Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
An increase in campus shootings in recent years has caused lawmakers to debate Second Amendment rights. While some want to place stricter restrictions on who can and can’t carry firearms, the Texas Senate passed two laws which protect the basic human right of self-defense.
Last month, the senate passed a bill allowing concealed weapon permit holders to openly carry holstered firearms.
However, this bill hasn’t garnered the polarizing reaction that another bill has. The senate passed a second bill allowing for the concealed carry of handguns on public college campuses.
On the surface, allowing the carry of firearms on a campus with thousands of unarmed students probably seems like a bad idea. The concern is if firearms are allowed on campus, it seems obvious that there will mean more gun-related incidents on campus. However, it’s important to consider who is carrying the firearms.
The law only allows individuals who possess a concealed carry permit to carry guns on campus. These are individuals who have gone through a course on how to safely carry and operate a handgun. Licensed individuals who legally carry firearms are almost never the suspects in gun-related homicides. These individuals carry weapons for self-defense purposes, which would be the case if someone were to open fire on a campus.
Another thing to consider is that prohibiting firearms on campus is not going to discourage an individual who has the intent to use one illegally. If someone has the intent to kill, a sign that says “no firearms” isn’t going to make them turn away. The threat of a hefty fine or significant prison time won’t matter either for someone who will likely end up taking his own life after taking the lives of others.
With that being considered, it would make sense to give individuals who legally own and know how to responsibly operate a weapon the ability to defend themselves and others in the event that someone opens fire on unsuspecting students.
The idea of guns on campuses is unsettling for everyone. But outside of putting up fences and having metal detectors at every entrance, there’s no way to completely prevent unstable people from doing terrible things with a weapon.
So, instead of leaving students like sitting ducks to be picked off one by one, it makes sense to give them the option to save their lives and the lives of other innocent bystanders.