BackTalk: Campus carry sparks disagreement among students

Concealed carry can keep campuses safe

by NICOLE LOPEZ//Sports Editor

Texas has allowed concealed handguns in public for about 20 years. Now, college campuses can be added to the list.

On June 1, 2015, Texas Senate Bill 11 was passed and signed by Governor Greg Abbott. The bill states any individual who has a license to carry, or a concealed handgun license, can carry a firearm on public college campuses.

Last year, this bill went into effect for only universities. On August 1, the bill went into effect for all college campuses.

It’s a smart and safe move from the Texas Legislature. Many individuals would argue that having a gun on campus is not safe, no matter what the situation is. This is something I can’t agree with. Having a weapon to protect yourself, or others, is probably the best thing in this day and age.

Imagine if a faculty member had a weapon during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut on December 14, 2014 . I know it’s not a college campus. But, it’s still a campus. If one faculty member had a weapon, I can guarantee the end result would have been different.

Another example is the Virginia Tech shooting, which happened on a college campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. It’s considered the deadliest shooting by a single gunman. Again, the aftermath would have been completely different if a student, or a faculty member, would have been carrying a weapon.

I know many students are concerned about their safety because the weapon is concealed. But I don’t understand why this is an issue. If anything, if it wasn’t concealed, I think it would cause a greater distraction, and you’ll be more worried about the weapon because it’s seen. You know what they say, “out of sight, out of mind.”

There are also concerns that if a student is carrying a gun, they might use the weapon for the wrong reason. For example, if a professor makes them upset in anyway, many are concerned the student can use their weapon on the professor.

I can see where this can be concerning. But, in order to get a concealed carry license or gun permit of any kind, you have to go through different kinds of tests, including a background check. They check to make sure you’re stable enough to own a gun, and I’m sure they wouldn’t let someone carry one if they get upset about every little thing.

I think having a concealed weapon is beneficial, especially if a shooting were to happen (hopefully it never will). Let’s say there was a shooting on campus, and the campus was open carry, meaning you could see the weapon. The gunman would shoot anyone who has a weapon, because they can see it, and they want to take out those people first. There wouldn’t be much of a point protecting yourself if you’re the first target.

Now, let’s try the same scenario, except the campus is concealed carry. The gunman wouldn’t know who has a weapon. This gives an individual who is carrying the element of surprise, which can stop the shooter and save lives. Saving lives and avoiding a school massacre can be done because of this bill.

I believe the Texas Legislature was thinking long-term when passing this bill. It’s beneficial for students and for faculty members. If a campus shooting were to happen, I believe this bill could save lives. That’s always something we should strive for.


Campus carry puts student on edge

by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor

College campuses are no place for guns.

On Aug.1, Texas Senate Bill 11 went into effect, allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry side arms on community college campuses.

Although there are some benefits to passing the bill, allowing the concealed carry of a firearm on a college campus is just not necessary. There have been numerous high school and college shootings in my lifetime, but never did I think the state would be handing out permits to 21 year olds with a measly eight-hour training course under their belts and saying, “hey, this permit lets you take your gun onto college campuses.”

I understand that is an extreme viewpoint, but there are extreme people out there. That Glock 18 on your hip might help you feel safe, but how is the rest of the class going to feel when the professor is threatening you with failing grades? In most cases, it would be better if campus carry only allowed professors and faculty members to carry weapons. Take it even further and only allow tenured professors, or professors and faculty with military training, to carry a concealed weapon.

The thing is, as a student, professor, or faculty member, you cannot ask someone if they are carrying a concealed weapon, or if they have a permit for one. So if I happen to see someone’s .44 Magnum peaking out from their Carhart coat, how do I know if that’s supposed to make me feel safer or anxious? I certainly can’t ask him. So do I call campus police? Does everyone in this situation call campus police? What if you don’t call campus police because he seems like one of them “good ol’ boys,” then he shoots up your class for failing the midterm? You never know what someone’s intentions are, and if they may or may not have a gun. Since you can’t ask them about it, you are left to speculate.

The most troublesome aspect of the law may not be the fact that people can carry concealed handguns on campus. The fact that I legally cannot ask you if you have a concealed carry permit makes it really hard for me to just ignore or accept the bill and move on with school.

Guns are great for hunting and war zones. But what kind of hunting is going to be done, or war is going to be fought, on a college campus? Passing Texas Senate Bill 11 puts too many students’ lives at risk. It is also unnecessary and illogical.

The person you see carrying a firearm might be the one who stops the shooter attempting mass murder, or he might be the mass-murdering shooter and you just don’t know.

Author: Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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