Texas’s New Campus-Carry Law: A Turn for the Worst

Photo courtesy of nbcnews.com | A new law will allow students, staff and faculty with firearm permits to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses.

Photo courtesy of nbcnews.com | A new law will allow students, staff and faculty with firearm permits to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses.

 

Emily Kowalik ’18
Assistant Copy Editor 

In anticipation of Texas’s new campus-carry law, set to take effect on Aug. 1, several colleges have advised professors to avoid certain controversial topics, especially if they sense anger in the classroom.

The campus-carry law allows individuals with firearm permits to carry concealed weapons on public university campuses.

Professors are being cautioned that gun violence might be triggered as a reaction to difficult or tense classroom discussions. While it is currently only seen as a rare, worst case scenario, the mere idea that professors and students must be warned of gun violence as a realistic possibility in the classroom is appalling.

Campus-carry gun rights establish an absurd situation. Professors and students will be forced to go to class with the knowledge that the student next to them may legally be carrying a weapon, which will undoubtedly make them think twice about forcefully arguing their opinions against those of others.

I can’t fathom how lawmakers can advocate this type of legislation, especially in a country that has a long and ever-increasing history of gun violence at schools. Texas Southern University, Lone Star College–North Harris, North Forest High School, Harwell Middle School, Worthing High School, Irving Nimitz High School, Crosby High School and Donna High School are just some Texas schools which have experienced the tragedy of gun violence within the last 25 years.

How has our country come to find itself in the nearly unique role of being an advanced nation which continues for support the right for gun ownership after having faced so many catastrophic events of violence involving firearms?

This new Texas law escalates the danger of gun violence – and for what purpose? So that students who wish to carry concealed weapons to class may exert their right to do so.

Proponents of this law argue that fears of its negative effects are exaggerated. They say that eight states have already enacted similar legislation, and none of them have experienced the tragedies that some have predicted.

Advocates of this campus-carry law have even gone as far as to posit that concealed guns in the classroom will help maintain the peace by enabling students to defend themselves and deter possible shooters. They contend that gun-free zones become targets for potential attackers.

I’d argue that the way to solve gun violence in schools is not to encourage students, teachers and faculty to carry weapons. Public universities in Texas are not a reincarnation of the Old West – it is not necessary for every man, woman and child to be armed. Not to mention it is ridiculous to believe that one could solve the epidemic of shootings in America by simply adding more guns to the situation. There have been many instances, the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon being one, where armed students on campus had no effect in deterring the shooters or stopping violence on campus once it had begun.

The mere fact that some feel the need to arm themselves against possible attacks while on a college campus says something disturbing about the state of gun violence in this country.

Already many public universities in Texas have seen both students and faculty declining to attend or teach there due to this law. Thus far, all of Texas’s major private universities, who unlike public universities have the option to ban guns, have chosen to do so. Many feel the necessity to confidently say that another student in the classroom is not armed.

William McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas system said, “The presence of concealed weapons will make a campus a less safe environment. Besides accidents and suicides, I worry that our systems will have a harder time recruiting people from outside the state who will be put off by the proliferation of guns on campus.”

The threat of students legally being able to carry concealed weapons on campus stifles not only free speech on those campuses, but also poses a genuine threat for many students, faculty and teachers at public universities in Texas. The banning of guns on campuses should not be a point of contention; it should be a common sense law in effect in every state, on every campus.

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