I am writing to add more discussion to Ms. Moreno’s article “Guns in classroom looming.” While Ms. Moreno did an excellent job of reporting the facts, there is more to this important issue that UTSA students and the public need to consider.
Guns on campus seems like a bad idea at first mention. After all, Ms. Moreno cites in her informal poll that 67 percent said they would oppose such an idea. But persons with the lawful privilege of carrying a concealed firearm have always been among us. These were individuals that because of their position in life the sheriff would grant them a permit to carry weapons for self-protection: jewelers, judges, prosecutors and politicians.
In 1995 the Texas Legislature made this same privilege, with certain qualifications, available to all Texas residents based on the premise that everyone had the right of self-protection. Today, Texas residents now have twenty plus years’ experience with the public carrying concealed weapons through obtaining a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). So what are the results?
Texas has over 700,000 active licensees. Interestingly 198,000 of these belong to women. Nationally there are over 12.5 million licensed-carry holders and crime rates among this group are smaller than infinitesimal. The latest Texas Department of Public Safety numbers, for the year ending 2014, report a conviction rate for CHL’s of .19 percent for all crimes, most of which were non-violent and did not involve guns. CHL holders are extremely law-abiding. One study, by Dr. John R. Lott, Jr., concluded that as a population police officers were six times more likely to commit crimes when compared to CHL holders.
Much like the irrational and illogical fears of some in the state when Texas first adopted its CHL law in 1995, allowing CHL’s to carry weapons onto school campuses will not result in a return to the days of the Wild West. Instead, I forecast student life will go on as usual save for the added protection that a few will afford to all of us.