The passing of SB 17 and SB 11 threatens Texans

Mia Cabello

On Tuesday, March 24, the Texas House of Representatives will consider two bills that would extend the rights of Texas gun holders. SB 17 and SB 11 (popularly known as open carry and campus carry respectively) have already been approved in the Senate and have received support from prominent members of the Republican Party. More so, Governor Greg Abbott has said that he would sign bills that would extend gun rights these bills were to pass in the Senate and House.

Should Texas campus carry (SB 11) and licensed open carry (SB 17) pass, Texas’ social landscape will drastically change.

Open-carry and campus-carry laws would endanger the community more than they would protect individual gun carriers.

The desire to showcase weapons stems from fear, a fear that pulses so great that it hinges on a societal disconnect. Current Texas laws require persons with Concealed Handgun Licenses to cover holstered handguns with their outermost layer of clothing. Allowing the blatant exposure of handguns removes a layer of subtlety necessary to the responsible bearing of arms. A handgun will be viewed as a sign of aggression rather than as an element of safety.

As evident in the variance of perspectives on gun control among Texans, we consider past atrocities to form new perspectives on legislation and perceptions of violence. Paradoxically, open-carry and campus-carry legislation threatens the way Texans view one another and view their firearms. Open carry and campus carry would create a situation where Texans use and view guns as a means to impose dominance on each other, rather than predominately using guns to protect one another.

Texans who purchase guns to defend their families and their homes from invasion exercise their Second Amendment rights within a different framework, in a usually a different mindset. Than the people who advocate taking their unconcealed weapons to take to supermarkets and to schools.

Despite opposition from constituents, public offices and university leaders — including UT System Chancellor Admiral William McRaven who has repeated his disapproval for campus-carry legislation because of its negative implications to the university environment — some Texas legislators have proved they are determined to push gun-rights measures like SB 11 and SB 17.

Open carry laws will not protect Texas citizens. Campus carry will not protect students, faculty or staff. It will intimidate and confuse them.

SB 17 and SB 11, licensed open carry and campus carry are bad laws, detrimental to Texas. Our state representatives should not approve them, and our governor should not sign them.