Opinion | It’s time to arm the good guy

good guy with a gun
Alec Harrington, senior political science major

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA.

Gun-free zones have become fashionable. Schools display gun-free zone signs as badges of honor when in reality, they’re targets. From 1950 to 2018, 97.8 percent of mass shootings in the United States occurred in gun-free zones, according to a study by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), leaving the occupants with one option: to wait minutes until the police arrive at the scene.

These victims have to wait for the police because the officers are armed with the right tools to stop an active shooter: firearms. The time between when a shooting starts and when a “good guy” with a gun is brought into the equation needs to be shortened to stop the “bad guy” as soon as possible. This wait time could be decreased from minutes to moments by giving students and staff who can obtain a concealed carry weapon license (CCW) the right to carry handguns on both private and public universities in California.

A CCW allows anyone who applies and meets certain requirements to carry a concealed handgun legally. In Orange County, this rigorous application process includes a background check, interview, police department-approved training, at least three character references and may include a psychological evaluation. If you are still skeptical of CCW holders, I would refer you to a CPRC report that found that concealed carry permit holders (of both Florida and Texas) are even more law-abiding than police. These CCW holders are the exact people who should be carrying handguns on campus.

Allowing staff to carry on campus will give them access to an incredibly effective defensive tool. Instead of using their bodies as a human shield or hiding in the classroom defenseless, staff will be able to defend students in the event of a shooting. I’m not talking about forcing staff to carry handguns, but giving those who are legally able and willing the option to do so.

As for arming students, I am not talking about giving weapons to 16-year-old high school students, but 21-year-old law-abiding adults, as the law requires – especially when mass shootings are disproportionately occurring in gun-free zones like schools. Why should an adult who can protect themselves throughout their daily lives be forced to give up their right to self-defense when they enter a campus?

CCW holders have a significant advantage over the police; they have the element of surprise. These concealed handguns would be safely secured in someone’s possession and therefore, would be randomly dispersed around campus. This would give any good guy with a gun the ability to quickly confront a shooter. A shooter wouldn’t know where a concealed handgun is or when a CCW holder might catch up with them. This will create a deterrent for would-be shooters. Campuses, like the Medina Independent School District in Texas, should advertise that they allow individuals with CCWs to carry on campus.

This will make all the difference in the event of an active shooter. In 2015, an Uber driver with a CCW in Chicago stopped an active shooter who opened fire on a crowd in Logan Square. Instead of calling the police and waiting, this good guy with a gun was able to stop the bad guy. Because the shooter was met with another firearm only moments after he began shooting, the only reported injuries were sustained by the shooter.

No law will prevent all mass shootings, but allowing CCW holders to carry on campus will serve as a strong deterrent and an effective means of defense. Already, 12 states allow CCW holders to carry on campus and another 22 states allow individual universities to decide whether to permit concealed carry. I would also like to see Chapman’s Public Safety armed, but I believe allowing concealed carry on campus is a much more effective policy.

We are sitting ducks. It’s time to arm students and staff with the right tools to successfully deter shooters and shorten the time between when a shooting starts and ends.