Grassroots Commentary

Guns on Campus: As vital as CPR Training

John Longenecker · Sep. 15, 2011

Over the weekend, we were browsing our favorite brick & mortar bookstore. I ran across one book I had seen before about college student safety. I read many of these and I like them. These titles are astute, easy to implement, and worth digesting into your lifestyle as it will change upon attending college. Soon, these become shrewd habits for life after college.

When I look at these, I look for two things: second amendment issues (within violence prevention courses) and Citizen First-aid and CPR topics. To my way of thinking as a former first responder before we were known as first responders, no preparedness paradigm is complete without anticipating and providing for the worst medical and violence eventualities. Studies from all corners of EMS show how lay intervention makes all the difference in the life and recovery of the patient. I know this from professional experience, of course, but with the movement to teach Citizen CPR in 1979 and greater media play of the concept, the complexion of how America feels about her Good Samaritans has clarified and been embraced. From 1960 to the middle seventies, CPR was not penetrating the lay community. Today, everyone has heard of it.

The armed student or any armed citizen has a great deal in common with the layman who is trained in CPR. I have released The CPR Corollary as a stand alone monograph. It is developed now into fifteen equivalents of moral purpose and public interest between the armed citizen and the CPR-knowledgeable citizen. The two are identical.

When we talk about any large expanse of campus, such as amusement parks, the large workplace, a college campus, national parks or other large acreage, we talk about a response time that is likely much longer than one ordinarily expects on smaller areas. Dependency on the first responders to the political exclusion of the citizen is adverse to the community interest. This ought to impact decisions reporting parties make when summoning aid.

One example is the Utah motorcycle accident where volunteers lifted the vehicle off the biker and probably saved his life before EMS arrived. Lay intervention – Good Samaritans – play an even greater role in large expanses of land.

When it comes to guns on campus, the policy of denying student action or the means to effect meaningful self-defense is adverse to the interests of the student body. Understanding the longer response time or even the essential absence of aid is part of a good preparedness model, building around the idea that you are on your own and need to anticipate criminal as much as medical contingencies.

Dodger stadium is a select example of mine lately where the beating of Paramedic Bryan Stow was completed until the assailants exhausted their appetites for brutality. In a crowd of hundreds, Bryan Stow was alone. Who there was certain of the latitude they had in preventing this beating? Who came forward?

In Arizona, the Honorable Gabrielle Giffords was ambushed by a shooter who was taken down by people who knew more of their legal and tactical latitude. Naturally, these Good Samaritans are praised for their intervention and not admonished for interfering with police. Why should they be? Citizens have the legal authority to stop a crime in progress.

What do you do until the EMS or the Police arrive? Knowing your reasonable latitude can make all the difference in the outcome of the incident. Time for some courses on this, huh? What I look for in the Violence Prevention content is this sort of latitude; it is entirely absent.

And this is the key to guns on campus and student safety. On any large expanse of land, the request for aid is not as easy as it is for smaller parcels, nor is a request for Police as easy as a request for EMS. The expanse of land itself is often utilized as cover for thugs who know the delays of Police. What if it were a cardiac arrest emergency in the middle of the campus? What if it were a seizure in a dorm and the patient stops breathing? Judge the time element by how long you can hold your breath, and you have a fair idea of the urgency. In the time it takes to process the request for aid, the patient dies for lack of lay intervention, such as CPR.

In the cases of crime on campus, unanswered violence has a similar outcome. Crime 1, Students 0.

Yes, more colleges are affirming concealed carry on campus, but the issue is far from won in terms of public safety outcomes. And this is the core of the solution: public safety is enhanced by armed students, not threatened. As more campuses adopt policies to respect the rights of gun owners as fundamental civil rights which are not subject to interpretation by trustees, we will see a greater handle on campus violence because the law is present, not absent. Gun bans ensure that the law is absent when needed most.

Public safety is enhanced because the law is present in the person who refuses to be a victim, present in the person who is prepared to bring lethal force if necessary to stop a crime in progress, present in the person who realizes he or she is alone and the only one they can count on when needed most.

The law is present in the person who summons it and employs it within the reasonable latitude of their authority.

It is as vital as teaching students CPR and First-aid.

John Longenecker’s monograph, The CPR Corollary, is available as an e-book at

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