Student Group Launches 'Empty Holster' Protest

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

( - College students who want to carry concealed weapons on campus will instead carry empty holsters next week.

The National Collegiate Empty Holster Protest is aimed at state laws and campus policies that "stack the odds in favor of armed killers" by disarming law-abiding citizens who are licensed to carry concealed weapons in most other places.

The grassroots group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) noted that in the last twenty years, most of the mass shootings in America -- from the massacre at a Luby's cafeteria in Texas to the Columbine High School shootings -- have happened in "gun free zones."

"Labeling an area 'gun free' may make some people feel safer, but as the shootings at Virginia Tech taught us, feeling safe and being safe are not the same thing," SCCC said in a news release on Wednesday.

The group noted that the Virginia Tech "madman" had an advantage over his victims: "He wasn't concerned with following the rules."

The group argues that licensed gun owners pose little threat to college campuses. "While opponents may argue that guns have no place in institutions of higher learning, SCCC contends that it is the threat of uncontested, execution-style massacre that has no place in America's colleges."

The Empty Holster Protest, taking place Oct. 22-26, will be peaceful and "limited" to students wearing empty holsters, organizers said.

"The significance of the empty holsters is to symbolize that students, faculty, and guests are left defenseless on college campuses; therefore, no protestor will carry anything resembling a firearm in his or her holster," the group said on its Web site.

"Protestors will not carry signs or banners, and nobody will make any attempt to disturb the peace. Protestors will simply go about their daily routines while wearing holsters which, in both appearance and function, differ only slightly from cell phone holsters."

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus describes itself as a "national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprised of college students, parents, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of concealed handgun licenses should enjoy the same rights on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else."

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