer to the state of New-Jersey, 1784), 65.

  32. 32.

    Connecticut, Acts and Laws of the State of Connecticut, in America (New-London: Printed by Timothy Green, printer to the governor and State of Connecticut, 1791), 144.

  33. 33.

    William Waller Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia from the First Session of the Legislature in the Year 1619 (Richmond, VA: Printed for the editor at the Franklin Press, 1820), 7:94–95, available at

  34. 34.

    Hening, The Statutes at Large (Richmond, VA: Printed for the editor, George Cochran, Printers, 1823), 12:10, available at

  35. 35.

    Ronald A. Smith, Sports and Freedom: The Rise of Big-Time College Athletics (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 9–10.

  36. 36.

    Waterville College, Laws of Waterville College, Maine (Hallowell, ME: Glazier, Masters, & Co., 1832), 11.

  37. 37.

    “University of Nashville,” American Annals of Education and Instruction, for the Year 1837, comp. William A. Walcott, ed. William C. Woodbridge (Boston: Otis, Broaders, & Co., 1837), 7:185.

  38. 38.

    Trustees, Kemper College, The Laws of Kemper College Near Saint Louis, Missouri (St. Louis, MO: Churchill & Harris, Printers, 1840), 9.

  39. 39.

    “Laws of McKenzie College,” in Education in Texas: Source Materials, comp. Fredrick Eby, University of Texas Bulletin, Education Series No. 2 (April 25, 1918): 392–33.

  40. 40.

    Board of Trustees, Dickinson College, The Statutes of Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA: Printed by George Fleming, 1830), 22–23.

  41. 41.

    Albion Female College, Eighteenth Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Students of the Albion Female College, and Wesleyan Seminary (Albion, MI: L.W. Cole, Printer, Weekly Mirror Press, 1860), 32.

  42. 42.

    “Unfortunate and Distressing Occurrence” (Tuscumbia), North Alabamian, April 21, 1837, 2.

  43. 43.

    “Circular Letter of the Faculty of La Grange College” (Tuscumbia), North Alabamian, May 5, 1837.

  44. 44.

    Acts of the General Assembly and Ordinances of the Trustees, for the Organization and Government of the University of North-Carolina (Raleigh, NC: Office of the Raleigh Register, 1838), 31.

  45. 45.

    Oakland College, Constitution and Laws of the Institution of Learning under the Care of the Mississippi Presbytery (Carlisle, PA: Herald-Office, 1831), 10.

  46. 46.

    Illinois State Historical Society, “Laws of Illinois College, 1850,” Papers in Illinois History and Transactions (Springfield, IL: Board of Trustees, Illinois State Historical Society, 1906), 254.

  47. 47.

    Nat Brandt, The Town That Started the Civil War (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990), 71–88.

  48. 48.

    Oberlin College, Laws and Regulations of Oberlin College, 11th ed. (Oberlin, OH: Shankland and Harmon, 1859), 11.

  49. 49.

    Yale College, The Laws of Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut, Enacted by the President and Fellows the Sixth Day of October, A.D., 1795 (New Haven, CT: Thomas Green and Son, 1800), 13.

  50. 50.

    R.H. Thompson, George Garrett Dillard, and R.B. Campbell, prepared for the Mississippi State Legislature, The Annotated Code of the General Statute Laws of the State of Mississippi (Nashville, TN: Marshall & Bruce, Law Publishers, 1892), §1030.

  51. 51.

    Kentucky University, Catalogue of Kentucky University, Lexington, Kentucky, 1890–1891, 23.

  52. 52.

    “Annual Report Number of the Connecticut Agricultural College at Storrs, Connecticut for the Fiscal Year 1908–1909,” in University of Connecticut, College of Agriculture, Extension Service C.A.C. Bulletin 6, no. 4 (January-March 1910 ): 6:48.

  53. 53.

    National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Constructive Changes to Ease Campus Tensions (Washington, DC: Office of Institutional Research, 1970), 8–16.

  54. 54.

    Ibid., 49–50.

  55. 55.

    Ibid., 53.

  56. 56.

    Ibid., 50.

  57. 57.

    Ibid., 51.

  58. 58.

    Amy Thompson, James H. Price, Adam J. Mrdjenovich, and Jagdish Khubchandani, “Reducing Firearm-Related Violence on College Campuses—Police Chiefs’ Perceptions and Practices,” Journal of American College Health 58, no. 3 (November-December 2009): 251, table 4.

  59. 59.

    National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Changes, 52–54.

  60. 60.

    Thompson et al., “Reducing Firearm-Related Violence,” 247.

  61. 61.

    Matthew Miller, David Hemenway, and Henry Wechsler, “Guns and Gun Threats at College,” Journal of American College Health 51, no. 2 (September 2002): 59; 86 percent of gun-owning students lived off campus compared to 57 percent of non-gun-owning students.

  62. 62.

    Ibid., 60, table 1.

  63. 63.

    Thompson et al., “Reducing Firearm-Related Violence,” 250, table 1.

  64. 64.

    Miller, Hemenway, and Wechsler, “Guns and Gun Threats,” 61.

  65. 65.


  66. 66.


  67. 67.

    Ibid., 60, table 1.

  68. 68.

    Ibid., 251, table 4.

  69. 69.

    Ibid., 250, table 2.

  70. 70.


  71. 71.

    Rob Benford, “A Campus Gun-Free Zone Movement,” in Sociologists in Action: Sociology, Social Change, and Social Justice, ed. Kathleen Odell Korgen, Jonathan M. White, and Shelley K. White, 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc., 2014), 117–18.

  72. 72.

    Ibid., 118–19.

  73. 73.

    Ibid., 123.

  74. 74.

    Ibid., 120.

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Correspondence to Clayton E. Cramer.

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Cramer, C.E. Guns on Campus: A History. Acad. Quest. 27, 411–425 (2014).

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  • College Campus
  • Police Chief
  • Militia Duty
  • Student Housing
  • Firearm Owner