Creighton University Bars Gun Rights Advocates from Showing Images of Guns on Campus

Creighton University is under fire this week after it told students that they could not continue to use posters or handouts that featured guns. In an email (below), Sarah Giacomini, assistant director for programming and student organizations, declared that “we will not allow any images of guns to be used.” Given students who want to advocate for Second Amendment rights, the ban is akin to telling pro-choice students that they cannot show pictures of morning-after pills or telling pot legalization advocates that cannot show pictures of joints. Creighton is insisting that you can advocate for gun rights so long as you do not actually show an image of a gun.Conservative sites such as College Fix have pushed the school for an explanation with no success.

While Creighton University is not a state school subject to First Amendment protections, it still guarantees students free speech.  The school follows Ignatian principles, the moral dictates of  the 16th-century Spanish saint Ignatius of Loyola and founder of the Jesuit order. It declares:

“It is because of these commitments that we embrace freedom of thought and expression. Essential elements in the Ignatian tradition emphasize active dialogue and the innate dignity of each member of our community.

‘Contemporary student activism creates both challenges and opportunities on college campuses. The issues that stimulate student activism vary widely as organizers target immigration bans, sexual assault, tuition increases, discrimination, investment in fossil fuels, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and a host of other concerns. Protests can be large or small, global or local, in person or online, single or multi issue.'(Harrison & Mather, 2017).”

While the list does not include more conservative causes like gun rights, it affirmatively assures students that they will be afforded free expression on campus.

The subjects of the email were student members of Young Americans for Liberty and they were further told that, if they wanted to challenge the ban, they would have to fill out paperwork to host a distinct “Controversial Event” to distribute a petition. That requirement itself raises concerns. What constitutes a “controversial event”? Would that include pro-choose or pro-immigration events or petitions? Is any political cause considered “controversial” or does the university apply a selective application of this rule? It would seem an invitation for arbitrary and capricious designations.

The gun rights are protected under the Constitution, but the University is saying that, if you want to argue for gun rights, you cannot show a gun. It is reminiscent of Yale University Press telling an author that you can write a book on the controversy over showing cartoons of Muhammad so long as you do not actually show the cartoons in question.

We have seen other similar controversies based on images such as pro-life displays showing fetuses.  Newspaper editors have supported the suppression of pro-life imagery.

Creighton University’s ban is wrong on many levels. It is an intentional, selective, and biased burden placed on gun rights advocates. It is also not clear how this rule applies to classes, which must inevitably show such images. Presumably, academic freedom will still allow a World War II history class to show images from World War II. Yet, you cannot display the same images just outside the door of the classroom.

If taken literally (as one assumes is the intention of the school), it would result in absurd results. Under this approach, Emanuel Leutze’s George Washington Crossing the Delaware would be banned from political posters:


So would be “Spirit of 76 (Yankee Doodle Dandy)” by Archibald MacNeal Willard:

Students using current or vintage posters for military recruiting would be banned.

It would also ban students from creating a National Rifle Association chapter that shows the NRA symbol:

In the end, the ban on the imagery of guns is a gratuitous and selective burden placed on advocates for the Second Amendment. The University should reverse this position. After all, St. Ignatius instructed “He who goes about to reform the world must begin with himself.”


91 thoughts on “Creighton University Bars Gun Rights Advocates from Showing Images of Guns on Campus”

    1. Does ithaveriflesin it’s armory? Surely you gest!yes it has rotc….but it has no actually rifles in its armory. Been there.

  1. If you are still enrolled there, you need to have a talk with yourself why. My alma mater, Gettysburg College, I do not recognize anymore. I can’t see myself ever returning there or providing financial support.

  2. Funny, when someone dies in an automobile accident, we never hear anything about “automotive violence.”

  3. Sue them for 1st Amendment rights violations. That’s unfortunately what it takes nowadays. Showing a picture that isn’t obscene (like a gun) is definitely a 1st Amendment right everywhere in the country. Even in places where guns aren’t allowed (ex: some federal land), pictures of guns are still allowed.

    Sue them and set the example!

    1. Huh?! Are you a special kind of stupid, or what? Creighton University is not Congrefs, and is therefore not capable of violating the first amendment. Nor is it a state, bound by the fourteenth amendment. So what exactly could anyone sue them for?

      1. Creighton states:
        “It is because of these commitments that we embrace freedom of thought and expression.”

        Creighton is being dishonest in its claim to support freedom of thought and expression. One could call it newspeak, or double talk, or Orwellian.

        That dishonesty can be clarified by determining what expressions of speech Creighton allows, i.e., other political topics where the Marxists disagree with the Conservatives, in addition to their lack of support for the 2nd Amendment, a right which cannot legally be infringed. Infringe: to act in a way that is against a law or that limits someone’s rights or freedom. When you cut fringes in a blanket you create slits in the margins the cause the edges of the blanket to come apart more quickly. As older strip fall off new strips are made and eventually the blanket is cut away, i.e., destroyed. That is what those who pass infringing laws want to happen to the 2nd Amendment.

