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These students are leaning toward colleges that allow concealed handguns on campus

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These students are leaning toward colleges that allow concealed handguns on campus

Watch: Guns on Campus

Students are looking at college weapons policies 

Football games, Greek life, spacious dorm rooms, dining halls -  these are all qualities aspiring college students typically take into consideration when choosing a school. But now, some students are eager to earn their degrees at schools where they can carry concealed handguns for protection. 


Concealed guns make some students feel safer 


Caroline Graziano, a Virginia high school senior, says she would feel safer going to a school where students with concealed carry permits can legally bring their weapons on campus. 

"I would definitely lean towards the school with concealed carry, as long as everything else about the school I like about it," said Graziano.  "It would influence me to go to that school just because I would feel safer on that campus," she said. 

 

Would you want to go to a college where students could carry concealed handguns on campus?


Zac Wood, a Navy veteran looking to earn his graduate degree, says he'd prefer a school that allowed students to carry concealed weapons.

"Being able to carry a weapon would definitely make me feel safer," he said. 

Where can students carry guns?


Wood, 28, is one of the few who could legally carry on campus. Most states require a person to be at least 21 to have a permit -- depending on where he or she goes to school.

There are  ten states that allow students and/or faculty to carry concealed handguns on campus, though some  have limitations on who can carry and where. 

There are another ten states that have laws strictly prohibiting concealed handguns on college campuses. The rest of the state leave it up to schools to decide, and the rules vary widely. 

I would almost feel a responsibility to be one of those armed responsible good guys.
Zac Wood

Laws vary between states 


For example, in Virginia there are two schools that allow students with concealed carry permits to bring their weapons on campus: Old Dominion University and Liberty University.

But in neighboring Maryland, the entire state university system has banned concealed guns on all campuses. 

This year, for the first time,  permit-holding students at public universities in Texas were allowed to carry their concealed handguns on campus, thanks to a change in the state's gun laws. 

Tennessee also passed a new law this summer allowing full-time faculty at public universities to carry concealed guns.


But in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed legislation that would have allowed students to carry concealed guns at colleges. 

TEXAS PROTESTS .jpg

Protesters at the University of Texas in Austin fought hard to keep guns off campus.

Most Americans support concealed carry 


Experts say the trend reflects how Americans' attitudes are changing on gun policies.

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, 56 percent of Americans think the country would be safer if more people were allowed to carry concealed weapons. William Taylor, the chief of police at Collin college in Texas, said the trend is nothing new. 

"Back in the 1990s, there was a country-wide swing in states to allow concealed carry permits for weapons, and that was pretty broad," Taylor said. 

Taylor added that the new laws have not had quite the negative effect many opponents predicted.

 While some students are anxious to practice their Second Amendment rights on college campuses, many are still against concealed carry policy changes. 

"Honestly, I would feel very uncomfortable and would possibly think of not going here anymore," said Vanessa Chapoi, a student at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. 

Another student, Yoel Castillo-Botello, said he thinks it's "outrageous" that schools are even considering it.  

Most undergrads don't have gun permits

But because most states only grant concealed carry permits to people aged 21 and over, the number of students carrying guns on campuses is likely very low. 

"Most people that age aren't even living on campus. This great swell of people carrying handguns is misunderstood," said Taylor. 

Out of 9,700 University of Texas students who live on campus, Students for Concealed Carry estimates only five to fifteen students could be conceal carrying day-to-day.

Since 2013, there have been 192 school shootings, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. Most of those shootings were carried out by people wielding larger assault rifles. 

Taylor said he is less concerned about more students legally carrying concealed handguns to class, than he is about those who bring weapons on campus illegally. 

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