Debate Magazine

New NRA Talking Point: Opponents Of Guns On Campus Are "OK With Some Sexual Assaults Occurring"

Posted on the 27 February 2015 by Mikeb302000
Media Matters
During the February 24 edition of the NRA News radio program Cam & Company, Edwards asserted that opponents of guns on campus believe that in "almost every sexual assault, there is alcohol involved," so a "gun wouldn't help." Because of this, Edwards said, opponents of guns on campus are "OK with some sexual assaults occurring when they could be prevented."
Edwards went on to describe the position of those who say that guns on campus are not a solution to sexual assault: "So what they're saying is, they are OK with real sexual assaults happening -- whether they acknowledge that they are saying this or not, ultimately their position is that they are OK with real sexual assaults happening because they are afraid of accidents that might take place if campus carry were allowed."
In fact, Edwards is mischaracterizing recent arguments against guns as a solution to campus sexual assault, which have pointed out that guns will not actually make women on campus safer.
As Amanda Marcotte wrote at Slate, "[W]ould it actually improve campus safety? No. Most rapes, especially among college students, are acquaintance rapes and defy the burglar-coming-in-the-window fantasy of self defense that gun advocates like to invoke."
Similarly, Jia Tolentino wrote at Jezebel: "[G]uns make domestic violence more deadly for women. Rape on college campuses (as well as in general) happens in situations that mirror very closely the dynamic of domestic violence -- the introduction of coercion and sexual assault under the cover of relationships and interactions that seem outwardly acceptable."
According to academic research, students who carried guns while at college were more likely to report "being victims and perpetrators of physical and sexual violence at college" compared to students who did not.
A 2002 study in the Journal of American College Health by researchers affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health found that students who keep guns at college are more likely to engage in risky or illegal behavior. Specifically, they wrote, "Compared with students who did not have a firearm at college, those who had a firearm were more likely to be male (85% vs 43%); to be White (91% vs 72%); to live off campus (86% vs 57%); to live with a significant other (16% vs 8%); to drive a motor vehicle after binge drinking (27% vs 9%); to have unprotected sex when under the influence of alcohol (17% vs 10%); to vandalize property (21% vs 10%); and to get into trouble with the police (10% vs 6%)." The authors also addressed the interplay between binge drinking and violent behavior, concluding, "Given that alcohol is widely thought to contribute to violent behavior generally and to a majority of college student suicides, rapes, and other violent crimes, we find it quite troubling that almost two thirds of students with guns at college report binge drinking."

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