Guns on campus – What’s your stand?

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EL PASO – The Texas Legislature is considering allowing students and professors with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms on college campuses.  The bill in draft form has been approved by committee and is headed to the Texas House for a vote, where a majority favors the measure

In 2009 a similar bill failed in the Texas State Legislature. This year though, gun control advocates say that it will be more difficult to stop this bill. If passed and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry as expected, Texas would become the second state after Utah to approve this type of legislation.

Concealed weapons on campus. Do you agree? (Robert Brown/Borderzine)

Concealed weapons on campus. Do you agree? (Robert Brown/Borderzine)

The topic of firearms on campuses is of growing concern for everyone possibly affected, whether students, parents of a student, faculty and staff at a college or university or members of the police forces responsible for the safety and security of everyone on campus.

Students and faculty members here at the University of Texas at El Paso expressed the following opinions and concerns:

“I don’t agree with it,” said Evi Marquez, a student, “because I think it would be another threat especially with the war going on across the border with the drugs and everything and you know its been said that people come and use the cars here at UTEP as a loading zone for the drugs and as far as for bringing weapons into that it would be so much more dangerous that you never know what could happen. It’s not worth it.”

“I’m not overly concerned,” said Cameron Wilson, undergraduate student in the College of Education, “because I understand that there’s an extensive background check that goes behind acquiring the concealed firearm and it has a fee that you have to renew every year and so forth, so I don’t feel that people that are qualified to have the concealed firearm permit are a danger to other student’s on campus.”

“It’s perhaps the most moronic notion I have ever heard coming from politicians and that’s saying a lot,” said David Smith-Soto, senior lecturer in multimedia journalism at UTEP. “Adding more guns just makes for a more volatile mix. In the split second required to act in an emergency, the good guys and the bad guys can look alike and innocent persons will likely get shot in the crossfire. That’s why we have trained law-enforcement officers. The state is supposed to protect its citizens, not put them in harm’s way. ”

(Robert Brown/Borderzine.com)

(Robert Brown/Borderzine.com)

“ I think the cases where a professor or student would have to defend himself or herself on this campus against someone else with a weapon would be far greater if everyone were permitted to carry weapons,” said George Barton, Director of UTEP’s Career Center, “generally speaking we have a pretty safe campus and I’d like to think that we can allow our own police force to protect us. I think they’ve done a great job of it.”

“I’d feel safe and secure,” said Ezekiel Carter, student at El Paso Community College, “If I could, I’d carry a weapon myself, but its like I would say if your responsible then I would safely suggest you can have a firearm, but only if you respect the weapon. Any guy can have a gun and shoot himself. So I would say if you know how to handle a gun and respect the gun and everything then I would say yes have a firearm on you.”

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15 Comments

  1. “I don’t agree with it,” said Evi Marquez, a student, “because I think it would be another threat especially with the war going on across the border with the drugs and everything and you know its been said that people come and use the cars here at UTEP as a loading zone for the drugs and as far as for bringing weapons into that it would be so much more dangerous that you never know what could happen. It’s not worth it.”

    Um, you say that drug runners are using the campus as a loading zone, so students should not be allowed to carry guns? From this I can only conclude that:

    1. You somehow believe that the drug runners are respecting the current rule prohibiting guns on campus. Which makes you an idiot.

    2. You believe that the smuggling of drugs is a good thing, and the smugglers should not have to worry about armed citizens posing a risk to their business. Which makes you a criminal.

    or

    3. You haven’t done any research at all, and know nothing about this issue but thought it would be cool to get your name in the article. Well, Evi, we all know your name now. So congratulations on that. Except that we all think you are either a criminal or an idiot.

  2. Roberto Perezdiaz
    Roberto Perezdiaz on

    It is interesting that university level students will react irrationally to a headline without a critical analysis of the content. “Guns on Campus” implies by use of the plural “Guns,” many guns. The proposed changes to Texas Concealed Carry law only extends the right of persons with a Concealed Carry Permit (CCP)to take their legally authorized weapon with them into the classroom. Any person can go online and study the stringent requirements including fingerprints, background checks and demonstrated proficiency with the weapon to be carried. Therefore, the legal gun is carried by a person who is not a criminal. There is no guarantee that at any given moment a person without a CCP is not in the classroom. This unlicensed to carry person does not respect the law and there is no way to prohibit a person from breaking the law if that person is determined to do so. That unlicensed person who now can take a firearm into the classroom probably does not have a clean criminal background. Big difference in the two examples. There can never be a law to prevent an irrational act. The person determined to commit an irrational act doesn’t (usually) inform the authorities ahead of time. Almost always the authorities arrive at scene of the crime after the fact. The primary reason for a person to have a CCP is for self-defense, not to be citizen hero cop. The liabilities and consequences of brandishing and or firing a weapon are very serious. The CCP holder learned that during the training needed to be issued a CCP. The CCP holder because he or she understands the liabilities and is a law-abiding citizen will be the last person to ever be reckless with a firearm.

