The thought of guns on college campuses should concern students and faculty – and a potential bill in the Texas Legislature may make it reality.
A pair of bills in the Texas House would allow students and faculty who have a concealed handgun license to carry firearms onto college campuses. This bill constitutes an unnecessary response to a tragic, but isolated, instance of terror.
A deranged gunman almost four years ago opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech University and shed the blood of 32 innocent people. Today, lawmakers are trying to make sure a similar massacre never takes place in Texas. Advocates of the bill hope a potential gunman would be thwarted by the possibility that intended victims also could posses a concealed weapon.
Utah has allowed guns in the classroom since 2006, andÂ concealed carry advocates point to the Beehive State’s lack of incident as proof that a gun-friendly campus can work. But while Utah has not witnessed rampant shootings as a result of its gun-toting students, its law undoubtedly has changed classroom dynamics.
The Utah law – and either Texas bill, if passed – hangs a pale of uncertainty between students and professors, as they wonder whether an academic disagreement may turn violent. We believe unavoidable anxiety hampers learning.
No evidence supports the idea that an armed student body would prevent tragedies such as the Virginia Tech massacre, and it could compound the problem in a crisis when police arrive as they try to differentiate hostile from vigilante.
A study by the National Institute of Health found the part of the human brain that governs risky behavior only reaches full development at age 25. Combining an underdeveloped brain with concealed handguns on campus could concoct a recipe for disaster. A professor engaged in heated discussions with a student about grades on projects might wonder if the individual with whom they are arguing is armed.
Fortunately for ACU students and faculty, one of the bills under consideration would allow private universities like ACU to maintain a firearms ban. We encourage students to contact their elected officials and fight this bill. However, if it does pass, we encourage students to voice their concerns to ACU administrators to ensure the mandate does not apply on campus. Texas already bans concealed handguns in public places like courthouses and post offices. Let’s keep college campuses the same.
Contact information for members of the Texas House of Representative can be found at www.house.state.tx.us/. Contact information for state senators can be found at www.senate.state.tx.us/.