The student was able to hold on to it until a second passerby came to his aid and the attacker fled the area.
This part troubles me the most. Obviously, the gun was an attractant, not a deterrent, and the student hadn't prepared for that eventuality. What if the assailant had struck him first instead of reaching for the gun? What if the assailant had been just a bit meaner or more determined?
Was the student serious about carrying a weapon
, or was he mistaking it for a symbol? There's a difference.