  3. As a retired college professor, it looks as if the carrying of firearms on campus by students will eliminate the grades of “D” and “F” in required courses! At least, before I retired, the angry “flunkers” weren’t “toten’ iron”!

    No name, please! I am still remembered!

  4. Some Othername on

    Ever wonder why a San Antonio legislator introduced the Campus Carry Bill?
    See the Alamo College Police Alerts

    03-05-11 Aggravated Robbery

    02-24-11 Robbery Update

    02-24-11 Suspicious Person

    01-12-11 Agg Robbery Update

    12-14-10 Agg Robbery Update

    12-07-10 Aggravated Robbery

    04-27-10 Agg Robbery Update

    04-13-10 Agg Robbery

    07-07-10 Robbery

    10-29-10 Theft

    09-14-10 Theft

    Update

    10-28-10 Theft / Assault

    Robbery 10-13-09 Update

    02-03-10 Assault

    Update

    10-21-10 Robbery

    01-29-10 Assault

    Update

    10-15-10 Robbery

    01-20-10 Aggravated Robbery

    Update

    10-13-10 Robbery

    01-07-10 Aggravated Assault

    Update

    03-04-10 Aggravated Robbery

    03-24-11 Off Campus Shooting
    ——————————————–

    UT Austin has fewer armed robberies, but more assaults, about 1 every 2 days for the past year
    ———————-
    U of Houston has fewer robberies and assaults, but more carjacking, kidnapping, rape and murder
    ————————-

    It’s hard to choose a college these days from those menus.

  5. I was just wondering who it is that will check each person carrying a gun on campus to see if they have the “permit?” For someone to say that the rigorous checks and balances means that only sane, licensed, responsible individuals will be carrying guns on campus seems fatuous. Who’s to monitor this? I saw a documentary on this issue with police talking about how they train rigorously to learn to handle a weapon and they wouldn’t want to be in a situation where multiple folks had the right to be shooting among innocent people. They showed their reaction times to an emergency and these trained police couldn’t get it right but at least they admitted it. You’re average gun carrying person, it would seem to be, would be too cocky to know when they are lacking judgement. This is all so silly. Statistically more college students are killed by their own hands, in car accidents and other situations than in a campus terror attack.

  6. Some Othername on

    Cat
    It isn’t about the “RARE” mass school shooting as much as about self-protection from the common robber rapist etc.

    Google “Amanda Collins self protection act”
    Although that occurred in Nevada, (Amanda was raped on campus on the way to her car where she had been forced to store her gun instead of have it with her, by a guy who raped and killed another student) The House and Senate heard testimony from a UT-Austin and a Texas A&M victim.

    I myself had a guy with a knife pull it on me in a campus parking lot.

    It’s about self-protection, not playing “stop the mass shooter campus security force” although it could be handy to have while hiding under a desk if a mass shooter ever walked desk to desk executing people and one could. at his/her turn, shoot upwards at the active shooter such that any bullet passing through would hit the ceiling instead of other students on the floor.

  7. Some Othername on

    Cat
    you mention reaction time
    Cho walked around freely executing people for about ten minutes at Virginia Tech.

    Still, it’s about criminals knowing:
    1) people are defenseless between buildings and cars
    2) guns are stored in cars which they burglarize mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays when classes are longer.

    So until this broken system is “fixed” we”ll continue forcing law abiding citizens to store guns in cars to run into the campus library, so criminals have easy access to them on campus to use in other crimes, but not at the city library.

  8. Some Othername on

    Robert
    Considering the age requirements to get a license, the 17,18,19,20 year old students won’t have a license anyway, mostly Faculty and staff qualify for licensing, I’d expect fewer students questioning grades since they’d not know who was licensed and carrying or not.
    True that a few 26-30-50 year old Grad students might be carrying too.
    Most licensees prefer “good equipment” to stake their life upon. Not many “youngsters” 21-25 are going to spend $1,000.00 for a pistol, $175.00 for a holster and $100.00 for a reinforced belt designed to handle the weight properly while retaining the firearm safely concealed.

    So mostly this affects the ability of Faculty and Staff to be able to defend themselves from a student 17/18/19/20 who might be upset about a grade who brings an AK-47 for “show and tell”

  9. Some Othername on

    Google

    Amanda Collins Self-Protection Act

    Learn why Nevada is going to pass laws preventing schools (mini-dictatorships) from having policies preventing people like Amanda from protecting herself from the rapist in the college parking area, who raped and KILLED another student, while she went to her car where she was FORCED to store her gun instead of having it with her like she does everywhere else.

