(CNSNews.com) – “Stop colleges from trampling on the rights of good people wanting to defend themselves.” That is the message the group Students for Concealed Carry wants to send to state lawmakers around the country.
The grassroots, conservative organization of more than 40,000 supporters is sponsoring a national silent protest April 8-12, in which students will wear empty gun holsters to class to show that they are “defenseless” without guns on campus.
“For years, colleges have cultivated a deadly illusion that a gun-free policy makes us safer,” said the organization’s spokesman David Burnett.
“The mass shootings we’ve seen in recent years only prove killers don’t play by the rules. Today we’re calling on legislators in every state to change those rules and stop colleges from trampling on the rights of good people wanting to defend themselves,” he said.
Burnett added: “The current rule guarantees criminals a free shot. Allowing licensed concealed carry would give potential attackers pause and ultimately give innocent victims a fighting chance.”
The group’s legal liaison, Alan Baker said that for years, colleges “have been allowed to usurp the roles of elected officials” by banning concealed carry.
Permit-holders are cleared to carry in public by their governor, their legislature, their state police and the FBI, he said.
“Posting signs requiring them to leave their guns at home is an ineffective and discriminatory practice, making the campus more appealing to criminals,” Baker said.
Burnett said more than 130 colleges participated is last year’s national silent protest, in which students wore empty gun holsters to class to show that they are “defenseless” without guns.
Burnett said the organization’s idea of carrying guns on campus has been “criticized” by gun-control groups who say more guns would lead to more crime.
One of those groups, Students for Gun-Free Schools, told CNSNews.com that the college and university campus environment is not similar to other places that permit concealed handguns and that the learning environment would be “highly distorted” if guns were allowed.
“Our college and university campuses are among the safest places to be in the nation with a less than 1 percent homicide rate and over 90 percent of crime committed against college students happening off-campus,” said Julie Gavran, spokeswoman for Students for Gun-Free Schools.
“Just like other unique environments such as large sports arenas and stadiums, the majority of court houses, capitol buildings, and churches, the university offers a unique and safe environment that offers education and learning as the top priority,” she said.
Gavran added: “This is only preserved by not allowing a threatening atmosphere all while creating programs to enhance a student's cultural, psychological and educational well-being.”
The issue of guns and schools has been center stage since Dec. 14, when 20-year old Adam Lanza, reportedly using his mother’s guns, shot and killed 26 people (20 of whom were children) at Sadny Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
On Jan. 16, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden issued 23 executive orders relating to gun violence, including a call to Congress to renew the so-called assault weapons ban that took effect under President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 2004.
The renewed ban would also restrict the sale of ammunition clips that carry more than ten rounds of bullets, as well as require background checks for anyone purchasing a gun.
In addition, Obama’s gun control measures would include mental health resources in schools, funds to hire more police officers, and a so-called interstate gun trafficking statute.
The trafficking statute would make it illegal for someone to sell a gun to anyone with a background that prohibits them from owning a gun, thus encouraging more private gun sale owners to conduct background checks in an effort to reduce the number of criminals owning a gun.