        Creighton should either plainly state that they do not allow speech which contradicts speech and ideas that the administration approves, or reverse their illogical actions and restore both free speech and their honor on that campus.

    2. It’s a private university so the first and 14th amendments do not not apply. If JT wants private universities to comply with the first amendment, he should propose a constitutional amendment in addition to his efforts to seek voluntary compliance.

      1. Did you not bother reading the post? No, it isn’t bound by the first and 14th, so it can’t be sued for violating those, but it is bound by its own commitment to free speech. That is a contract with its students, and it’s violating it.

        1. Milhouse, To clarify, the first part of my comment was in response to Cmdr Strawman (not you) and the second part of my comment was a general comment directed at JT in the area of free speech and private universities.

      2. Not only is it a private campus… it’s going to have to research All its private art it’s hereby commissioned. Does the work on campus in 1995 by the sculpted searle….secretly depict a gun?

        1. As a Creighton graduAte I find this disturbing even if they are not the govt shutting down speech. Every year I get a donate to us card….And I’m like how did you find me? Thirty years later? They have their “ways” . . . But I’m certain plenty of my classmates won’t ever donate now given this.because we come from the 90s. They just cut off their nose.

  4. Being a gun-free zone, all buildings in Creighton have a picture of a gun (with a line through it) blatantly visible for everyone to see! Babylon Bee needs to show this!

  5. Wonder how Creighton would feel if some student group aligned with Everytown or some other anti-gun group showed pictures. Visual cues – imagine a gun with a cancellation slash through it – might be something such a group would use. Will Creighton ban that as well?

  6. Turley: morning-after pills and pot don’t kill people. Guns do. We have an epidemic of Americans getting killed by gun violence. In this year alone, there have been more than 30 mass shootings, and the month of January isn’t even over. The University isn’t banning pro-gun speech–just images of guns. And, they’re not a state university, so they may make such rules. I don’t know why any gun-crazies would want to attend someplace like Creighton in the first place. Oral Roberts would seem a better fit.

    1. Another damn woman “voicing her opine”… ever wonder about word genesis?
      C-an’t h-UNT…
      Now you know where the perfect Gigi moniker originated.
      Is it any wonder so many women are foolishly on board with leftist idiocrasy?

    2. There have been about 6 shootings claiming 39 lives not 30 instances as you suggest. How have every single one of these unfortunate events ended? They ended every time because of someone with a gun. It works both ways. The world is a dangerous place and you too should be armed to protect yourself, your family and your community. Who do you expect to keep you safe? The police are reactionary and technically and legally speaking do not have to protect you. Yeah he or she may loose their job but that’s it. Where does that leave you?

      The banning of the images of guns is an impediment to free speech and one and the same. The morning after pill if it’s taken the morning after we may find common ground.

      How many automobile fatalities have there been in this year to date? Why is it we tolerate those? Most shootings and crimes are carried out with ILLEGAL guns. There isn’t anything you can do to stop someone from doing bad things. It’s not the tool it’s the person

      Did you require a permit (permission) from the government prior to making your comment above? Did you ask for permission from the government to worship at the place of your choosing? Why is the 2nd amendment in your opinion less important and warrant government interference prior to exercising your constitutional right?

      1. And I’ll add to that. . . Creighton believes allegedly in the sanctity of life. . . But life to them is not important enough for the equalizing tool to protect it?. So I part company. I have the right to self defense…via a gun. Because they can preach for centuries and look . . . we still got axxholes. Kum by yah….isn’t cutting it. And frankly anyone who can afford creighton comes from common sense capitalist parents. This policy is called . . . Shit the bed.

    3. NUTCHACHACHA is even nuttier today.

      Hey, Nutty, get of the government dole and affirmative action, you’re overdosing.

      There are 42,000 deaths by car every year – BAN CARS.

      Insane people kill people with guns.

      Guns don’t do anything but what people make them do.

      America has an epidemic of dependent parasites who have been coddled, humored and indulged and constitute a “discordant intermixture with an injurious tendency.”

      Those very people should have been culled, precluded, deported, prosecuted and incarcerated – perhaps Drawn and Quartered.

      People who experience no discipline, have no discipline.

      There are 400 million guns in America and only 39 murders by lowlifes in 2023.

    4. Guns don’t kill anyone. And pictures of guns certainly don’t kill anyone.

      We don’t have an “epidemic” of gun violence. We have a relatively high level of violence; what tools violent people use is irrelevant. And we’ve always had a high level of violence; we’ve had it for centuries. It’s inherent in our demographics and cultural background and no law can change that.

      Not being a state university Creighton isn’t bound by the first amendment; but it is bound by its own guarantee of free speech, and it is violating that.

    5. Guns don’t kill people. People using guns kill people. People using knives kill people, too. And cars. And even fists.

  7. Scalpels and other blades instruments are the weapon of Choice. Guns are the weapon of Choice principally by Democrat “heroes” and criminals.

