Students for Concealed Carry
Logo of Students for Concealed Carry.
|Motto||"Supporting Self-Defense on Campus"|
Students for Concealed Carry, formerly Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, is a national grassroots, non-partisan organization of U.S. college students, faculty, staff, and others who support allowing law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits to bring their legal guns to campus for the purpose of self-defense. In addition to using traditional methods to attract students, the organization also makes use of a Facebook page, which has more than 31,000 likes.
Chris Brown, a political science major at the University of North Texas, started Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) in the week immediately following the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech Massacre. Mr. Brown ran the organization by himself for about two months (until mid-June 2007), until it became too much of a demand on his time. Mr. Brown then ceased taking an active role in the organization.
Without anyone to answer emails or update the website and Facebook pages, the organization languished for a few months, the only real activity being the efforts of three Ohio college students–Stephen Feltoon, Michael Flitcraft, and Bryce Eastlick–to organize the group’s first Empty Holster Protest.
In late August, Scott Lewis, a Texas-based real estate agent and freelance writer who had previously written several essays on the issue of concealed carry on college campuses, responded to a request by the organizers of the Empty Holster Protest for somebody to write a press release about it. After writing the press release, Mr. Lewis contacted Chris Brown and asked him to post the press release on the website and the Facebook page. Mr. Brown responded by relinquishing full control of not only the website and Facebook page but also the entire organization to Lewis, Feltoon, Flitcraft, and Eastlick.
The four new leaders of SCCC then set about establishing a system of governance involving a board of directors (which began with just the four of them), regional directors, and the campus leader system that had already been established by Chris Brown. As the organization grew, the board of directors grew, and the roles evolved. The board of directors came to comprise the regional directors and the national media coordinator (later renamed the director of public relations), and in October 2008, state leaders–a non-board position between the regional directors and campus leaders–were added.
In May 2008, Scott Lewis became the first of the original board members to resign his position (national media coordinator), assuming a less demanding role as a “senior advisor” to the group (he later resigned this position in February 2009; though, he remained involved with the issue in Texas and acted as SCCC’s Texas legislative director during the 2011 Texas Legislative Session).
In July 2008, Mike Guzman, who began his involvement with SCCC as the campus leader for Texas State University and was later appointed to the board of directors as the southwest regional director, was elected as SCCC’s first president. Andrew Dysart, who became the southeast regional director after his own organization George Mason University Students for Concealed Carry was merged with SCCC in late 2007, was elected the first vice president.
In August 2008, SCCC held its first national conference, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. C-SPAN provided live coverage of the event.
Vice President Andrew Dysart resigned the following September, to take a job with the NRA. Rocky Mountain regional director Al Baker was elected the new vice president. In late-2008 and early-2009, SCCC’s three remaining original board members (Feltoon, Flitcraft, and Eastlick) each chose to move on to the next stages of their lives, leaving their official involvement with SCCC behind. However, each maintained some level of involvement with the movement to legalize licensed concealed carry on college campuses.
Several of SCCC’s second generation of board members, including President Mike Guzman, resigned in the fall of 2009. Upon the departure of Mike Guzman, the roles of president and vice president were temporarily abolished, and Al Baker returned to his previous role as Rocky Mountain regional director.
In the fall of 2010, SCCC’s board of directors named former University of Kentucky campus leader, long-time SCCC media team member, and then-Director of Public Relations David Burnett as the organization’s second president.
In the spring of 2011, SCCC shortened its name to Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) and appointed former Texas Director and then-Southwest Director Daniel Crocker as the organization’s third president.
On August 8, 2011, SCC held it’s second national conference, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. As before, C-SPAN televised the event live.
As of September 2014, all public colleges in Utah and Colorado are required by state law to allow licensed concealed carry on campus (there is a concerted effort to get it banned in Colorado, but those efforts have, thus far, fallen short). Idaho state law allows concealed carry by holders of the state's "enhanced" license (public colleges cannot prohibit it), and Mississippi allows it for holders of a Mississippi license with an "enhanced" endorsement (again, public colleges cannot prohibit it). The Kansas Legislature passed a campus carry bill in 2013, but it does not fully go into effect until January 1, 2018. There are other states where campus carry is allowed to varying degrees (e.g., on campuses but not in buildings, as is the case in Texas) and where it is allowed by state law but not school policy (e.g., Oregon), but Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, and Utah are the only states where concealed carry is currently allowed in most buildings on all public campuses, by both state law and school policy. It should be noted that these four states do have some restrictions. For example, the Idaho law prohibits concealed carry in venues seating more than 1,000 people and in dormitories, and some Mississippi and Colorado campuses have policies against carrying in certain locations such as auditoriums and student housing.
