Only Utah allows students and teachers to carry weapons on college campuses. Most other states leave it to the discretion of university administrators. Nearly all, except Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia and Colorado State University, have declared that weapons on campus are a bad idea. The Washington Post reports that the Virginia Tech massacre gave rise to two opposing and equally passionate movements. Many of the victims’ friends and families founded Students for Gun Free Schools. They say guns are the last thing that college campuses, already hotbeds of hormones, alcohol and heated emotions, need.
A group called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus runs scenarios to demonstrate how armed students could help deter or stop attacks. The pro-gun group is winning the numbers game. Students for Gun Free Schools has about 12,000 members on Facebook. The Concealed Carry group, with members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, has more than 36,000. Efforts by gun rights advocates to allow students and teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus have not got out of committee in the gun-friendly Virginia legislature the past four years. Similar bills in a number of states since the Virginia Tech shooting have failed. Gun rights advocates say the battle is just beginning. And the battleground now, they say, is the hearts and minds and trigger fingers of students themselves. What better way to create converts and advocates, they say, than to put them in the shoes of Virginia Tech victims and let them feel the difference between being defenseless and having the power to take action.