Pretend “Gun-Free” School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction

That’s the title of my forthcoming article in the Connecticut Law Review; a revised version is now available. The article suggests that, under Heller, bans on guns at schools are constitutional. However, as a policy matter, gun prohibition on campuses turns them into targets for criminals, particularly mass killers. The response of anti-gun groups is to warn about the dangers of 18-year-olds carrying AK-47 rifles to keggers. For the record, I do not think that anyone should take an AK-47 (or any other gun) to a kegger. However, there are sensible policies that avoid the dangerous extremes of creating a cluster of thousands of defenseless victims, or teenagers bringing machine guns to keggers. For example, adult employees of the school who already have been issued concealed carry licenses by the state should not be barred from licensed carry while on campus. A professor at a medical school who lawfully carries a licensed concealed handgun throughout the state is not going to suddenly turn into a violent criminal if he also carries while on campus.