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December 11, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Texas Lawmaker Proposes Guns On Campus

From the Avalanche-Journal:

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, author of last year's castle doctrine law - which gives Texans the right to attack an intruder if they feel threatened at their home, business or car - says Texas needs at least one more gun law, and he is planning to author it.

The San Antonio Republican is drafting a bill that, if the Legislature approves and Gov. Rick Perry signs into law, would allow Texans with concealed gun permits to carry their weapons on college campuses, where concealed weapons are now prohibited.

Tell us your reaction.

Comments

Robert

NO NO NO. I've grown up on a college campus. I'm close to finishing a PhD in clinical psychology, a part-time professor of psychology, and plan to teach at universities or colleges for the rest of my career. I have studied the emotional state of college students (after all, that's where nearly 80% of what we know about human psychology comes from).

On the other hand, I LOVE my guns. I don't have enough, and never will. When my wife told me I don't need a new one, I said that I'm probably not ever going to agree with that statement.

However, the combining of late-adolescents with raging hormones, ready access to alcohol and other drugs, their first real taste of freedom and relatively little supervision by mature adults is about one of the worst places to start letting people carry concealed weapons. I'm sure many people here will refer to the VT shooting and others, stating that it would have ended sooner if someone nearby had also been armed. Maybe. If you know for a fact you are able and willing to kill someone else intentionally. But that's much harder to make yourself do than most people believe.

Second, most college students by themselves are relatively intelligent and responsible people who could learn to use a firearm appropriately. Notice I said "most" and "individually." "Most" speaks for itself - we all know people who should never be near a gun unless it's being pointed at them. "Individually" is another matter. People in groups get significantly dumber. In groups, people stop being able to manage their own emotions, think for themselves, or take personal responsibility for their actions. If you put a couple of armed people in a group of already somewhat neurotic college students, the probability that someone will do something regrettable goes way up.

As much as I like the college world, it has done a huge disservice to many people because it has allowed them to remain immature and irresponsible for longer than people of my parents' or grandparents' generation. We can lay the blame for that at many peoples' feet, but it is the current situation. Until that changes and undergraduate colleges become a place to grow up instead of a place to stay childish, I'm not comfortable with arming students.

I have simply seen enough problems with college students who forget they still have to answer to someone to be comfortable with the idea of letting them arm themselves on campus.

Okay, I'll get off my soap-box now. Thanks.

Jason Krysl

What about all the armed college students that live off campus. Are they running around killing people too?

bnorth

Robert hit the nail on the head. Excellent post.

Scrap5000

Robert, you are way off the mark.

If they are responsible with owning it, then they will be responsible with carrying it, and may even save lives when the next wacko lets loose and starts on a killing spree.

alex Williams

I happen to disagree with you Robert. I might just be a 15 year old who is nowhere near a PhD but ibalso know how to write. Recently my English teacher told us to write a research paper on a subject which we felt passionately about. Despite ridicule for being "a redneck" I chose gun control: opposing. You are right, however, that those of us who disagree with you on this issue will bring up the horrible occurence at Virginia Tech; we bring it up because there is no doubt in our minds that the extreme loss of innocent lives could have been reduced or even eliminated had the students been allowed to carry weapons. The campus security was ill-prepared for the attack, but even if it had been well-prepared, it could have only done so much given the time and circumstances. If the students had been allowed to carry weapons on campus, this shooting could have been ended with the taking of only one life, the culprit's, instead of thirty-three innocent people's. If the other commenters would permit me, I would like to post my paper to try and get some feedback, criticism, or suggestions.

Johnny

this issue came up at my university last year, and there was a majority against it. And this is at a very conservative, rural school. my take is that we don't need guns in dorms, heavy drinking and tight quarters is no place for guns. they are much better left in vehicles (where they are now allowed). when i lived in the dorms it was more of an out of sight out of mine policy, which is really silly in SD when there are no case laws or anyhing anywhere else in the state. I just don't think its good policy mixing guns and alchol and 18 year olds. I never once felt unsafe or in danger, there was a couple fights when i was living there and it just ending with some bloody noses, and we should keep it that way

Ed J

Its not ok in the dorm but ok in the parking lot. Huh?

Johnny

yea, dorms are where alot of drinking gets done, and there is not really any place to lock guns up, or room for a safe, so better to leave them in the vehicle, there really isn't any reason to bring guns into the dorms

PJR

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a 25 year old medical student, a number of my friends carry concealed everywhere but school, the idea of MANY of my classmates packing heat scares me, and I fully support this legislation...now some food for thought...

