In March, the Texas Senate passed “campus carry” legislation that would expand the state’s concealed handgun license (CHL) rights to allow CHL holders to also carry their guns into certain buildings in Texas’ public colleges and universities.
It’s expected to pass the House as well, and Governor Abbott has said he will sign any open carry bill that comes across his desk.
While the bill allows private universities to opt out, there are several parts of the legislation that don’t make sense for any campus, ACU included.
The bill logistically seems to be creating problems where there were none. Because a majority of students on campus are under 21, they can’t legally carry a firearm even with the bill. So the argument that everyone is safer since everyone can pack heat is irrelevant, seeing as it still leaves half the student body defenseless.
The second logistical issue it creates is the question of a university’s right to make its own decisions about student safety. ACU is given some discretion in deciding whether to adopt campus carry or not, but a clause in the bill states that before making their decision, private universities are required to consult students and faculty.
The administration and the board already make decisions regarding student safety. They set our curfew freshman year and threw down huge speed bumps in the parking lots, all without first consulting students or faculty. So of all safety decisions to make, a university should have a right to decide if firearms are appropriate for its campus or not, without first having to sift through a bunch of votes or petitions.
Apart from logistical errors, a few aspects of guns on campus don’t mesh well with ACU. To allow guns in our library, Campus Center and elsewhere, is to create a new set of problems that had never been a concern before, such as someone under 21 and not licensed to carry accidentally picking up or stealing a bag with a firearm in it. Or the repercussions of guns not properly stored or accidentally discharged. These all seem so much more likely to occur than a student needing a gun for self defense.
This bill seems as if it was hastily pushed onto the floor without first considering the logistics or repercussions. Actually, that’s exactly what happened. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick put the bill on a fast-track through the Senate, and it is expected to pass the House on Friday. Hopefully, if it’s eventually enacted and approved, ACU won’t be so quick to pull the trigger on bringing campus carry to the hill.