Frightening and disturbing as it was, Monday’s car-and-knife attack on the Ohio State University campus could have been much worse. Yet it should prompt a thorough review that changes the OSU policy and an Ohio state law that sharply limit students’ ability to defend themselves.

Somali-born Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an OSU student and legal permanent U.S. resident, drove his car over a curb and into a crowd outside an engineering classroom building, then exited the vehicle and began knifing people. Eleven were injured, one critically. Thankfully, a campus policeman happened to be nearby — and armed. He ended the incident in less than a minute by fatally shooting the assailant, according to The Associated Press.

If that heroic campus policeman hadn’t had a gun, the attack likely would have gone on longer and had far worse consequences. That’s because, as LawNewz reports, OSU’s Student Code of Conduct prohibits possession or storage of firearms on campus. And Ohio state law forbids carrying a concealed weapon — even with a license — on any college campus, though open carrying is allowed.

Did Mr. Artan choose OSU assuming this was a gun-free zone?

This incident vividly demonstrates the value of an armed presence that’s able to respond quickly and decisively to such attacks in public areas. It should prompt OSU officials and Ohio lawmakers to change campus policy and state law so that students and university staff are better protected against such assailants.

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(c)2016 The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

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