- The Washington Times - Monday, June 20, 2016

A biology professor at Liberty University in Virginia has penned an op-ed arguing in favor of allowing students to carry concealed firearms on campus, saying the best way to mitigate a mass shooting is to “arm as many good people as possible.”

Professor Daniel Howell slammed what he called “pretend gun-free zones,” which deter law-abiding gun owners from carrying their weapons but do nothing to prevent the gunmen.

“A courtroom is a true gun-free zone,” he argued. “Every person who enters a courtroom must pass through a metal detector and have their belongings searched. Likewise, an airplane is a true gun-free zone. Each passenger must be examined by a body scanner and sometimes be physically frisked. Every bag is searched. That is what it takes to make a true gun-free area.

“A sign on a window or a policy in a handbook does not create a gun-free zone, but it does create a helpless victim zone since rule-following people are apt to obey while law-breaking criminals are not,” he wrote. “Nearly every mass shooting has occurred in pretend gun-free zones. Whether it’s a school, which is pretend gun-free by law, or a movie theater, which is pretend gun-free by a proprietor, the results are the same: good people become defenseless victims to law breakers, including terrorists and the mentally ill.”

Mr. Howell cited a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggesting that self-defense can be an effective crime deterrent.

“Good people with guns don’t create crime, they stop it,” Mr. Howell wrote. “And no one is more law-abiding than the average concealed-carry person. A 2010 study published in the Police Quarterly found that gun owners with concealed carry permits are even more law abiding than police officers. According to another study, those with concealed carry licenses are four times less likely to commit murder than the general population.”

Mr. Howell acknowledged it’s not feasible to turn every entrance to college campuses into TSA-style checkpoints, so he said the only logical answer is to arm more law-abiding citizens.

“Given this reality, our only effective recourse to prevent or minimize future mass shootings is to arm as many good people as possible,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, most college campuses are still pretend gun-free zones and so our nation’s students and faculty remain at greater risk.

“Postscript: While this piece was being prepared, the largest U.S. shooting massacre to date occurred in Orlando in a ‘gun-free’ nightclub,” he concluded. “The perpetrator, an Islamic extremist, was eventually killed by a police officer — a good guy with a gun.”

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