For many years you were required to have a Concealed Weapons Permit to carry a Conducted Energy Weapon or Stun Gun in Iowa.  All of that began to change due to the tragic and senseless murder of a student at Iowa State University last year.

Celia Barquin Arozamena, a former golfer at Iowa State who won the 2018 Big 12 individual title, was found dead on a golf course in Ames, Iowa last September 17th.  Police were called to the Coldwater Golf Links in Ames around 10:20 am local time that Monday after other golfers discovered an unattended golf bag on a fairway.  Barquin Arozamena was found a short distance away where an attempt had been made to hide her body.

Police arrested and charged a 22 year old drifter with her murder and he is currently being held on a $5 Million bond.  Ms. Arozamena was apparently on the golf course practicing like she had done hundreds of times before when she was attacked and murdered.  As is the case with many Colleges and Universities, Iowa State did not allow students to carry even non-lethal devices for self-defense at the time of her murder.

Tragedy Leads to Change…

Unfortunately, it many times requires a headline grabbing tragedy to get politicians and campus administrator’s attention.  Once this horrific crime took place, parents and students began to ask the simple yet direct question, “…if you cannot guarantee the students safety then why should they be denied the means to defend themselves?”  

In Iowa, if you are over the age of 18 you have been able to legally carry a CEW or Stun Gun in most places for several years now.  However, College and University campuses prohibited their students or visitors to the campus from carrying any type of self-defense weapon.  Campus Administrations while acknowledging the uptick in campus rapes and assaults nationwide, had traditionally chosen to ignore those concerns and continue their prohibition of self-defense devices on campus.

However, after the high-profile murder cases of Mollie Tibbett, a University of Iowa student and then the Barquin Arozamena case at Iowa State University…the State Legislature decided it was time for the state laws to be amended so as to allow students to no longer be unable to defend themselves from violent assaults simply because they are a College student.

Senate File 188

The Iowa State Legislature is considering a bill that would allow students who are 18 and older, who have no previous felony convictions, to carry a weapon “…producing a non-projectile high-voltage pulse designed to immobilize or deter a person,” more commonly known as a Conducted Energy Weapon or Stun Gun while on campus.  The only continued prohibitions would be the carrying of a Stun Gun inside of a stadium or hospital located on campus.

It is fully expected that both houses of the Iowa State Legislature would pass this File (Bill) and then send it on to the Governor for her signature, thus making it an enforceable State law.  The basis of this law is very similar in scope to a Georgia State Law that was passed in 2016 allowing students to carry a Stun Gun on campus for self-defense.

The Hard, Cold Truth…

Unfortunately, violent crime is increasing on College and University Campuses nationwide.  Many organizations that track crime statistics are concerned that the published crime statistics for a campus may not even be completely accurate.  Most campus crime stats are based solely on criminal acts that take place only on campus.  

However, if a student is attacked by another student (or non-student) off of school property, then those stats are not normally included in the published statistics.  Hence, many believe the criminal statistics for assaults, rape, battery, murder, etc., are even higher than what the Colleges and Universities publish.

The bottom line is that when you review the published crime statistics for a particular College or University, it is probably safe to assume those are the low-end of the numbers you are looking at.  It is also safe to assume that as a student you should not fall into the trap of letting your guard down while living in your campus community.

The new normal may now be to review the various campus and State laws of where you are considering attending to insure you are legally allowed to carry a formidable self-defense tool for your protection.  State governments are trending in the direction of empowering students in this manner. In fact, personal safety issues should now be as important as the schools educational considerations when you are choosing a College or University.