Intrastate and Interstate Influences on the Introduction and Enactment of Campus Carry Legislation, 2004–2016

David R. Johnson, Liang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a data set that captures the introduction and enactment of “campus carry” bills between 2004 and 2016, we examined how the state policy adoption and diffusion framework explains the policy process related to allowing concealed weapons on the campuses of U.S. colleges and universities. Panel data logistic regression analyses revealed that active shooter incidents, the percentage of Republicans in state government, citizen political ideology, and policy diffusion influence the introduction of campus carry legislation. In addition, survival analysis showed that conservative citizen political ideology and anti-gun-control interests are positively related to the enactment of campus carry laws. To our knowledge, this is the first empirical analysis of the policy process related to campus carry legislation. It expands the empirical scope of higher education policy research by considering a social problem that, like free speech and transgender “bathroom bills,” is only indirectly related to student achievement but nevertheless a high priority for some state legislators. Importantly, the results underscore the importance of examining how the influences of state characteristics and interstate dynamics vary across stages of the policy process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-124
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Researcher
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • educational policy
  • governance
  • higher education
  • longitudinal studies
  • postsecondary education
  • regression analyses
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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