Op-ed Pieces

Vicious Attack Highlights Danger of “Gun Free Zones”

Amanda Collins had a permit to carry a concealed firearm on the night she was brutally raped on the University of Nevada's Reno campus in October of 2007.

She had just left a 10:00 pm class and was headed to her car on the ground floor of a parking garage—not 100 feet from the campus police building. She was careful to check around as she approached her car when she was grabbed by a 6’2” 200 pound man. He held her down and told her not to open her eyes. He held a gun to her temple, and she heard him click off the safety.

But even though Amanda had a CCW permit that night, she wasn't carrying a firearm because the university is a "gun free zone." Gun free, that is, for those who respect the law. It was not so for the attacker, who turned out to be a serial rapist and murderer and who now occupies a place on death row.

A week after the attack on Amanda, another woman was raped on campus. Then came the abduction of Brianna Denison, who was raped and murdered. Her body was found in a field days after the attack.

Amanda is confident she could have defended herself that night. “I would have at some point during my rape been able to stop James Biela,” she said.  “I know, having been the first victim, that Brianna Dennison would still be alive, had I been able to defend myself that night.” 

In Nevada, GOA is pushing legislation to eliminate the absurd requirement that CCW holders get permission from a university president—permission that is routinely denied. Amanda, who testified in favor of the legislation, was eventually granted permission to carry a firearm, but it was after her attack.  And she is the only permit holder to be granted such permission at the university.

Sponsored by State Sen. John Lee (D-Las Vegas), the bill would simply allow for the carrying of concealed firearms on public college and universities by permit holders.

The attack on Amanda Collins is a reminder that—despite any good intentions—gun control leaves victims vulnerable to criminal attack.