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A tale of two universities: a comparison of college students’ attitudes about concealed carry on campus


In the aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, policymakers have sought ways to improve safety on college and university campuses nationwide, such as proposing to permit concealed carry license holders to carry on campus. To date, nine states—with Texas being the most recent—have enacted legislation implementing this measure. A limited body of research examines perceptions of students and other members of the campus community about these laws and their passage, with a focus on demographic variations in such attitudes. The present study extends this by considering the potential variation in attitudes by location. The results indicate that both region and gun ownership strongly predict attitudes favorable of such laws, but do so independent of one another. Additional findings, as well as limitations of the study, also are discussed.

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    It is important to note, however, that this study examined cases of gun assault rather than a mass shooting more specifically (see Branas et al. 2009).

  2. 2.

    The following link, which opened in a new browser window, was included here as an example of such regulations:

  3. 3.

    Although this analytic approach is the most appropriate, it does maintain certain limitations. Comparisons are made between each category of the dependent variable. This limits the inferences that can be made across categories of the dependent variable to only comparisons to the reference category, strongly agree. Furthermore, this categorization of the logistic regression analysis results in a loss of power in the regression estimates.

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    Multicollinearity was assessed using the variance inflation factor (VIF) and was not determined to reach problematically high levels (VIF < 4).

  5. 5.

    The Governor of Georgia signed a revised version of the state’s concealed carry on campus law into effect in May 2017, after the completion of the data collection period. This made Georgia the tenth state to permit concealed firearms on public college campuses.


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Correspondence to Jaclyn Schildkraut.

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Schildkraut, J., Jennings, K., Carr, C.M. et al. A tale of two universities: a comparison of college students’ attitudes about concealed carry on campus. Secur J 31, 591–617 (2018).

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  • Concealed carry on campus
  • Virginia Tech
  • Student perceptions
  • Campus safety
  • Firearms