State Representative Allen Fletcher (R-Tomball) and State Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury), along with 19 other Senators have introduced house Bill 937 and Senate Bill 11 respectively; these bills would allow law- abiding, licensed individuals to carry their concealed firearms on to college campuses. The bills have wide support among the safety-conscience public.
This will be the fourth time our state Legislature takes up the matter. It will be hotly contested and bantered about, and it is generally not popular with school administrators, in particular UT Chancellor William H. McRaven. I have been an adjunct professor at UTSA for five years, and I have taught at other universities for more than 18 years; however, I break with conventional thinking and lend my full support to passing this legislation.
Here is why. Perception is not knowledge. The perception that guns are evil, dangerous and harmful does not square with the facts. Gary Kleck, Sociology Professor at the University of Florida published data that claims guns are used as many as 2.5 million times per year in the U.S. to defend lives and protect property. Another fact, 1 in 8 adult Americans has a concealed carry permit and is safely, respectfully carries his or her firearms today. Did you know this? Probably not as the common narrative regarding firearms always focuses on negative.
Further, allowing concealed carry by trained licensees implies a willingness within the campus to confront an active shooter, and such preemption will be viewed as a strong deterrence. Conversely, an unwillingness to allow concealed carry implies weakness and serves only to be an invitation for an attack.
Gun-free zones should not exist. Sandy Hook and the theater in Aurora Colorado were gun free zones. Gun-free zones serve the interests of the school administrators and others who make the easy short term, popular decisions. Seeing campus concealed carry as the best long-term decision requires examining the facts, confronting hard decisions, and recognizing that there are no perfect solutions.
All of us will benefit from campus carry, an umbrella of safety that protects us all — students and staff alike.