Background for those unfamiliar with concealed carry permits:
Mississippi is a “shall issue” state, meaning that provided an applicant meets certain age (21) and law-abiding citizen criteria (as reviewed by applicant’s county sheriff and ultimately determined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation), the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) must issue a Firearms Permit which allows the citizen to carry a concealed handgun. Note that a permit is not needed to have weapons in one’s home, vehicle, or place of business. Note also that there are restrictions. Firearms are not permitted in government buildings, restaurants that serve alcohol, or on university campuses (see below for more on this issue), to name a few.
Unbeknownst to me– and I’ll bet many other Mississippians– earlier this year Governor Barbour signed into law House Bill 506 which permits concealed carry in previously restricted places, provided that the firearms permit holder takes an eight-hour class on safety and state law regarding firearms carry. From the NRA-ILA web site:
“a person licensed under Section 45-9-101 to carry a concealed pistol, who has voluntarily completed an instructional course in the safe handling and use of firearms offered by an instructor certified by a nationally recognized organization that customarily offers firearms training, or by any other organization approved by the Department of Public Safety, shall also be authorized to carry weapons in courthouses, except in courtrooms during a judicial proceeding, and any location listed in subsection (13) of Section 45-9-101, except any place of nuisance as defined in Section 95-3-1, any police, sheriff or highway patrol station or any detention facility, prison or jail. The department shall promulgate rules and regulations allowing concealed pistol permit holders to obtain an endorsement on their permit indicating that they have completed the aforementioned course and have the authority to carry in these locations.” [My emphasis]
The “nationally recognized organization” is undoubtedly the NRA, which much as I dislike it, serves a useful function at least at the local level.
Read more about HB506 and its implementation here.
Some of the comments on the article at the Clarion-Ledger highlight the stupidity of the anti-gun crowd lack of critical thinking on the part of opponents to concealed carry. One notes that a lot of “emotionally charged” activities, child custody hearings and the like, happen at courthouses. True enough. But let’s think this through. Bubba and Bubbette are fighting over custody of their seven youngins. Neither can legally take a gun into the courtroom where the hearing takes place even if they have enhanced carry permits. With or without a permit, enhanced or not, they both have to leave their guns in their respective trucks. Recall that Mississippians do not need permits to have guns in their vehicles. If Bubba wanted to shoot Bubbette after the hearing, he’d have to leave the courthouse, go to his truck and retrieve his gun. Again, he could do this even if he had no permit at all. How exactly does HB506 change this scenario? It doesn’t.
Also, a lot of pretty mundane activities take place at courthouses. We vote, pay property taxes, and renew car tags at ours. Not a lot of emotion attached to these. Why shouldn’t law-abiding citizens be armed when they renew their tags?
More to the point, the anti-gun commenters fail to appreciate the character of concealed carry permit holders. An FBI background check is non-trivial. A person who has passed one is known to have never– that’s never— committed a felony of any sort, been convicted of any– that’s any— drug offense, and has no criminal history of abuse.
The front and back of a business card from the group, Ohioans for Concealed Carry. Although designed for another purpose, it makes my point nicely.
(Aside: On Black Friday, the FBI processed a one-day all time high number of background checks: 129,166.)
Restaurant and bar carry is another topic that got the commenters’ knickers in a knot. Alcohol and firearms co-exist quite peacefully in many homes, why do these folks assume they can’t do the same at Applebees? Because they aren’t thinking about Applebees and a zillion other places that serve alcohol along with food. They are thinking about bars where they get drunk.
If you are ever in this argument with an anti-gunner, ask him or her this, “Have you ever been in a drunken bar fight?” The likely answer will be, “No.”
Follow up with this, “Neither have I. Now, imagine– imagine just for a second– you were armed in a bar, would you pull out your gun and shoot someone if your life was not in danger?”
The likely answer will be, “No!”
Follow up, “Then why do you think I will?”
Keep reading for thoughts on campus carry. Hint: there are more over-21 grownups on campuses than there are under-21 crazy kids.
