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Pretend "Gun Free" School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction

Pretend "Gun Free" School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Douva on Apr 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/25/2013

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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1369783
 
515
CONNECTICUT
LAW REVIEW
V
OLUME
42 D
ECEMBER
2009 N
UMBER
2
Article
Pretend ―Gun
-F
ree‖ School Zones:
A Deadly Legal Fiction
D
AVID
B.
 
K
OPEL
 
 Most states issue permits to carry a concealed handgun for lawful protection to an applicant who is over twenty-one years of age, and who passes a fingerprint-based background check and a safety class. These permits allow the person to carry a concealed defensive handgun almost everywhere in the state. Should professors, school teachers, or adult college and graduate students who have such permits be allowed to carry firearms on campus? In the last two years, many state legislatures have debated this topic.School boards, regents, and administrators are likewise faced withdecisions about whether to change campus firearms policies. This Articleis the first to provide a thorough analysis of the empirical evidence and  policy arguments regarding licensed campus carry. Whether a reader agrees or disagrees with the
 Article‟ 
s policy recommendations, the Articlecan lay the foundation for a better-informed debate, and a more realisticanalysis of the issue.
 
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1369783
 
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Pretend ―Gun
-F
ree‖ School Zones:
A Deadly Legal Fiction
D
 AVID
B.
 
OPEL
*
 I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
 This Article analyzes the law and policy regarding the licensedcarrying of firearms in K
 – 
12 schools and in colleges and universities. TheArticle suggests that absolute bans have proven to be extremely dangerous,because they turn schools into uniquely attractive targets for massmurderers. The Article focuses on prohibitions applied to people who havealready been licensed to carry a handgun for lawful protection in publicplaces. The Article does not address the bans as applied to persons whohave not obtained or could not obtain such a permit
 — 
such as those underthe age of twenty-one in most states.Part II of this Article surveys the legal, factual, and politicalbackground. Part III describes current programs, in the United States andelsewhere, in which teachers or students are allowed or required to carryfirearms for defense. Part IV examines empirical evidence about whetherarmed defenders can deter or interrupt mass killers at schools, and whetherarmed defenders have done so. Part V analyzes various objections tocampus defense, with particular attention to the argument that facultyand/or adult students are so dangerous that they should not be allowed tocarry arms. Part V also addresses the issue of unarmed victims being toldnever to fight back.This Article does not argue in favor of one particular method forauthorizing already-licensed people to carry firearms on campus. On theone hand there is Utah law, which allows firearms carrying and possessionby anyone with a concealed handgun carry permit
 — 
including indormitories for students aged twenty-one or over.
1
On the other hand,there was the Nevada Board of Regents proposal to allow carry only by
*
David Kopel is Adjunct Professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at Denver University SturmCollege of Law, Research Director of the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado, and AssociatePolicy Analyst with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. He has also served as an Assistant AttorneyGeneral for the State of Colorado and an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. He received his B.A. with highest honors from Brown University, and his J.D., magna cumlaude, from the University of Michigan Law School. He is the author or co-author of twelve books,including the only law school textbook on firearms law and policy,
Gun Control and Gun Rights
,published by NYU Press. The author would like to thank Nicholas Johnson, Don & Che Kates, HenrySchaffer, and Eugene Volokh for helpful suggestions.
1
 
See infra
note 76 and accompanying text.

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