Ram Page staff feels anxious about guns on campus

On April 17, 2015

The Ram Page staff came to a conclusion at our meeting this week as we all started sharing our opinions about the new campus carry gun policy that Texas is trying to pass. If it passes, students and faculty will be able to carry on campus if they have their Concealed Handgun License, the requirements for which are, according to texasconcealedhandgunassociation.org:

•Be 21 years of age and up (Members and former members of the armed forces must be 18 and up)

•Have a clean criminal history, including military service and recent juvenile records

•Not be under protective order •Not be chemically dependent •Not be of unsound mind

•Not be delinquent in paying any fines, fees, child support, etc.

•Be eligible to purchase a handgun by completing the NICS check •Complete required training (4-6 hours in the classroom plus a written examination and a shooting test, scoring 70% or higher on both)

While we could think of both advantages and disadvantages of this proposal, it seemed as if the cons outweighed the pros.

One pro is that the carrier would overall feel safer. Think about it: if you are the one with the gun, you are going to feel very confident and like you can protect yourself if a problem revealed itself.

One aspect to consider when thinking about the implications of the law is how parents feel about it. Some parents might see it as a positive change, as they might feel more comfortable knowing their child had a way to defend themselves. This is especially true for young women. Some of us have female friends that have a gun right now, registered under their parents’ names, that they keep in their vehicles.

However, this can also be a con, because some parents are going to feel uncomfortable knowing their child is walking around to class between people that may be armed. Some parents won’t particularly like the idea that somebody could have a weapon on them while their kids are in the classroom.

Another con is our fear that people that don’t know how to operate a gun, or that don’t have their CHL, already have a gun. This happens around the world every day, and it seems as if in the past it’s always been the people that aren’t supposed to have a gun that end up hurting someone, or themselves.

The fact that there is easy access to people who don’t have their CHL scares us. If the law passes, there is a chance that someone could be walking to their car with their hands full and their gun could drop out of their backpack or pocket, which means someone could pick it up and run off with it, or even turn it on the owner.

Another problem that we see arising is the fact that allowing students to have guns on campus opens itself up to more accidents happening. For example, say someone forgets to put their gun on safety and shows it off to their friends in the cafeteria and it fires: this could be a huge problem. Also, there’s the fact that a lot of people aren’t comfortable with the thought of their professor having a gun on them in class. The classroom is already a stressful place for some, and bringing a weapon into it will make it harder for those people to concentrate and feel as if they are in a safe environment.

Something else along the lines of a safe environment that we wondered about was the question of how police men are going to identify the “bad guy” if everyone has a gun. For example, if there was a shooting and the police come in to shut it down, how could they identify the original shooter? Police are trained to believe that every person could potentially be armed, but there is no doubt that adding the ability to carry on campus will make their jobs much more difficult. Even in situations that don’t consist of a shooter targeting the school, if they come upon a situation where people are getting in an argument with one another, they now have to consider the distinct possibility that one or both of these people, and any bystanders, may be armed.

A problem also arises when we consider the time that such a law is being passed. In today’s society, where there are video games dedicated to blood and gore and violence, even war, and where we see awful things happening around the world every single day, it is a fact that our generation has become desensitized to violence in general. This can lead to an under-appreciation of the potential for harm that carrying a weapon can have, and people may not treat the responsibility of carrying one in the proper manner. This could lead to rash decisions that put the carrier and the people around them at risk, if that person doesn’t understand the magnitude and potential for destruction they carry with them.

As Texans, we are all aware of our Second Amendment right, which states: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” People in our state in particular tend to become a little more heated than other states at the thought of having that right infringed upon.

Most of us are used to being around guns, because we hunt, or our families and friends do. However, the idea of having a gun at your house for hunting is entirely different than the idea of somebody carrying one concealed on their person while in class with you. Even though people have to go through everything to get their CHL and be qualified to carry a weapon on campus, there remains in our minds the belief that guns just do not seem to mix with a school environment.

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