  10. @Robert.
    As a professor, how many times were you physically assaulted by a student over a poor grade? Pending your response, I would assume none. Do you think that a person, who has gone through the requirements to obtain a CHL, and has the clear criminal record required, will suddenly snap over a poor grade and shoot you? This is a magical fairy land you live in, created by gun-control group’s fear tactics. These are not the crazy people you should be afraid of. It’s the people who already carry on campus because they have no respect for the law. For a person as educated as you, you are shockingly ignorant on this subject.

  11. Texas college students need to protect themselves, regardless of what others think. Crime is on amreicas campuses and the powers that be keep this information from the public. Just to keep up the image and money coming in

    Leonard

  12. I am requesting permission to use this image in an internal elearning project.

    Thank-you

  13. Lourdes Cueva Chacón on

    Sheppam,

    You are welcome to use these pictures as long as you provide the proper credits for the author and Borderzine. Also, please let us know when and where you use it so our student can show that in his portfolio.
    Thanks,

  14. Andy Tefteller on

    The roadblock with getting new legislation passed to allow guns on college campuses is not the Brady Center, nor other left-wing anti-gun groups who are actively lobbying to restrict gun rights and curb 2nd Amendment rights. The anti-gun left has no more influence on the American people or politicians than the well-funded NRA, which has an extremely strong support network and marketing power. The NRA has maintained a steadfast and consistent fight to retain 2nd Amendment rights, and I believe its presence will continue to strike a good balance against extreme left wing liberals on gun rights. The issue is really with the majority of citizens who are somewhere in the middle on the issue of gun rights, and have a legitimate concern with how best to handle dealing with preventing future Virginia Tech catastrophes. We all watched the news, and felt the pain and outrage of those poor kids who were murdered. We all agree that some changes should be instituted. Obviously laws designed to criminalize the carrying of guns on college campuses aren’t going to deter anyone from carrying a gun illegally on campus and shoot someone. Criminals who intend to use a gun on campus for the act of murder are not stopped by fear of being prosecuted for unlawful possession of a firearm. V Tech is prima facie evidence of that. The question is whether allowing students with concealed handgun licenses to legally carry their personal firearms on campus will result in more violence (and presumably deaths) than occur at present? If so, then they should remain banned. Logically, if the opposite is true, however, all moderates on the issue (which is the majority) should agree that we should amend our current laws to allow a CHL holding student to carry their concealed firearm with him/her to class. Duh right? Seems pretty easy. Well, as some of the above have pointed out, not everyone can agree that the studies on the issue are accurate. Some of us think if we continue the current ban, we will have more Virginia Tech incidents, which is unacceptable and preventable. Others think that by allowing CHL holders to carry their firearms on campus, more violence will occur. Thus, we should focus on other avenues of preventing future Virginia Tech killings. We should remember, however, the goal is not to just prevent future V Tech type murder sprees. It is to assess whether objectively, there will be more overall violence occurring on college campuses by allowing the presence of firearms on campus. That’s it. Will there or will there not be more violence? Will you, or your friends, or your family members, or any other person who happens to be in class or on a campuses, be more (or less likely) to be affected by violence as a result of the presence of firearms on campus? Helpful questions: 1) Are college campuses currently safer than say your average restaurant, or office building, or park? If so, is that because guns are banned? Or some other reason? 2) For those who oppose allowing guns on campuses, but not elsewhere, what is it specifically about allowing CHL holders to carry guns to class seems more dangerous (or is more dangerous) than allowing CHL holders to carry guns to your local restaurant, or office, or down the street or in a parking lot, etc.? Many people have talked about the high stress of the college environment on students and that effect on student decision making. How is that stress different than the infinite types of daily stresses we deal with everyday elsewhere, like at the office, or at restaurants, or at home? Is there a big difference between the stress one feels from losing their job (and wanting revenge against their former employers for firing them), than the student who is in extreme student loan debt and fails college b/c of a bad grade given by a professor? Assume in both scenarios that person is a CHL holder who carries his firearm on him at all times. Is the presence of a gun on that ex-employee or student when they get the bad news more or less likely to cause them to act violently with their weapon? Is the student more likely than the ex-employee to use his gun violently? Another scenario: Employee gets in heated argument with another coworker…fighting words are exchanged. Is the coworker with a CHL more likely to use his weapon a result than a non-CHL carrying employee subjected to the same heated situation? Is a student who gets in a heated argument with another student for any various reason…where fighting words are exchanged, more likely than a non-CHL carrying student to use his weapon as a result? Think through all of the situations in your life where you have encountered violence. How many times have you seen, or heard, of CHL holders using firearms illegally while carrying them in public? 3) Compared to the average population (where CHL holders are currently in most states allowed to carry concealed weapons in most public places) are student populations on college campuses more or less educated, and intelligent, and violence prone, than the average population? If they are more educated, more intelligent, and less violence prone (which I believe is probably well documented with regard to gun crimes), what is it about student populations and/or the college environment that makes students on campus more likely to be victims of gun violence/crimes than the average population if or when CHL holders are allowed to carry their guns on campus?

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