1. Is a drunk and armed college student any less responsible or more dangerous than a drunk and armed Vice President? Booze and guns don't mix whatever the age, so if you want to take firearms from college students simply because they have access to booze, logic dictates you must take them from everyone who spends the occasional evening at the bar.
2. What is the age where people magically gain the ability to safely carry concealed? I personally would rather see my 22 year old brother carrying concealed on campus than many of the "mature" adults that roll into my ER.
3. Over and again it's been shown that the person with a carry permit is not the person that makes the nigthly news, regardless of age. Chances are the college student who devotes the time and money necessary to obtain a carry permit is not going to risk losing said permit by doing something rash or stupid.
4. As someone else pointed out, college students may carry concealed off campus, yet they aren't flooding the streets with blood. Does setting foot onto a college campus strip these otherwise well adjusted students of their better judgement?

Out of curiosity, would those of you who oppose firearms on campus be more inclined to allow on campus firearms if students were required to...
a) have a valid carry permit
b) securely store their firearms to prevent unauthorized access/use

Alex I don't think this forum is the proper place to post a paper, but if you can somehow link it into a post, without having the entire paper show up on the message board, this former history major would be more than happy to look it over

johnny

My concern isn't with the students who own the guns, but as i said, at least in the dorm i lived in, there closet or room for gun cabinet to safetly lock anything up, and people without knowledge of guns could easily think it would be fun to play with, without the owner knowing, thus not creating a good enviroment

jks

if a student wants to carry a gun to class or an campus, not having a permit is not going to stop him. a permit just makes it legal for a honest person to carry one. now im not say every one who has a permit is honest but mostly it is true. just like they talk about gun control on the street, if a honest man gives up his guns and the criminal doesnt, then they have just taken the guns of an honest man and the criminal is still out on the street killing at will, and now you have no gun to protect you and your family.

johnny

but not allowing them in dorms will keep drunk kids from accidentally shooting someone

alex williams

Thank you pjr. Would it be ok if I gave you my email address and you emailed me about it?I dont know how I could put It on a website but I have it on my computer. I really appreciate it either way.

klesb

Why permit CCH licensees to carry concealed only on college campuses? What about teachers who possess them?

Evil exists. It is safer for the students if evil can be confronted on the spot, and Virginia Tech tragedy can ever re-occur.

We do ot plan for or expect school fires, but we have fire safety equipment available.

Harvey Mushman

This law would not allow students to keep guns in their dorm rooms, it would allow students or anyone else who is licensed to carry concealed hanguns to carry them on campus. Texas, along with most other states having some form of CCW allowance, only allows the carrying of handguns beginning at the age of 21. This would mean that more than half of a campus' undergraduate student population would still be barred from possessing a firearm on campus, and that's before the general requirements to acquire a concealed carry permit. When you look at what the status of the law is currently and what the bill is actually proposing, then the implications for what this would mean are rather docile and much less frightening than what some of you are suggesting.

And frankly, most college students have left the dorms by the time they're 21.

PJR

Alex, it might not be wise to post your email address on an open forum. Instead I would suggest this...pick an article from one of the archives on this site...say something from 2006, copy and paste your paper as a comment on that article, then let me know where to find it. I and anyone else interested can then see your paper and comment, but others won't have to. Sound good? If you would still rather send it by email that is fine by me, I just thought I would throw out a word of warning.

zak

I currently live on a college campus and us college kids do enough stupid/dangerous stuff without carrying firearms. Let's take a large population of teenage and early 20s people in close quarters with each other, introduce firearms, and then alcohol (which plently of us partake in) and see what happens. Just too much bad potential on that one to risk it.

William

Hmmm, after careful thought I don't like the idea of concealed carry on campus for students. I think teachers should be allowed to carry provided they are doing so legally. Campus is just too much of a high pressure environment to allow students to conceal carry on campus. I live in a city where we had shootings on campus in the 90's so the issue is close to me. The shooter in my town legally purchased, possessed and carried his firearm yet 13 people still died. This is one thing that many people don't pick up on this board -crimes are still committed by legally possessed firearms but this doesn't really factor into my reasoning. My main reason against concealed carry on campus is that the police or campus security is going to shoot whoever they find with a gun in high-stress situation so a gun might not actually increase your survival rate. If a teacher has a firearm we can prevent further tragedy and hopefully law enforcement is smart enough to differentiate between a teacher who is armed and a student who has lost his marbles.

JohnR

actually William the odds are that campus security will not be able to differentiate between a suspected shooter and an armed teacher in a high stress situation. You have raised a valid point however. When the cavalry arrives, it will be scanning for anyone with a weapon. There's a good chance that a potential "hero" will be arrested or at the least detained until the whole incident gets sorted out. There is also the possibility that a potential hero may be subject to civil action from the family of the perpetrator.

Joyce

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Joyce

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