Friday, January 24, 2020
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Concealed carry coming to Texas colleges

Beginning in August 2016, students who hold valid concealed-carry licenses in Texas will be able to carry those guns into buildings on college and university campuses in the state, a right they did not previously have, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.


The Colorado River flows just south of the University of Texas, Austin

What started out as Senate Bill 11, a k a “campus carry,” will allow people who hold concealed-handgun licenses to bring their weapons into buildings at public universities, including classrooms and dormitories. The new legislation applies to private four-year colleges as well, but they can opt out. Starting in 2017, it will apply to community colleges too.

People in the state, especially those at college campuses, have mixed feelings about the law. One professor publicly resigned last week, citing the campus carry law as the reason for his resignation. Another group has started a Twitter campaign, using the hashtag #CocksNotGlocks, noting that it is illegal to carry sex toys into classrooms but the campus carry law will make it legal to carry handguns into those same classrooms:

The other side, led mostly by Second-Amendment interpreters who somehow neglect the amendment’s language to “regulate” those who carry guns properly, has engaged in threatening behavior on campus in response to protests like the #CocksNotGlocks political movement.

“It’ll be a waste of a lot of people’s time if they come to us with a blanket ban saying no guns in classrooms,” the Chronicle quoted state Rep Allen Fletcher as saying in one of the least violent responses to protests over the law. “Guess what? They don’t get to make that decision. The people of Texas get to make that decision, and they already did.”

Editorial

The main reason I’m against allowing students to carry guns into campus buildings is that the probability that an accident will occur is far greater than the probability that some handgun-carrying 21-year-old student will save the day in the event a shooter walks into his classroom. An accident could be one of the following scenarios:

  • The gun could go off accidentally: One professor shot himself in the foot during a lecture.
  • A student could become suicidal during an important high-stakes test and shoot himself.
  • A criminal could walk into a huge lecture hall and steal a gun from a licensed carrier.
  • The gun carrier could mistake a late-arriving student with a bulge in his pocket for a shooter.
  • Police arriving at the scene may mistake armed students for the gunman.

And there are a million other scenarios that could result in an accident that could end a life. Being a responsible gun owner requires training, such as the training received by police officers or military personnel. To suggest a state license to carry a concealed weapon somehow imparts this ability or skill on the gun owner is naïve.

Without this important training, received on an ongoing basis, I believe gun carriers have a broadly compromised ability to respond to any live shooter situation that may develop in a university classroom where students aren’t allowed to bring guns.

If students are allowed to bring handguns into the classroom, though, the lower limit of what could set them off is a relatively easy threshold. Unless another student has good training, no one will be able to respond in time, making the bringing of handguns into the classroom a bad idea in the first place.

Officials in other states, like Wisconsin, are watching what goes on in Texas very closely, as laws in those states, if passed, would bring a similar debate to college campuses.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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