  8. Jonathan: The gun rights controversy at little Creighton University may be important to you and the 2nd Amendment crowd but pardon me if I want to address much more important 1st Amendment issues you have consistently ignored. Florida is really where the action is happening.

    Everyone knows about Gov. DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” bill that prevents teachers from telling kids there are ACTUALLY gay and trans gender people in this world. Verboten now in Florida schools. The state is trying to stigmatize Black and LBGTQ+ communities by banning books dealing with racism, gay and lesbian characters. Even some of the classics are banned. Teachers are forced to attend seminars that focus on “Christian values”. DeSantis is packing school boards with people that support his “anti-Woke” agenda. DeSantis’ war on “wokeness” is really a war against the 1st Amendment. DeSantis is using government power to sanction speech he doesn’t like–and to even punish private corporations, like Disney, who have criticized the governor’s policies.

    All of DeSantis’ recent actions to suppress the “free speech” rights of teachers, social media and corporations in Florida should concern you. The 1st Amendment is being threatened all over the state. But you rather take up the cause of a few gun-toting students at small Creighton University. I suggest you could learn a lot by reading the 1548 book by Nicholas Udall, “The First Tome or Volume of the Paraphrase of Erasmus Upon the New Testament” in which the author uses the phrase “making a mountain out of a molehill”. That’s what you do a lot in your columns!

    1. Dennis: It’s laughable that you would be worried about freedom of speech for left-wing causes on campus. As a professor of 30+ years, I have seen left-wing indoctrination gain a monopoly on campus communication. At my school, utter any thought outside the bounds of critical theory and you’ll get a visit from our “bias response team.” That’s right, Orwell is here. Can the gulags be far behind? Sadly, the second amendment is rapidly becoming the only remaining safeguard for the remainder of the Bill of Rights.

    2. It isn’t called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. That is what the left calls it. Its actual title is the “Parental Rights in Education” bill.

      So that’s your first lie.

      The bill prevents “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.” Primary grade levels means elementary school. This does not prevent teachers from saying there are gay people, but it does prohibit teachers from teaching curriculum on gay topics. And only in lower grades.

      That’s your second lie.

      Teachers are NOT being forced to attend seminars on Christian values.

      That’s your third lie.

      DeSantis is NOT sanctioning speech he doesn’t agree with. He is limiting sexual indoctrination of young children which is happening without the consent or control of their parents.

      That’s your fourth lie.

      So many lies in such a short post. And I say lies because you’re not misinformed, you’re intentionally deceiving.

    3. “Florida is really where the action is happening.”

      Why is it that when the Left packs school boards and injects its ideology into public education curricula, that’s okay — but when the Right does so, it’s a crime?

      A *principled* position is: If you don’t like politics being injected into education, then get government out of education.

  9. “It’s the [tuition payers], stupid!”

    – James Carville

    The owners of Creighton University alone may “claim and exercise” dominion over that private property.

    The owners of private Creighton University must operate the enterprise appropriate to its financial viability and to successes accretive to that condition.

    Large share or stakeholders may exercise an undetermined degree of influence and sway.

  10. The people that send dollars to these institutions in honor of their alma maters clearly do not pay attention to what is actually happening in said institutions in 2023. We cannot possibly be this shallow and oblivious as a society. Yeah, keep talking about your college days. If that’s all you got when I meet you for the first time, and if that is seriously where your grown up money goes, see line two of this comment. You might then understand why I don’t invite you out for drinks, or why I’d rather stick a fork in my eye than talk to your kids.

    1. I gave supporting both my undergraduate and law school due to selective enforcement of allowed speakers and enforcement.

  11. If there is trouble on campus, when the police come, will the police use a towel to cover up the offense? How much of ‘it’ will the college permit to be seen?

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  13. Have the progressive clowns explained what would happen to a student, if they read this post using “university” resources?

    Clowns don’t think, they just act stupid. Enjoy the show.

    1. Lefties never think past their initial knee jerk reactions. They don’t think of the impact or ramifications of their stupidity.

  14. Are the progressive clowns banning history books with images of guns? Just laugh at the clowns and move on. Their stupidity is not worth engaging.

    1. Anonymous: you need to read what Turley wrote–images of guns are only banned for those “advocating for Second Amendment rights”–this has nothing to do with classic or historic art in textbooks and other places. And, such images are not used to promote things like assault rifles. But, your post proves that Turley’s assignment is working: create the false impression that ALL images of guns are banned, even those contained in classic and historic photos, all to make it seem like the ban is ludicrious. More red meat for the disciples.

      1. I guess that depends on a clowns definition of promoting guns is. Did the victory in WW2 promote guns? Guns were definitely useful and good there. How about current events, there are many clowns promoting guns for Ukraine.

        I would like to hear the clowns articulate there line in the sand, not assume like a clown.

      2. Only banned for those advocating 2nd Amendment rights? That’s even worse! Now you’re targeting people advocating the defense of their Rights. Think about that. Like most Democrats of the day, you probably would have been against passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, am I right?

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