Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Carolyn Ozaki


Concealed carry on campus is a polarizing debate affecting higher education today. Concealed carry refers to the carrying of a weapon in public while concealed from view. Prompted by isolated instances of gun violence as well as the changing gun culture within our society, ten states now permit weapons on campus as a result of legislation or institutional policy. Yet, little is known about faculty and staff perspectives on concealed carry on campus initiatives or how weapons could affect perceptions about campus safety. The purpose of this study is to better understand faculty and staff perspectives on concealed carry, to identify factors that contribute to faculty and staff support for initiatives, and to ascertain differences in perceptions about individual protection, individual safety, and the negative effects associated with permitting weapons on campus.

Using quantitative research methods, faculty and staff at four public institutions located in the Midwest and Western region were sent an electronic request inviting them to participate in a study about concealed carry initiatives. Two hundred and forty-five participants completed the survey, a response rate of approximately 16%. The findings indicated that the majority of faculty and staff opposed permitting students to carry handguns on campus. Although, there was less opposition to permitting faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns with staff supporting carry at higher rates. Republicans, individuals with no political affiliation, and individuals that perceived guns as providing safety and protection were more likely to support faculty and staff carry. However, the majority of participants responded that colleges were already safe and that permitting weapons would make them feel less safe while on campus. These findings indicated that support for concealed carry was not based on fear of victimization but rather individual protection. As very few studies have examined university faculty and staff perceptions independently, this research begins to fill the gaps in the emerging research. These findings further inform the institutional and national level debate on concealed carry initiatives by clearly identifying faculty and staff perspectives on the issue. The findings are also useful for the development and dissemination of policy related to safety on campus.

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