Flash Polls, Guns, Social Issues, Spring 2013 Articles

Students oppose concealed carry on campus

N.C. State students (freshmen, juniors, and Masters) oppose letting students who are 21 or older carry a concealed firearm on campus. The Pack Poll found that a majority (57%) of students polled would not support letting other students carry weapons at N.C. State.Concealed

The University of Colorado has allowed its students to carry concealed weapons on campus since 2003. According to the University’s website, there are very few restrictions about where employees and students can take their weapon. Athletic events and large-scale performances are some of the places students and employees cannot be armed. CU makes it very clear that teachers and students uncomfortable with these policies do not have the authority to ask pistol-carrying students and employees to leave class or present proper identification for concealed carry. Only the police have this authority.

PID, Sex and Gun Owners

Party affiliation his highly correlated with attitudes on concealed-carry policy. Democrats oppose concealed carry by a 83% to 17% margin. Independents are split more evenly but still oppose concealed-carry laws (59% to 41%). Republicans, though, support the idea of students carry concealed weapons – they favor it 61% to 39%.

Female students strongly oppose conceal-carry policies (67%) compared to males (52%), but both sexes oppose concealed guns on campus.

Yet, students who reported that their parents owned at least one firearm were about twice as likely to support concealed-carry laws for students at universities compared to students whose parents did not own a gun (53% vs. 27%).

Other References

Liberty University, a private Christian school in Lynchburg, VA also allows its students to carry concealed weapons.

Georgia allows students to keep guns locked in their cars, but not in dorms or on their person. Concealed-carry policies on campus have been proposed in many states including Virginia, Texas, Arizona, and Texas. North Carolina, conversely, still strictly prohibits the carry of firearms on any public educational property.



  1. Jake,

    You mentioned finding that a majority of students polled do not support letting other students carry weapons at N.C. State. After reading your other article, which indicated that a majority of students are opposed to gun bans, I’m curious if students would support or oppose open carriers at N.C. State. Was any data collected on student opinions about weapons at N.C. State in general or was the focus of the survey restricted to concealed weapons?

  2. Anna,

    Open carry was not addressed in this poll. This survey was a “flash poll” and only had 4 questions on it to boost response rates.
    I would be interested to see the results of an open-carry poll but I would guess that any legislation focused on guns on campus would be about concealed carry.


  3. I’d be interested to learn how many students participated in this poll. There’s a big difference between a 20 person sampling to a 2,000 person sampling.

  4. CPW Girl,

    This survey had 851 respondents. You can download our topline report and SPSS files by clicking on the red download arrow at the bottom of the story.


  5. I am a senior at North Carolina State University, studying in the College of Natural Resources. It is my last semester here on campus before I graduate. It’s been a long, hard road, but now I have something to say:

    I for one wholly support allowing Concealed Carry on campus. I actually hate being at NC State because it doesn’t allow CC. I don’t feel safe. I feel like any minute someone could come at us, as students, with a weapon (of any sort) and go on a killing spree completely unhindered, because those of us who do obey the laws are unable to defend ourselves. I’m appalled by NC State’s lack of foresight on this matter, and I do not enjoy attending it for this reason.

    I particularly feel vulnerable as a lone, young, short and easily-overpowered female surrounded by people I don’t know. Rape and theft are constant threats in our daily lives, and because of NC State’s political ineptitude, I am defenseless against any would-be attacker. Just look at the number of robberies and attempted rapes we have on campus. It’s sickening. I can’t wait to leave this place, and restore my right to stop those who seek to hurt or abuse me.

    Why am I posting this here? Because I never saw this poll given. I never got a chance to say how I feel while the poll was open. I hope you will all read this and not think of me as a hateful, ignorant redneck, but a concerned, critical-thinking and educated woman, who believes in the right for law-abiding citizens to stand up against assault, sexual violence and personal endangerment. I hope that asking for a bit of respect is not asking too much.

  6. Michelle,

    Thanks for your concern. I’m glad you’re voicing your opinion. Scientific surveys must be administered at random. In the context of the PACK POLL, anywhere from 2500 to 5000 email addresses are drawn at random from all 28,000+ undergrad unityID@ncsu.edu emails addresses. I’m sorry this particular poll wasn’t sent to you but by sending the poll to specific people, we would have effectively made the results illegitimate.

    Keep being outspoken about what you believe in. Many others at this campus agree with you.


  7. I take issue with the question itself. Here in North Carolina we have a fairly involved process for obtaining a concealed carry license. The question, however, does not convey that but rather depicts a law that would allow any student 21 and older to carry concealed. Given that wording I would probably answer in the “opposed” group even though I am completely supportive of the Concealed Carry on Campus movement.

    Perhaps a more telling question would be “Do you support or oppose a law that would allow students and faculty with a valid concealed carry license to carry concealed weapons on college campuses?”

    It is possible that most students may not distinguish between the two questions but we cannot know that and I do believe my question better asks what is actually being considered by students and lawmakers.

  8. Samuel,

    Spoken like a true political scientist! You raise some valid points. Researchers at the PackPoll carefully craft each question’s wording. Quite often wording that may seem obtuse or round-about is done intentionally—the PackPoll is as much a research organization as it is simply a polling organization. One of our objectives is to quantify how changes in language can alter server results. (See some split-ballot polls like “Framing the Fiscal Cliff” under November 2012 on our website). Wording can be “played” with to elicit different results. Opinions in flux are often swayed by partisan or inaccurate wording.

    In the case of the question you’re concerned about, the idea was to simply get a feel for the general preferences of the students. Being specific can be helpful, but can be dangerous as well. Research has shown that complex or policy specific question wording confuses more respondents than it informs. However, I’m not suggesting your proposed wording does any of that. Keep reading the analyses of the polls on the website. I’m so glad you’re thinking critically about the inherent imperfection of the polling process. You are part of a very, very small minority.


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