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The Need for Campus Carry and a Local Chapter at UNLV

Zac Guymon

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Amanda Norris has become one of the leading voices of freedom and advocacy for the second amendment.  As a holder of a Nevada Concealed Firearms Permit (CFP), Amanda trains regularly with her Glock 19 along with training in martial arts. She along with her husband, travel around the nation speaking on the need for CFP holders to carry on university campuses to legislators and in public hearings. Her story is disturbing, but it needs to be known.




 In the fall of 2007, Amanda Collins was returning to her car after finishing her midterms at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR).   Due to the lateness of the hour, she walked with a group of other students to the parking garage. This same parking garage is used by UNR’s campus police department. Upon arriving in the garage, the group separated. Amanda continued to her own car, unaware that James Biela, 26 was patiently hiding between two cars. As Amanda walked by his hiding spot, James tackled Amanda and jammed a pistol against her head. Amanda recounts that “He put a firearm to my temple…clocked off the safety, and told me not to say anything, before he raped me". On the UNR campus, within sight of the Campus police station and in an area that the University had declared a “Safe Zone”, Amanda Collins was violently and brutally attacked and raped. As Amanda lay alone, bruised and scared among the cars, James quietly and calmly walked away.   


Three months later, James Biela would attack again near the UNR campus. This time however he didn’t leave his next victim alive. Brianna Denison was raped and murdered in January, 2008. After his arrest, DNA tests linked James with at least two other sexual attacks in the area. James was found guilty of all charges; including kidnapping, sexual assault and first degree murder. James was sentenced to death and currently sits on death row.   


UNR, like most other private and public universities are gun free zones. This means that even with a legal concealed firearms permit (CFP), Amanda was not able to be armed on campus. It is a felony to carry a firearm onto the campus. Amanda, being a law abiding citizen was unarmed that night. James Biela on the other hand, patiently waited for his opportunity, knowing that he was going to violate the law.   Moreover, James knew that his victim would be unarmed and that there would be very little she could do to stop him. “Had I been carrying that night, two other rapes would have been prevented and a young life would have been saved" Amanda recounted. She sees call boxes and rape whistles as “just sentiments that give a false sense of security". If the creation of laws and statutes alone have the ability to prevent such attacks, then there is no need for private citizens to defend themselves. However, as can be seen by everyone, the law alone did not help Amanda. She followed the law.




Amanda has become an outspoken advocate for campus carry. Most universities in Utah currently allow students with CFPs to carry on campus, while a number of states have concealed carry on some campuses.  Amanda Collins and groups like Students for Concealed Carry are fighting everyday to defend our fight to self protection.  In fact, I am currently working with a like-minded group of fellow students to form a local chapter at UNLV.

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