Students protest a campus-carry law in Austin on Aug. 24. (John Mone/Associated Press)

In their Oct. 23 Sunday Opinion essay, “Guns on campus only invite tragedies,” Daniel Webster and Ronald Daniels claimed that letting college students carry guns for protection is a “recipe for tragedy.”

Permit holders commit firearms-related violations at a lower rate than even the very low rate for police officers. The rate is in the thousandths of a percentage point, and data for Michigan, Nevada and Texas show that the rate is just as low for college-age permit holders. But instead of looking at how young permit holders actually behave, Mr. Daniels and Mr. Webster simply point out that “violence, alcohol abuse and reckless behavior are elevated among college-age youths.”

The authors use the National Crime Victimization Survey as evidence that guns are not used defensively by victims of sexual assault. But the survey didn’t include would-be victims who answered “no” when asked whether they had been a victim of violent crime. If a woman brandishes a gun and the criminal flees, she might not consider herself a victim. Thus, she will never be asked how she defended herself.

After each new state allows concealed carry on campus, the reaction is always the same: “What was all the fuss about?”

John R. Lott Jr., Swarthmore, Pa.

The writer is president of the
Crime Prevention Research Center.