Proposed bill could mean guns on Texas campuses

A Texas bill that will give professors and students the option of carrying concealed guns on campuses is soaring through the House. The legislation has led to strong opinions, causing society to question whether or not it’s an appropriate solution to violence.

Senior Vice President for Administration Steve Theodore explained the university’s opposed position on the issue.

“UMHB is very safe place, and we certainly want it to stay that way,” he said.“Keep in mind that putting firearms in people’s hands doesn’t necessarily prevent crime.”

Some people support the bill, because they believe individuals with firearms could prevent tragedies like Virginia Tech from occurring on their campuses. While others argue students with ill-will are going to bring guns anyway, so why not make it legal so students can protect themselves.

Theodore believes otherwise.

“Most citizens who carry handgun licenses aren’t adequately trained to handle hostile situations,” Theodore said. “Even well-trained individuals have a difficult time with accuracy during stress-filled, tense situations.”

It’s difficult to determine how private schools like UMHB will be affected by the bill.

“Since the law isn’t yet written, we do not know what effect it will have for us.  Of course, if we are compelled by law to comply, UMHB will do so,” he said.

Director of Campus Police Gary Sargent examined the possible ways the campus could be affected.

“The only thing that the law would do is decriminalize that penalty,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we cannot take disciplinary action against someone for violation of a university rule.”

Though UMHB’s future implications are ambiguous, Sargent knows one thing is for sure.

“It’s going to become a reality,” he said. “I’m not sure if it’s going to become a reality in this legislation session or not.”

Sargent believes as society becomes more violent, there’s going to be more emphasis to own guns.

“Arming people is not the solution,” he said. “What we’re doing is basically combating a symptom of a much deeper problem.”

A student who wishes to remain anonymous strongly believes the university should consider giving students with concealed handgun licenses freedom to carry guns on campus.

However, he also thinks students should have to inform the police department and campus police that they are carrying firearms on university grounds.

Assistant Professor of Biology Arch Koontz has had a gun shop for 15 years. He is particular about whom he sells his guns to, restricting sales from those he believes will be a threat, for example, individuals who arrive at his shop intoxicated.

Koontz said he would not carry a gun on campus if it was legal and permitted by the university.

“I feel uncomfortable carrying a gun in a place where there would be young people unless I would feel a threat,” he said.

Like Koontz, many see reasons to advocate or oppose making it legal to carry concealed guns on college campuses from many angles.

He said, “Texas can kind of do what it wants to, but as far as I’m concerned, I know what I’m going to do as an individual under the laws that we have.”

Author: Chelesea Carter

Chelesea Carter is a senior English major minoring in writing at UMHB. She is an assistant page editor for The Bells newspaper. Though she came from the small town of Caldwell, Texas, she spent most of her teenage years in Aggieland. Chelesea enjoys baking delicious goodies, reading novels and discovering new things about others. Writing about social issues allows Chelesea to share her compassion for helping others. Her life-long goal is to improve the desolate state of the world.

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