Back in 2003 when Minnesota became a shall issue state for handgun permits, the left raised a fearful cry about the state turning into the Wild West, shootouts in bars and churches, and in general a huge surge in gun violence.So a maximum of two individuals in the entire state of Minnesota have used a firearm in a way that was possibly unlawful under our Permit-to-Carry laws. That is fairly impressive, and shows that the claim that allowing permit-to-carry will make shootings more frequent is basically false.
In 2004, the left hailed the completion of the light rail train in Minneapolis that would move people around the city without the need for pollution causing cars, start a trend towards Smart Growth in Minnesota and even thwart terrorism.
The interesting truth of these two major changes in Minnesota is quite the opposite. Light rail has killed at least 2 1/2 times as many Minnesotans than conceal carry permit holders have.
Since 2003 (and with a brief pause when the law was ruled unconstitutional and then modified and re-enacted), until the end of 2008, the Department of Public Safety has issued 56,919 carry permits that are still currently valid. In that same time frame, there have been two reported homicides that resulted in murder charges against a carry permit holder. In one of those cases, use of a pistol was confirmed, in the other case it is reported as unknown. For argument's sake, let's use 2 homicides that involved pistols by carry permit holders. But keep in mind, the DPS report only reports charges, not convictions. Both cases reported could have been justifiable homicides for all we know.
Since June of 2004, when the 'Jessie train' [light rail] started running until the end of 2008, there have been 5 reported fatalities. 1 was in a car that tried to go around the crossing gates, one was a bicyclist and 3 were pedestrians. The StarTribune has a interesting interactive map that shows the details, here. The 6th and 7th fatalities occurred just this month, as a car driver was hit and later died, and a pedestrian was hit and killed last week. But for comparison purposes, I won't count these latest two deaths since the DPS report is only current through the end of 2008.Apparently, handguns are safer than light rail.
So, since Minnesota became a shall issue state and completed a light rail line at roughly the same time, 2 people have died by permit holders, although we can only be sure that one of them used a pistol, and those two permit holders are presumed innocent until proven to be guilty. But 5 people have died because of the light rail line, with 2 more just this year. And light rail only impacts a small corridor in Minneapolis, where conceal carry is available in every corner of the state.
And a state report confirms the fact that permit-holders are law-abiding, not dangerous, says the Mankato Free Press Editorial Department.
A state report  shows that those who were granted the privilege of carrying a concealed weapon only committed 174 crimes since the law’s inception in 2003. Only 23 involved a handgun.Not only do permit-holders not use their firearms for violent crime, they engage in virtually no crime at all.
They represent only a tiny fraction of the 13 percent rise in violent crime since the conceal and carry law went into effect.
Press reports highlight the fact that the new law didn’t turn Minnesota into the “Wild West.” But the statistics also show violent criminals are not deterred because 40,000 citizens might have a gun when those criminals attack.
The state’s sheriffs, according to the report, say the law’s impact on public safety is negligible. “Except for one domestic assault, we’ve had no incidents either way,” Dakota County Sheriff Don Gudmundson told the Star Tribune.
All of this affirms a plain and simple reality: Permit holders are law-abiding, not dangerous, and there has been no negative impact for conceal carry statewide.
So with the safe, law-abiding nature of legal permit holders in mind (people who are trained, licensed, and carefully-screened under the supervision of the state) one crucial question comes to mind.
The question is this: Why does Gustavus have a policy that unjustly forces these MNPTC holders on its campus to disarm; despite them being legally permitted to carry handguns virtually everywhere else?
Gustavus wrongfully forces students to choose between the means to protect themselves and their education, or risking their good standing with the university.
That is an immoral and unnecessary dilemma for Gustavus to force upon students.
There is no reason why individuals allowed to arm themselves for personal protection under state law shouldn't be allowed to do so under Gustavus regulation as well.
71 campuses in the U.S. currently allow individuals with state permits to carry on their property. None of these campuses have had a firearm related incident since adopting this common-sense policy.
While we can point to the horror stories related to the so-called "gun free zones" that have tragically taken place on many of the college campuses in America that force individuals to be defenseless in the face of danger, we cannot uncover evidence to corroborate the fear-mongering scenarios that anti-gunners postulate will occur if we dare respect the rights of permit holders to not be victimized by others.
Clearly, there needs to be a real conversation about resolving this issue to allow the safe, law-abiding permit-holders their right to personal protection on the Gustavus campus.
Few people are more qualified to start that conversation than Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America (a national membership organization of 300,000 Americans dedicated to promoting their Second Amendment freedom to keep and bear arms) for over 30 years.
Mr. Pratt is coming to the Gustavus Adolphus College campus on Thursday, April 28th at 7:30 PM to discuss the merits of allowing concealed carry on the Gustavus campus.
The public program, to be held in Alumni Hall, is organized by "Gusties for Campus Carry," a group of students who advocate allowing Minnesota permit-to-carry holders to possess a firearm while on the Gustavus campus. It is funded by the Gustavus College Republicans.
Make sure you attend the event featuring Larry Pratt this Thursday at 7:30 PM in Alumni Hall at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Full details for the event can be found on the Gun Owners of America website. You can also RSVP on Facebook, but no tickets are necessary and it is open to the public.