Your Freshman year at college is an exciting and nerve racking time. New classes, people, and living alone can be a major change to any young student.

Those preparing for dorm life will quickly find that many conveniences such as microwaves, toasters, and space heaters are usually prohibited. However, one item that is being increasingly allowed on campuses across the nation is the concealed firearm.

In 2004, Utah was the first state to allow guns on campus. Soon after, many other states began to follow the trend and allowed for weapons on campus. Today 10 states have legal documentation allowing guns on campuses and a recently introduced bill seeks to expand gun laws to another 16 states. While these laws typically only apply to public universities and colleges, a number of private institutions are also getting on board.

The 2007 shooting that occurred at Virginia Tech, where a student killed 32 and wounded 17 before killing himself, has seen a marked improvement in campus carry laws as the public noticed the need for increased security. Many argue that an armed teacher or student could have prevented or reduced the losses on that day. The increasing rates of sexual assault on campuses across the nation are also looking towards new gun laws to help protect young female students.

Second Amendment rights have been noted as they provide Constitutional backing for carrying weapons on campus. Mandi Ballinger, a representative from the state of Georgia, argued that people have a God-given right to protect themselves and that campus carry laws have improved campus safety. With 16 new states scheduled to enact campus carry laws, New York being one on the list, we can expect to see more concealed weapons across the country in the coming years.

Students For Concealed Carry, SCCC, is a nationwide grassroots organization made up of thousands of students, faculty, and concerned citizens working to provide the same concealed weapons provisions to college campuses as are seen across the country. SCCC is a non-partisan group made up of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, and more focused on common goals and policies than political affiliation. SCCC recognizes that college campuses, while generally safe, are still sites for potential violent crimes including assault, robbery, rape, and murder.

The organization focuses its efforts on two main areas: public awareness and state legislation. SCCC understands that informing the public about gun safety and campus carry laws is the biggest step in educating the public and dispelling gun myths.

Informing students, faculty, and the general public about gun safety issues and overall campus security concerns help increase awareness and understanding of the major issues. After educating the public, SCCC works to push lawmakers to better provide for campus carry laws and support gun rights.

With the increased need of and ability to carry concealed weapons on campus, gun holsters are an important accessory that students and the public alike should understand. There are many available styles and types of gun holsters.

Many holsters are designed to work with a variety of guns, however, gun manufacturers also make specific holsters to fit their firearms. When looking for a gun holster it is important to consider the effectiveness of the holster, position and concealment abilities, and retention systems to prevent dropping or losing your weapon.

Example of a Paddle Holster

Some of the most popular concealed carry holster designs are IWB, paddle, and MOLLE holsters. IWB, or Inside the Waistband, holsters are particularly effective for concealed carry as the firearms sit inside your pants out of public sight. IWB holsters typically employ a level one retention system for fast drawing and holstering of your firearm.

Paddle holsters are also popular and sit inside your waistband for superior concealment. Paddle holsters usually provide higher levels of retention than IWB. MOLLE, or Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, is a heavy duty holster designed to carry not only your firearm but also additional ammunition and tools.

Despite the legality of carrying on campus in many states, some college officials have expressed concern. “Increasing gun availability in campus environments could make far more common acts of aggression, recklessness or self-harm more deadly and, thus, have a deleterious impact on the safety of students, faculty and staff,” was the take home message from a Guns on Campus special report by Johns Hopkins.

Nevertheless, more schools are moving forward with campus carry legislation, ensuring that students who want to protect themselves have the right to do so.

Whatever your stance is on students’ right to carry, there’s no doubt that gun-related violence at schools is a terrifying prospect. Giving young folks the option to carry may be one way to prevent mass school shootings.

Note: This is a guest post by Will Ellis from Gun News Daily, an excellent resource for current events and information regarding firearms and firearm laws.