Concealed Weapons on College Campuses

The Texas legislature seems likely to pass a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons on campus. Having observed enough shootings of professors by students in the U.S. over the past 45 years, I think this is a dreadful idea. But it has interesting implications for wages. Some people who might be willing to take jobs at Texas campuses will be hesitant to do so. Unless there are enough others who welcome guns on campus, which I doubt, Texas universities will have to pay professors more — have to pay a compensating differential for the risk of being shot — or will be hiring lower-quality faculty members than before. Interestingly, although there are many more undergrad than grad students, it seems like the large majority of shootings of professors have been by grad students. Assuming that’s true, the new law will cause a change in wage differences between those who teach mostly undergrads and those who teach most grads, since teaching grads will become relatively riskier. I doubt that our legislators thought about the extra labor costs, or the diminution of quality, that their ideas are likely to create.


While I agree with your impression that it is a dreadful idea, does it really change that much? Someone who is crazy enough to bring a gun to kill a professor is probably going to be able to do it regardless of whether the gun is "allowed" or not. I never buy the argument that gun-rights people make that more people having guns makes others safer, however.


No it's not knowing who has a gun and who does not that makes you safer. That is why you need concealed guns. With open carry, who has a gun is obvious.


To an overseas observer, the concealed guns on campus issue looks similar to the plan to set loose tigers to eat the mongooses you let loose to curb the cats you had to bring in to deal with the mice.


> Having observed enough shootings of professors by students in the U.S. over the past 45 years, I think this is a dreadful idea.

I'm sure others will point this out, but this doesn't seem like a logical statement. The implied assumption is that regulations against guns on campus have prevented additional professorial shootings. I doubt that a deranged grad student who is about to perpetrate a murder suicide cares too much about a rule against guns on campus.


Seems like there's a logical leap here... I think you're assuming without evidence that people possessing guns legally on campus will actually increase the risk of professor shootings.

Eric M. Jones

As Robert Heinlein said, "A well-armed society is a polite society".

I would, however, allow drinking whiskey in a gun-totting classroom to spoil their aim.

I know, I graduated with a 4.0 BAC


Interesting, the first thing that came to mind is that I would imagine that everyone would be safer with an unknown amount of guns on a campus, as someone would pick another target for their rampage (like that town somewhere that passed a law required each household to own a gun?). Perhaps the guns wouldn't be perceived as a safety factor and you might have to pay them more.

And just out of curiosity, how many of those student shootings were by people who were licensed to carry a concealed weapon? I would imagine it's right around zero.

Let's run some studies where students start packing heat and see how crime rates near campus are affected :)


I will be more interested when the Texas legislature votes to allow the public to carry concealed weapons into Texas state buildings, including the governor's mansion, the capitol building, and the legislative chambers.

What's good for the goose...


Sorry, snark failure. The Texas Statehoue already allows carry. In fact you don't have to go through the metal detector if you have a carry permit




Are you really going to say that someone who decides to shoot a professor will be deterred by a law that prevents them from carrying a gun?

The law didn't prevent the ones in the past that you "observed."


If someone is angry/deranged enough to shoot a professor, I doubt that outlawing concealed carry is going to stop them. I would be stunned if this had a significant effect on professor shootings or wages. I think a far greater risk is at on-campus parties.

Either way, constitutional rights shouldn't be denied on state property.


....So the shootings you have observed were done by people who had legally obtained guns and were allowed to carry them on campus? It seems to me the more law abiding folks with guns the better - we don't worry about security officers or police on campus with guns....


Of all those professor shootings you have observed, how many were carried out by students who were legally owning and carrying the firearm involved? I'd imagine that percentage is pretty low.


I can't help but feel that part of the problem might be with how you treat students if you're so worried about them shooting you that you need danger money.


You may want to keep in mind that it's not the people legally carrying weapons that are shooting professors and teachers. Odds are it will have zero impact on anything.


Concealed-carry permit holders seem like the people who are least likely to open fire in a classroom. As a community college professor, I'd rather have a room full of concealed-carry permit holders than one guy carrying without a permit (which is impossible to prevent, by the way).


Presumably professors will be allowed to carry concealed weapons as well as students. Wouldn't some professors see this as a benefit of getting a job in Texas?

Also, you're making a debatable assumption when you suggest that allowing concealed weapons on campus increases the likelihood of a professor being shot. One might just as well believe that allowing concealed weapons on campus decreases the likelihood of a professor being shot, since the number of lawful citizens with concealed weapons will obviously greatly outweigh the number of murderers with concealed weapons, and murderers, especially suicide murderers (*), tend not to care about concealed weapons laws.

(*) Shooting your professor in the middle of a classroom where the other students are allowed to have concealed weapons, is highly likely to be a suicide mission.


OK so crazy people will conceal weapons whether it is legal or not, but if they are banned I can assume that someone with a gun shaped bulge in their jeans is a crazy person and do something about it before they start shooting. What about accidents, heat of the moment crimes? What do you do if someone tries to take your wallet and you have a gun - shoot them?! Carry pepper spray, an alarm but a lethal weapon?