“If my rapist had a gun at school, I have no doubt I’d be dead.”
– University of North Carolina student Landen Gambill
The gun lobby has a new talking point in its same old reckless campaign: allowing students to carry loaded firearms around college campuses, it claims, will prevent sexual assault. That couldn’t be further from the truth: Lifting campus gun bans won’t prevent sexual or dating violence on campus—in fact, it would make it worse. But legislators all over the country are introducing bills that would do just that.
One in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college, and 32 percent of female students report having been abused by a dating partner. Guns are the most common weapons used in the murders of intimate partners. While proponents of campus carry bills have suggested that allowing students to carry guns will protect them from becoming victims of sexual assault, the truth is that the vast majority of campus rapes are perpetrated by the victim’s partner, friend, or close acquaintance—precisely the people around whom victims would never think to carry a gun, let alone use one. And the presence of a gun in a case of domestic violence makes it five times more likely that the victim will be murdered, regardless of who owns the gun.
Though some individual victims might believe that they are safer while carrying a gun, the research is clear: arming potential victims is not an effective strategy for preventing sexual or dating violence, and will actually increase the likelihood that victims or other bystanders will be wounded or killed.
Guns on campus will do little to protect potential rape victims or students in abusive relationships, while providing perpetrators the most deadly tool to threaten and hurt victims—and raising the likelihood that rape and abuse will escalate to murder.
What We’re Saying
- Letter to Georgia State Legislature in Opposition to Georgia House Bill 859: “House Bill 859, which will endanger students, particularly students in abusive relationships”
- Letter to Florida Senator Diaz de la Portilla and Senate President Andy Gardiner: “Thank You for Supporting Student Survivors and Opposing H.B. 4001 and S.B. 68”
- In 2016, we successfully defeated a Georgia campus carry bill, House Bill 859. Read our one-pager and memorandum that we sent to state legislators.
- In 2015, we petitioned thirteen state legislatures to uphold gun bans on college campuses in their states.
- Arkadi Gerney and Chelsea Parsons, Center for American Progress, “Women Under the Gun: How Gun Violence Affects Women and Four Policy Solutions to Better Protect Them”
- Everytown for Gun Safety, “Voisine v. United States Fact Sheet”