Written by Nicole Tambunan
We all dread coming to school for a good amount of reasons, like having two back-to-back finals, leaving your nest of a bed for an 8 a.m. class, or the worst – oral presentations.
Now add one more item to that list: someone at your school might be carrying a gun. A public speaking class just became a lot more attractive.
Not only might someone be carrying a gun, but it turns out he or she is actually allowed to have it on them. It seems made up, because who would actually allow guns on campus?
Think quick fire pistols, cowboy hats and a long drawl,.Texas, the Lone Star State, allows guns at their public universities.
Guns are allowed on campus through Texas’ extension of their open carry laws. Actually, they have been allowed on public universities’ campuses (just not in buildings) since 1995.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, during the 2015 legislative session, Texas passed a bill allowing concealed handguns throughout campus, and will take effect in August 2016.
Although it’s not a new law, students and faculty are still fighting against it. Many students and faculty members at the University of Texas at Austin have petitioned, written letters and emails and organized to ban guns from the campus, but unfortunately the law is the law and remains firm.
Gregory L. Fenves, president of UT Austin, has made it clear that he does not support guns on campus, but as president must uphold the law. There is no way to adopt a policy that excludes handguns from campus.
President Fenves has taken initiative to help the students and faculty at UT Austin feel as safe as possible, however. As of February 2016, UT Austin has drawn up a Campus Carry Policies and Implementation Strategies.
There are 25 policies, many of them banning guns in areas that Texas law generally bans them from as well such as polling places on campus, sporting events, patient-care areas, and animal research/care facilities.
The state law itself does have a few restrictions. It does not allow open carry on campus, it must be concealed, and the person carrying it must be 21 or older and needs a license to carry a concealed handgun on campus.
Even so, with all the events that have transpired the past couple of years, no amount of restrictions can make the Texas public universities safe enough for students if there is still wiggle room to allow a student to bring a gun.
It’s a terrible feeling to come to school and have that thought in the back of your mind that maybe something might happen.
How are students expected to be able to study, eat their lunch, concentrate in lecture, or enjoy a sporting event if they have to wonder if the person sitting next to them is carrying?
Students already have enough to worry about already, and now they need to worry about the safety of their lives at a college campus?
As much as we would like to think that the world is a generally caring and safe place, it’s not realistic and chances can’t be taken.
Hopefully Texas will change the law, for the sake of their students, before it ends the way many school shootings have happened before.