Legislation aimed at giving University students and faculty the right to carry guns on campus is likely to pass this year according to the Associated Press. In a state that values their weapons as much as they do their longhorns and wide open spaces, guns on campus isn’t as controversial as elsewhere. If passed it would be only one of only a few to do so.
Utah passed similar legislation last year and Colorado has a loosely related law that allows colleges to determine for themselves if they will allow guns. About a dozen other states have proposed legislation but their passing isn’t as likely as Texas’. In Oklahoma, for instance, all 25 public colleges have officially spoken out against similar legislation.
For supporters, however, it’s a matter of self defense. In the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007 many spoke out stating the murders wouldn’t have been so numerous if students there were allowed to carry weapons. They instead would have shot the assailant dead in the beginning.
One man, himself a shooting victim of the Virginia Tech massacre states “People want to be the hero, I understand that. They play video games and think they understand the reality. It’s nothing like that.” He opposes measures that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses, stating it would only be a recipe for disaster.
One concern that many have is the prevalence of campus parties and even relationship squabbles. They wonder how these scenarios will be affected with students who are licensed to carry concealed weapons. “If I was taking an exam and knew the person next to me had one, I don’t know how comfortable I would feel,” one student says.
Balancing public safety with gun rights can be difficult. While the Constitution guarantees our right to bear arms, laws passed on the federal, state, and local levels seek to control this to ensure public safety. Doing so without violating the intention of the Second Amendment is the ideal, though sometimes the intention of the “Right to Bear Arms” is the very thing being debated.
Currently it’s estimated 461,725 Texans have a concealed carry license, allowing them to carry a firearm concealed on their person. However, if caught with a concealed weapon and no such license, you can easily be criminally charged and face misdemeanor or even felony charges.