Proposed bills would allow concealed handguns on campus

Since 2007, nearly half of U.S. states have proposed bills allowing concealed handguns on college campuses. Thus far, all bills have been rejected except in Utah where college students are free to exercise their 2nd amendment rights.

The classic argument against allowing guns on college campuses has been to cite incidents, such as the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the more recent episode at the University of Texas at Austin.

Let's rewind a bit, now.

Guns were not and are still not allowed on college campuses. They were not allowed on campuses during either of the above occasions.

But students still had guns.

A law prohibiting guns from campus did not keep the bad guys away.

Laws prohibiting guns at institutions of higher education did not keep the bad guys away at more than 25 shootings since 1966.

A law allowing guns on campus will not bring about school shootings and wild west shootouts.

HB 750, if passed, will allow those students with concealed handgun licenses to carry out their 2nd amendment rights and protect themselves in the same way they would in any other situation off-campus.

I'm assuming many people believe college-age students are too "young and immature" to handle ammunition, but our concealed handgun laws already take care of this. The "young and immature" students won't be allowed to have guns anyway, and a college is comprised of a lot more than barely-legal teens. (You must be 21 to register for a CHL, and trust me, I'm counting down the days.) Graduate and doctoral students, professors, faculty members--these people make up a large percentage of any campus and shouldn't be denied constitutional rights because of the belief that guns are dangerous.

Yes, guns can be dangerous, but only in the wrong hands. Guns don't kill people; people kill people.

If we are so concerned of guns on campus, why aren't all college students and faculty subject to passing through a metal detector and x-ray every time they enter a classroom? I work as an RA in my dormitory, and trust me, I've confiscated and called the police on a lot worse things than someone who is legally allowed to have a handgun because they went through the proper training and paperwork. Would any student want to be subject to a search of their possessions, outing them of carrying alcohol, drugs, or overdue library books?

Are we banning handguns from supermarkets after the Gabrielle Giffords case? In that situation, it wasn't the gun that was at fault for the horrific incidents that occurred that day. The gun didn't pull the trigger--a person did.

What is so different about a college campus and the rest of the free world?

The University of Texas at Austin currently has upwards of 50,000 students enrolled plus nearly 17,000 faculty and staff members. Texas A&M University has similar enrollment numbers, and these numbers are far larger than the populations of many Texas towns.

Universities are like towns. Many different people from many cultures go about their days, studying, working and eating just like in any Texas town. College is supposed to prepare us for "the real world." Why not start preparing by exercising our constitutional rights just as we would after graduation?

I urge our lawmakers to vote to approve HB 750 and extend the rights guaranteed to all Americans by the Constitution to those who spend their days on a college campus. Getting an education should not result in having one's Constitutional amendments revoked.

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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the House Bill was HB 1893. This bill is from the 2009 legislative session.

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