When someone passed me an article titled, “Texas may soon allow guns on college campuses,” I didn’t know what to make of it.
Initial reaction: “Guns” and “campus” are two words put together that will forever haunt my freshman year of college and this school. Plus, I don’t trust most people, so why would I trust people with guns? Rational reaction: Most people don’t have concealed weapon permits, and the ones that do have proven their responsibility. Dilemma: While having a permit holder in one of those classrooms on April 16, 2007 could have saved lives, I still don’t feel safe with the possibility of someone sitting behind me with a gun.
But I wanted to form an opinion around more than just the typical shallow banter of illogical emotions that I usually hear, an opinion grounded in facts and reason. So, like any analytical mind, I expected to have a firm and unshakeable position on the issue after some research.
Should colleges let concealed handgun license holders carry guns on campus and in classes? Let’s look at the bill specifically in Texas. First, the bill has not been submitted yet, but a similar proposition has already been signed by half of the state senate, and is expected to pass.
It would force Texas universities to allow concealed handguns on college campuses. Utah is the only state that has a similar law already in place. The count of concealed handgun licenses in Texas is about 450,000 people. In 2010, of those between the ages of 18-25 that applied for a permit, 98.8 percent were awarded one. And in 2009, there were 101 convictions of people with CHLs, 0.15 percent of the total amount of convictions.
To get a concealed handgun license in Virginia, a person must be at least 21 years old, complete multiple education and safety courses, pass a background check and pay at least $10, but no more than $50. There are about 250,000 active license holders in Virginia.
Since April 16, 2007, 23 states have rejected bills to allow guns on college campus. Virginia Tech does not allow concealed weapons on campus. With all this data and more, my opinion is about as solid as one of those red star shaped Jell-O’s I always eat too many of.
Regardless of how many viewports, arguments or statistics I encounter, “the answer” doesn’t reveal itself. There are equal facts and reasonable points supporting both sides.
The pro-gun side argues that gun-free zones like campuses leave students defenseless. Criminals with guns have easy victims in students. Allowing concealed handguns on campus has the potential to both protect students in case of an incident, and may even deter one altogether.
The strongest, and most reiterated point in this argument, is that a CHL holder can save students’ lives in the case of a shooting.
The gun control lobby’s argument is pretty simple. Guns won’t make campuses safer. They will make them more dangerous. Statistics don’t indefinitely show more security when concealed handguns are allowed other places, why would they work on college campuses? Even CHL owners are humans who get emotional and make rash decisions. Why let those rash decisions turn into deadly ones, which is more likely to happen if they are students.
First, against the pro-gun side (but not necessarily for the gun control side), I don’t carry a gun, and don’t ever plan to. Therefore I am defenseless all the time. The only way to make sure no one is ever defenseless is to require everyone to carry a gun, or to require everyone to always be around someone who is carrying a gun. Either way, that would be absurd.