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Gender and Campus Carry

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March 8, 2016

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As mentioned in my last blog post, Campus Carry is going to be implemented in public universities across the state of Texas starting August 1st of this year. I’m trying to explore the intersects of this law and the way that different identities (other than the usual, straight, cis-gender, white male) will potentially be affected by this law. I explored the way that race and ethnicity affects who participates in Campus Carry and who feels safe with it implemented. This time, I want to discuss the way gender may play a part in the implementation of this law.

I believe it’s safe to assume that the majority of students who are planning on participating in Campus Carry are men (most likely white men) for two reasons. The first of which is, the majority of people who received Concealed Handgun Licenses in 2015 in the state of Texas were men. It’s not a slight majority, but by a landslide, nearly 100,000 more men gained their CHL than women. The second reason is that the folks on campus who have been the most vocal and supportive of Campus Carry have also been men, again, predominantly white men. Whereas, the majority of female students that I have spoken to express fear and concern regarding the law.

According to Dr. Deborah Azrael, the associate director of the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center, women are less likely to feel comfortable with an increase of guns in their community.

“Half of people when posed a hypothetical question about whether they would feel more safe, equally safe or less safe if more guns were available in their communities, say that they would feel less safe. And that is true for many, many gun owners — 20 percent — as well as for non-gun owners. And for women in particular, 60 percent  of women who do not own guns [and] more than a quarter of those who do [said they would feel less safe].”

This lead me to explore the reasons why there would be such a difference in perspectives based on gender. Why do men and women view guns so differently? I think, ultimately, it’s pretty self-explanatory why women are less likely to own guns and overall more skeptical of the presence of guns on campus. First of all, women in the US are 11 times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other high-income countries. Not to mention that the presence of guns in domestic violence situations increases the risk of homicide for women by 500%.

This doesn’t even include violence against transgender folks. There isn’t as much research done over gun violence in correlation with the transgender community, but we know for a fact that trans folks are regularly targeted and attacked for simply existing. 2015 had the highest rate of transgender homicides to date. It’s hard to find accurate statistics covering the homicides of trans folks because the police reports will often times misgender the victims, and citing their  names and pronouns from birth, instead of their gender identities. But none-the-less we recognize that they are at a higher risk of being killed due to gun violence than men and even cis-gender women.

Gun violence is a serious threat and I believe that an increase in firearms on campus will do nothing but increase the likelihood and occurrence of these acts of violence against students and faculty with marginalized identities. As Dr. Azrael said, “What we know is where there are more guns, more women die.”

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