College students across America will once again strap on empty holsters in an act of silent protest against laws and policies banning carrying licensed concealed weapons on campus.
The protest, sponsored by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, will take place April 5 through 9 and comes on the heels of college administrators discriminating against concealed carry permit holders, and censoring students who disagree.
According to the group, colleges have repeatedly ignored or attempted to keep students from discussing the issue.
In Pennsylvania, one college banned SCCC member Christine Brashier from handing out fliers about the group.
The school stated, "You may want to discuss this topic but the college does not, and you cannot make us."
Another college in Texas tried to block students from wearing the symbolic empty holsters on campus until a federal judge ruled that their ban violated the First Amendment.
A recent decision at Colorado State University overturned a long-standing policy that allowed concealed carry, despite the fact that crime on campus decreased rapidly since allowing concealed carry on campus, and no problems were reported among permit holders. The ban was opposed by students, Student Government and local law enforcement.
"Colleges aren't content to ban the right to self-defense anymore," says David Burnett, a spokesman for SCCC. "Now they're trying to suspend the right to freedom of speech. They want to silence us and hope we'll go away. It's outrageous and our membership cares too much about self defense to remain silent."
The group was formed shortly after the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, and advocates that persons with state-issued permits be allowed to carry concealed handguns on college grounds.
"Compulsory defenselessness doesn't make students safer, it makes them less safe," says Burnett. "A piece of paper taped to the door saying guns are against the rules has yet to stop a criminal, whether a mass shooter or an armed rapist. It merely assures the criminal that victims are incapable of effective resistance. There are no security checkpoints or metal detectors to pass through in order to enter a college campus and absolutely no way for colleges to control what a criminal brings on campus. Until they can take responsibility for our safety and guarantee our protection, colleges can't be allowed to deny us the right to self-defense."