Concealed carry on campus

Published 12:18 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The campus carry law came into effect on Monday for all Texas state 4-year universities and colleges, which allows individuals with a concealed handgun license (CHL) to carry their concealed weapons into college or university buildings and onto college campuses.

It is the latest step in an already lengthy process to extend Texas’ CHL rights beyond the general public sphere; however, as can be expected, it’s been anything but a unanimous decision for those most affected by it.

“We spent a lot of time collecting opinions, thoughts, and emotional accounts from our employees and students about [the carry law], and it was pretty well divided,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, senior associate provost for Lamar University. “You could take a knife and cut it in half.

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“Some believe strongly and passionately that it adds to safety on campus while others believe that it makes the campus less safe.”

Lamar University students like An Vo believed that it would make the school safer.

“As much as I’m a liberal, I actually think that having guns on campus is a good thing,” said the 21-year old psychology major. “I personally think that having more guns on campus will make things more secure.”

Vo thought that it would act as a deterrent to would-be criminals and reasoned that it would “prevent people from doing stupid things.”

“It’s like checks and balances. I’m not going to shoot anybody, but I wouldn’t try to shoot people [anyway] because they may have a gun. People would think twice before they try shooting anybody.”

Meanwhile, other Lamar students did not feel the same way about the enactment of the campus carry law.

“I’m not too surprised that it came about,” Kevin Tran, 25, said. “I personally don’t like the idea of people walking around with concealed firearms.

“I get that some people may feel safer, but my view on conceal carry… I wouldn’t bring a gun around even if I’m allowed to.”

Tran cited the reason why he wouldn’t as the “responsibility of carrying and operating guns” as a burden too great for determining potential life and death situations.

“I’m not entirely convinced that this will make things better,” Tran concluded.

Regardless of opinion or ideology, the well being of faculty, staff, and the student body appeared to be paramount above all else.

“We all agree that safety is the main concern,” Smith said. “We’ll have to wait and see what side of the argument this comes out on.

“No one knows at this point what the future of campus carry will be.”

Campus carry law for all state 4-year colleges and universities took effect Aug 1, 2016. For all state 2-year and junior colleges, the law will take effect one year later, on Aug 1, 2017.