Proponents of “gun free” campuses often say there is no reason to believe that guns on campus would prevent violence on campus. They feel confident saying this merely because guns are not currently allowed on campuses so we cannot amass any evidence.
But to the contrary, this evidence does exist. Law-abiding citizens can and have used guns to prevent violence at schools in multiple instances.
The Pearl High School Shooting (1997)
Luke Woodham murdered two teenage girls and wounded many others at Mississippi’s Pearl High School in 1997. Quoting the Wikipedia article, “[Woodham] went on to wound 7 others before Joel Myrick, the assistant principal, retrieved a .45 pistol from the glove compartment of his truck and subdued Woodham while he was trying to drive off campus.”
So, this responsible principal was able to stop the shooter as he was making his getaway. This begs the question: had the principal been allowed to carry his weapon on the school property – as he would have been able to in any other situation – could this tragedy been reduced or perhaps even prevented entirely?
The Appalachian School of Law Shooting (2002)
In January of 2002, Peter Odighizuwa was ticked off at his law school, and decided to take it out on his advisors. He brought a weapon into their offices and killed three people. As he exited the building, he was confronted and subdued by two students who had retrieved firearms from their cars. There are two versions of exactly how Peter was taken down, but clearly without the intervention of the students the likelihood of more violence was altogether certain.
And finally, for us Texans:
The University of Texas Tower Sniper (1966)
Quoting the Wikipedia Article:
Once Whitman began facing return gunfire from the authorities and civilians who had brought out their personal firearms to assist police, he used the waterspouts on each side of the tower as gun ports, allowing him to continue shooting largely protected from the gunfire below but also greatly limiting his range of targets. Ramiro Martinez, an officer who confronted Whitman, later stated in his book that the civilian shooters should be credited, as they made it difficult for Whitman to take careful aim without being hit.
Clearly, the body of data suggests that guns on campus would reduce violence. I’m sure more instances of guns preventing campus violence could be cited, so if you know of any more incidents like the ones above please comment with a link below. I will add any stories that you can find to the list.
Many thanks to Scott for helping me compile the initial information for this article.