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One of the most highly-debated topics in the United States today is the appropriate role of firearms in society. Presently, the University of Pennsylvania bans the use and possession of firearms on campus, thereby making Concealed Carry Weapon Permits moot. However, this hinders the rights of students who wish to protect themselves through self-defense.

In 2013, Pennsylvania government lawyers concluded that it was likely unconstitutional to restrict the right of campus carry, which refers to the possession of firearms on college or university campuses. According to Statute 18 § 912 in Pennsylvania, no gun zones in the state of Pennsylvania only apply to elementary and secondary schools, which do not include colleges or universities. 

Now, where am I coming from when I say we should allow students to have a concealed carry weapon permit on campus? Well, for some students, having the right to protection can mean the difference between being safe and being in danger. Of course, students can carry pepper spray, but a firearm is a much more effective deterrent. So what is the only obstacle in the way of Penn students and faculty to exercise the given Second Amendment right? According to Penn’s Policy Manual, violators of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action and/or civil or criminal action.

Concealed carry permits are only issued to those who pass the tests under Pennsylvania law, ensuring they are apt with carrying a gun and safe. Also, self-defense can be an important crime deterrent. 

A study by the CDC found that the defensive use of guns can range from 500,000 to more than 3 million cases per year. In other words, guns help countless ordinary Americans stay safe on a daily basis. I am not saying that students and faculty will be and should be heroes compared to Penn Police and DPS, but for those who feel they have the right to self-defense, there really is no good reason for the University to restrict the Second Amendment rights of its constituents.

Therefore, I advocate for the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania to change the rules and allow licensed individuals with a Pennsylvania Concealed Carry Permit, or CCW Permits that are applicable in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to be able to exercise their Second Amendment right on campus.

HARRISON SELZNICK is a first-year student in the College from Las Vegas, Nevada studying Biology and History. His email address is

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