Campus Carry and Sexual Assault

The gun lobby would like you to think that campus carry is the solution to sexual assault on college campuses because they want to sell more guns. They are pushing the idea that guns are an equalizer and that women need to carry guns to be on equal footing with men. Not only does this assume that women are naturally inferior to men and need a rather phallic object designed to kill in order to be equal, it presumes that there are no other means of self defense (not to mention the reinforcement of the gender binary).  The gun lobby presents rape as something that is perpetrated by strangers, although factually 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, according to RAINN (The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). 

In fact, most female homicide victims were also murdered by men they knew, and usually with a gun. A 2015 Violence Policy Center report says that 15 times as many females were murdered by a male they knew than were killed by male strangers, and that females were most often killed in the course of an argument– usually with a firearm. A 1997 study identified the ownership of firearms as a risk factor for the violent death of women, “Instead of conferring protection, keeping a gun in the home is associated with increased risk of both suicide and homicide of women.” In fact, “the presence of a gun in a case of domestic violence makes it five times more likely that the victim will be murdered, regardless of who owns the gun.”

Guns do nothing to protect women in domestic violence situations, and we have no reason to believe they will do anything to protect women from sexual assault on college campuses. A 2017 study from Youngstown State University, “Arming the academy: How carry-on-campus impact incidence of reported sexual assault crimes” concluded that laws allowing guns on campus have not reduced the numbers of reported sexual assaults. In a 2017 study, “Concealed Handguns on Campus: A Multi-Year Crime Study,” Julie Gavran showed that “crime on campuses where concealed handguns are permitted rose after the implementation of the law in the category of sexual assault, while remaining steady in murder, robbery and aggravated assault.” The study disproves the claim that “the possible present of individuals carrying concealed weapons equals less crime” and the findings suggest “laws allowing concealed weapons on campus are not effective in reducing violent crime rates, especially sexual assault.

It’s also important to note that trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming individuals are not generally included in data on gun violence, but according to the Human Rights Campaign, 8 to 15% of trans individuals are killed by their intimate partners every year. We don’t know how many of those murders were committed with guns. We can logically assume, however, that like the statistics for cis-women show, the presence of a gun in the home or on one’s college campus will increase the risk of being killed by it for trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming individuals too.

Guns do not protect anyone from sexual assault. #failcampuscarry