Since open carry went into effect on Jan. 1 of this year, concealed carry on college campuses has been somewhat overshadowed and less vocalized across the nation. However, in Texas the debate continues to heat up, especially in the wake of the University of Texas at Austin being forced to allow guns on campus and even in the classroom.
The president of the university, Greg Fenves released a statement saying, “I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date.”
UT System Chancellor William McRaven also added, “the presence of handguns at an institution of higher learning is contrary to our mission of education and research (Links to an external site.), which is based on inquiry, free speech, and debate.”
For the most part the result and the opposition are not surprising, seeing as although the university is known for its liberal ideas, it lies in the state with the most gun support. But what is interesting is how 20 out of 20 private universities in the state of Texas seem to support these qualms.
We believe the main reason behind these private institutions saying no to guns is not only the inhibition of learning, but also the fear that is coupled with the unknown.
It has been voiced various times that the allowance of guns on campus would take away from class discussions. If someone is already hesitant to share their opinion because they are afraid of what people might think, imagine how that is amplified if there is a gun factored into the disagreement.
Yes, the likelihood of someone standing up and point blank firing at someone because of a disagreement is far-fetched, but it could happen. And as humans we react to certain situations by weighing all the possibilities.
Now this idea can easily be countered with the modification of disallowing guns in the classroom to which we say does not exactly solve anything. First off, where does one leave the gun? In the dorms? At their house? If the reason for having guns on campus is to increase safety, than this modification is mute.
Even if this was somehow compromised, think about how different scenarios like the bean, or chapel would be. Can you imagine sitting in the World Famous Bean and the person next to you is strapping a nine millimeter? How much harder is it to enjoy a meal when there is the possibility of lethal weapons surrounding you?
Finally how does the party scene change with guns? Southern Methodist University was one of the 20 private universities to vote no, but one SMU alum to considered this idea void because partying takes place off campus. This is correct, but if guns are allowed on campus more people will be inclined to get a license when they turn 21, and this will naturally increase the number of guns off campus and at parties as well.
Clearly they are numerous gray areas in this discussion from both viewpoints, but in the end the numbers speak for themselves, 95 percent of respondents in a study by Ball State University opposed the allowance of guns on campus. Although this is a statistic that represents the Midwest, its clear educators in Texas are not keen about rushing into a decision or being forced to make one.