Empty Holsters Leave Students Feeling Defenseless

From April 21 to 25, 2008, members of the organization Student's for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) will be holding the second Empty Holster Protest in several campuses nationwide. Students who are members of the SCCC will be wearing empty holsters or shirts that advocate the right to wear concealed weapons. The goal of the SCCC is to promote discourse on every citizen's right to bear firearms.

Several universities and colleges have policies that restrict licensed gun holders from bringing their weapons unto campus. These areas are called "gun free" locations and were designated to provide students and faculty members a feeling of safety when walking around the campus. The group believes that campus violence such as mass shootings, rapes, burglaries and murders could be prevented if responsible gun owners are allowed to bring their own guns. U.S. law awards licenses to carry concealed firearms to adults of legal age and sound mind as long as they provide the proper requirements.

Concealed firearms are allowed in 39 of the 50 states. The SCCC believes that prohibiting licensed gun holders from carrying their guns provides people a false sense of safety. Several schools in Utah such as the Blue Ridge Community College, the Colorado State University and 9 public schools allow licensed students to carry concealed weapons on campus. There have been no records of firearm incidents in any of these schools that involve licensed gun holders. The first ever National Empty Holster Protest was held by the SCCC in the week of October 22-26, 2007. Students participated from about 125 colleges and universities.

Like the first protest in 2007, the organization wants to show that people are defenseless and left unprotected when they are not allowed to carry weapons which they have licenses for. There are SCCC members in all 50 states as well as some from other countries such as England, Israel and Canada. In 2007, the organization had about 28,500 members with 90% of the membership being college students, 10% made up of faculty members, concerned citizens and parents. There are organized and recognized chapters of the Student's for Concealed Carry on Campus on approximately 350 colleges and universities as well as several members in campuses without any recognized chapters. For the Second Empty Holster Protest, members of the SCCC from over 600 campuses have declared their desire to participate in the protest. The University of Kentucky, University of Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and the Texas State University, which are some of the SCCC's most active chapters, have intentions of holding about a dozen protests each.

Other members from campuses without organized chapters will hold about one or two protests during the week.

Barbara Ross is a writer for People's Democracy, Liberty Library and Tactical Calendar.

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