Texas universities may soon see a major safety upheaval.
With concealed carry gun laws at the forefront of public policy, college students and administrators are watching the Texas Legislature with anticipation and concern.
Proposed bills coming out of the current legislative session would allow people with concealed handgun permits to carry firearms onto Texas college campuses.
According to a 2011 survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 59 percent of college students suffer from some type of mental illness, with 27 percent suffering from depression, 24 percent from Bipolar disorder, 6 percent from Schizophrenia and 6 percent from PTSD.
Concealed carry advocates contend that guns — as variables of control as well as a mechanism to enforce control — are okay: guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
By this logic, allowing concealed handguns to be carried on campus — combined with the prevalence of mental illness on collegiate campuses — may potentially aggravate an already sensitive environment created by academic and financial pressure.
Recently, UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven spoke publicly about concealed handguns being carried on UT System campuses and the implications to campus safety.
Said McRaven, “Our university law enforcement personnel, consisting of highly trained professionals who work within these unique campus environments, are particularly troubled about the ability of our officers to differentiate between the bad actor and persons seeking to defend themselves and others when both have guns drawn.”
Allowing concealed handguns on campus will make it difficult for campus police departments to separate between criminals and individuals with drawn weapons, creating the potential for an even more hazardous scenario.
With more than 100 days left in this legislative session, policy makers must realize the detriment to the educational and community environment with the introduction of guns on campus.
While the presence of guns does not directly translate to violence, the presence of guns — to many — threatens the safety that students, parents, faculty and administrators expect in a university setting. Students and legislators should say “no” to concealed carry on college campuses.