Student Perceptions of Armed Campuses: University Major, Constitutional Rights, and Campus Carry Laws

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Law and Justice

Publication Date



This study explored the impact of college major and support for the Constitutional rights to free speech and to bear arms established in the First and Second Amendments on student perceptions of armed campuses using survey methodology. It found that all three variables contribute to students’ perceptions on the impact of campus carry laws. Students with Criminal Justice/Legal Studies related majors were significantly more likely to support the right to bear arms and to support freedom of speech than Journalism/Communications majors. In general, students supported the First Amendment at higher levels than the Second Amendment. A majority of students reported that they would feel less secure if campus carry laws were in place on their campus, agreed that they would change their behavior in the classroom, and agreed that they would refrain from classroom discussions. Individuals who were comfortable with firearms and supported the Second Amendment were less likely to feel that they would change their behaviors on an armed campus, and individuals who supported the First Amendment were more likely to perceive that they would change their behavior with campus carry laws in place. Implications of these findings to policy debates about campus carry laws are discussed.


This article was originally published in Journal of Criminal Justice Education. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Journal of Criminal Justice Education