Colorado's New 'Gun Rights' Dorms

Well, this will add a new wrinkle to Greek Night...

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Reuters

Neither firearms control advocates nor weapons enthusiasts are likely to be entirely happy with a decision of the University of Colorado, just reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, creating "residential areas for students over the age of 21 who possess permits to carry concealed weapons." Rules will require storage of weapons in safes when not carried.

There have been ethnic and green campus residences for a long time, but this measure will add a new dimension to theme dormitories. Will undergraduate Glocks and Chief Specials be checked at the door by some kind of ballistic concierge, or will each room have its own gun safe? (Books and guns have gone together more often than people realize; when I visited Theodore Roosevelt's house in Oyster Bay, I discovered that the gun room upstairs was mostly a library. And I know at least one major rare book collector who stores his treasures in modified rifle safes bolted to the floor.) Will the new residences be a national demonstration center for firearms ownership and a prized accommodations, or a Second Amendment ghetto?

Either way, at last there may be an experimental test of some economists' belief in the unintended consequences of high community firearms ownership rates, summarized in a paper by Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig:

Guns in the home may pose a threat to burglars, but also serve as an inducement, since guns are particularly valuable loot. Other things equal, a gun-rich community provides more lucrative burglary opportunities than one where guns are more sparse. The new empirical results reported here provide no support for a net deterrent effect from widespread gun ownership. Rather, our analysis concludes that residential burglary rates tend to increase with community gun prevalence.

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Edward Tenner is a historian of technology and culture, and an affiliate of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School. He was a founding advisor of Smithsonian's Lemelson Center.

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