I’ll use That School Up North to illustrate just how ridiculous prohibiting concealed carry permit holders from being armed on campus is.
According to Forbes (2010), the total student population at Ole Miss is 15,289, of which 12,762 are undergraduates and by subtraction, 2527 are graduate students. TSUN is a good school, but let’s face it, the graduate student population is not composed of a bunch of child prodigies. We can assume all or very nearly all grad students are over 21.
[I’m also assuming in the previous and what follows that all are U.S. citizens and thus have a right to bear arms. This is false. I know the statistics are out there on the percentages of students and others at Ole Miss who are not citizens. This is intended to be a back of the envelope calculation to make a point.]
The number of staff are harder to come by (quickly). Staff would be department administrative assistants, facilities and maintenance, all of the folks involved in the athletics departments, the lunch ladies and cooks, grounds keepers (it’s a beautiful campus), shipping and receiving, and so on. Oh! And higher and lower administrators. I can’t get on the web people directory to see how many pages of names there are, but if I had to guess, I’d guess the staff to faculty ratio is at least 4:1 if not higher. But let’s be conservative and say there three staff for every one faculty. That’s 2643.
3408 + 2643 = 6051.
I was wrong. The California Post-secondary Education Commission 50 State Comparison reports the average student to full-time staff– including faculty– ratio in Mississippi is 2.9 (2009). If the average ratio holds for Ole Miss, there are 4400 – 881 = 3519 staff. (I used only undergrad numbers. Also, I’m betting Ole Miss has a higher than average ratio. And by the way, Mississippi is at the bottom of this list, too.)
3408 + 3519 = 6927.
Thus far, then, there are nearly 7000 folks who work or are doing graduate research at Ole Miss over the age of 21. Calculating the number of undergraduates over 21 or older is a bit trickier.
2010 saw a record incoming class, 4763. For ease of calculation, let’s underestimate and assume an incoming class of 4000. Further, let’s assume the incoming class is age 18– more detailed assumptions about age ranges would be washed out in the final calculations. Each class is one year older than the previous, meaning that only seniors are 21. We cannot, however, assume that each class, i.e, freshman, sophomore, etc., has the same number of students.
According to Forbes (see above), the graduation rate is 32%. Historically, 32% of the incoming freshman class earns a degree within four years, the remainder either drop out, or take longer to complete a degree. If this holds, there will be 1280 undergraduates, assumed to be 21 or older, in the senior class who will graduate.
When I take a rough stab at calculating attrition over four years, and total the sizes of the resulting sophomore and junior classes, I’m about 3000 short of the total number of undergraduates. This sounds right to me. If 25% of each incoming class (1000 students) take more than four years to graduate, the total number who do– that is who have already been at Ole Miss four or more years– is 3000. They are over 21.
So to recap, the undergraduate population contains 1280 seniors age 21 who will graduate, and about 3000 students who have been at Ole Miss more than four years and are thus 21 or older. (Yes, a handful of undergraduates just are over 21 even as freshman. I’ve neglected them.)
1280 + 3000 = 4280 undergrad students over age 21; 33% of undergraduate population
4280 + 6927 = 11,207 people directly associated with Ole Miss over 21.
Total students = 15,289
Total staff, including faculty = 4400
15,289 + 4400 = 19,689 people directly associated with the university.
57% of the people directly associated with TSUP are over age 21.
43% are under age 21.
What’s my point? My point is that nearly 60% of the folks on the campus of Ole Miss are grownups. Since Mississippi has the lowest staff to student ratio, this percentage is probably higher at colleges and universities in 49 other states.
Campus carry opponents worry about “the children” having guns at frat parties and irate students shooting their professors. As I’ve shown, only one-third of undergraduates are old enough to apply for a concealed carry permit.
Meanwhile, before HB506 was made law, 11,207 people, 0.4% of the population of Mississippi, forfeited their constitutional right to bear arms when they crossed over from Oxford, MS into University, MS.