Tags: darren | bush | guns

Associate Law Professor Argues Against Arming Students

By John Lott   |   Tuesday, 25 Jan 2011 11:27 AM

Darren Bush, an associate law professor at the University of Houston, wrote an Op-Ed last weekend for the Salt Lake Tribune. What is most disappointing is that I debated Bush at the University of Houston last fall.

He made hypothetical claims about armed students fighting over parking spaces, but I challenged him then to provide some examples among young permit holders off of campus and he couldn't.

For the obvious reason that such a case doesn't exist, he has still not been able to refer to an example. But he still uses it as a serious concern.

He says, "No proof exists that concealed weapons deter crime in any setting." This statement is simply inaccurate. I debated Bush last fall where I went through the overwhelming majority of studies support my results.

Among peer-reviewed studies in academic journals by criminologists and economists, 18 studies examining national data find that right-to-carry laws reduce violent crime, 10 indicate no discernible effect, and none finds a bad effect from the law.

Among non-refereed studies, three find drops in crime and two say either no effect or possibly small increases in crime. A list is available here, though I would also add my book, "More Guns, Less Crime," and another recent paper in the Journal of Law and Economics.

He decries the risk of students carrying concealed handguns. As the third edition of my book "More Guns, Less Crime" shows, permit holders generally are extremely law-abiding, and there is no evidence that even in those states where people ages 18 to 20 can carry that they behave any differently.

During my debate with Bush, he could not provide a single example in Utah or Colorado where a younger permit holder on campuses behaved in the manner he hypothesized nor in the period prior to the early 1990s before universities in right-to-carry states had these prohibitions on students or faculty or staff carrying these guns.

I wrote up a discussion on Utah for the third edition of my book (University of Chicago Press, 2010). One can look up more recent information for Utah here.

Also take Arizona, which has been in the news recently. As of Dec. 1, 2007, there were 99,370 active permits. During 2007, 33 permits were revoked for any reason — a 0.03 percent rate — cases that did not involve using the gun to harm others. And this is true in state after state. Between Oct. 1, 1987 and Dec. 31, 2010, Florida issued permits to 1.9 million people. More than 160 permit holders had their permits revoked for any firearms related violation, a rate of 0.009 percent. During the last 36 months the revocation rate has been 0.0003 percent.

Bush claims that "contentious campus parking disputes if students are armed," but he provides not one single example in Texas or any other place where such an event involving a student type person has occurred off campus. With about 6.5 million current permit holders, Bush can't come up with even a few examples for a reason.

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