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Concealed Handguns On Campuses: Good Or Bad?

Rick Perry
Texas Governor Rick Perry fires a six-shooter pistol during a promotional event with Texas Motor Speedway on April 15, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

There has been a lot of talk about Texas Legislation toying with the idea to give college students and professors the right to carry guns on campus. So I thought it would be interesting to get a local debate going about the issue .

More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on as co-authors of a bill that would force Universities to allow concealed handguns.  The Senate passed a similar bill in 2009 and is expected to do so again. Pistol packing Republican, Gov. Rick Perry, has said he’s in favor of the idea.

Texas would become the second state, following Utah, to pass such a  law. Colorado gives colleges the option and several have allowed handguns.

Supporters of the legislation argue that gun violence on campuses, such as the mass shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Northern Illinois in 2008, show that the best defense against a gunman is students who can shoot back.

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio has said,

“It’s strictly a matter of self-defense, I don’t ever want to see repeated on a Texas college campus what happened at Virginia Tech, where some deranged, suicidal madman goes into a building and is able to pick off totally defenseless kids like sitting ducks.”

25 other states have proposed similar bills with not much support.  Most opposition comes from college leaders.   In Oklahoma, all 25 public college and university presidents declared their opposition to a concealed carry proposal.

Oklahoma Chancellor of Higher Education Glen Johnson said,

“There is no scenario where allowing concealed weapons on college campuses will do anything other than create a more dangerous environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors,”

University of Texas President William Powers and MSU President Dr. Jesse Rogers have both expressed their opposition of concealed handguns on campus, saying the mix of students, guns and campus parties is too volatile.

If passed, the bill would not allow just anybody to carry a concealed handgun onto a campus.  Those carrying a gun must also carry a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) issued by the State of Texas.  In order to qualify for the license, individuals must be at least 21 years old, have no felony convictions, pass state and federal background checks and also pass a classroom/hands on training course.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is a webpage dedicated to the support of Students being allowed to carry concealed handguns on campuses.  The group got started after the Virginia Tech shooting, which the group says proved gun free zones don’t work.

I couldn’t find a specific website that was against concealed handguns on campus. Perhaps those that are in favor of passing such a law are a little more passionate about the issue than those that are against it.

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