One of the organization's forms of protest is called an "empty holster protest", designed to spark discussion about the issue. During a week-long protest in October 2007, students nationwide participated. The main issue raised was the question of why individuals who have been trained and licensed, by a state agency, to carry concealed handguns in most other unsecured locations (locations without metal detectors—office buildings, movie theaters, grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, churches, banks, etc.) are prohibited from carrying concealed handguns on most college campuses. The second "empty holster protest" was held April 21 to April 25, 2008.
The group held a third protest April 5 to April 9, 2010, stating that "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." According to the event's Facebook page, 1,500 students across more than 125 colleges participated.
On December 11, 2008, Mountain States Legal Foundation filed suit against the University of Colorado on behalf of SCC and its members. The suit seeks to resolve inconsistencies between state law and campus policies and protect the right of self-defense guaranteed by the Concealed Carry Act and the Colorado Constitution. On April 15, 2010, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in favor of SCC. Subsequently, numerous colleges and universities in Colorado have repealed bans on licensed concealed carry, including: Colorado State University, Arapahoe Community College, Colorado Northwestern Community College, Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, Front Range Community College, Lamar Community College, Morgan Community College, Northeastern Junior College, Otero Junior College, Pikes Peak Community College, Pueblo Community College, Red Rocks Community College, Trinidad State Junior College, and Aims Community College.
As of May 28, 2009, the group's membership consisted of approximately 44,240 college students, college faculty members, parents of college students, and concerned citizens (about 90% college students and 10% faculty, parents, and concerned citizens). Aside from earning the endorsement of every major gun rights organization in the United States, SCC also lists among its supporters prominent state and municipal politicians (i.e., Texas Governor Rick Perry; Georgia State Representative Timothy Bearden; Mayor of San Marcos, TX—home of Texas State University—Susan Narvaiz), law enforcement officials (i.e., San Marcos, TX, Police Chief Howard Williams), and members of the media (i.e., Glenn Beck, John Stossel, G. Gordon Liddy, Lou Dobbs). In Virginia, Virginia Gun Training offered free courses to college students.
The group encounters opposition from some students, administrators and other campus staff, who believe that allowing permit holders to carry concealed handguns on college campuses would lead to increased violence and accidental shootings. The group says these opinions are "uninformed."
The group has also faced strong opposition from traditional gun control groups, such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The Brady Campaign's criticisms include accusations that the group is funded directly by the firearms industry. In a press release challenging the Brady Campaign to "prove it," Students for Concealed Carry on Campus categorically denied accusations that it is or ever has been organized or funded by the gun industry or the gun lobby. In the press release, SCC offered to turn over all of their financial records to the media if the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence would do the same. The press release also contained an open invitation to the Brady Campaign's board of directors to debate SCC's board of directors on the campus of any college in the United States. As of August 27, 2008, the Brady Campaign had not responded to either of these challenges.
- Lindsey Reiser (2010-02-05). "Arizona May Allow Faculty to Carry Guns on Campus". ABC News. Retrieved 2010-04-07.[dead link]
- C-Span (2008-08-01). "Handguns on College Campuses". C-Span. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
- C-Span (2011-08-08). "Guns on College Campuses". C-Span. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
- National Conference of State Legislatures (2014-03-07). "Guns on Campus: Overview". NCSL. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
- Melissa Underwood (2007-10-24). "Students Strap on Empty Holsters to Protest Gun Restrictions on Campus". Fox News. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- David Burnett (2010-04-02). "Students Resist Colleges, Strap on Empty Holsters". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
- Niet compatibele browser. Facebook. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- MSLF - Press Releases. Mountainstateslegal.org. Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- [dead link]
- Court of Appeals No. 09CA1230, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, LLC, a Texas limited liability company; Martha Altman; Eric Mote; and John Davis
- Aims calls special meeting to change weapons policy. Greeley Tribune (2010-05-11). Retrieved on 2010-08-16.
- Colorado community college system, Violence/firearms on campus
- Allison Go (2007-10-23). "Empty Holsters Make a Point but Are Still a Fashion No-No". US News & World Report. Retrieved 2008-02-24.
- Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (2009-02-01). "SCCC Handbook". Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
- W. Scott Lewis (2008-02-22). "SCCC Media Coordinator W. Scott Lewis on the 02/22/08 Episode of Cam & Company (Sirius Satellite Radio, Patriot 144)". Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
- Suzanne Smalley (2008-02-15). "More Guns on Campus?". Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Retrieved 2008-02-15.
- Anna Hipsley (2008-02-19). "Students with guns could stop massacres, says lobby group". ABC News Australia. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
- W. Scott Lewis (2008-02-20). "STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY ON CAMPUS RESPONDS TO THE BRADY CAMPAIGN’S CONSPIRACY ACCUSATIONS: “PROVE IT.”". Students for Concealed Carry on Campus. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
- Students for Concealed Carry website
- Concealed Carry on College Campuses - The "Guns on Campus" Debate