A student looks at campus carry

Photo by Todd Wiseman

The recent implementation of Texas’ campus carry law allows people with a concealed handgun license to carry their handguns on college campuses. I once supported this law, but now that I am spending every day on a college campus in Texas, I can no longer say the same thing.

My change of heart regarding campus carry was accelerated by the gruesome events in Las Vegas, which made me question whether gun ownership should be strictly regulated in general, and by the recent shooting at Texas Tech University. As I called my friends who attend the university to make sure they were out of harm’s way, I realized that guns on college campuses, carried legally or not, scare me.

I come from an extremely conservative family that has owned several assault-style rifles along with pistols, shotguns and hunting rifles. Brought up with the belief that every person should become a gun-owner, almost as if carrying a sidearm was no different than carrying a driver’s license, I was taught to respect guns as deadly objects but not to fear them.

But I think fear is important at either end of a firearm: the person behind the trigger fears losing their sense of morality and responsibility, while the person standing at the end of the barrel fears losing their life. A disconnect appears when the latter are not even aware of the presence of a gun to fear. This problem can now be seen in its full, ominous glory on Texas’ college campuses.

Now that I am a student at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, I believe a campus setting is not the place for firearms. As a freshman, I have seen drunken fights, dramatic responses to minor conflicts and the overall lack of maturity that has rightfully become a stereotype of college life. The students who are participating in these antics are not just underclassmen but people who are 21 or older and can legally carry a firearm on campus.

This environment and the magnitude of power that is present in a concealed handgun simply do not mix. If even one student carrying a concealed weapon lost their head, there would be utter chaos. It does not matter how much self-control or gun safety is taught in firearms courses, the human mind is always capable of reaching a breaking point. This risk is more dramatic on a college campus, where confrontations are often handled in physically violent ways.

The dangers of allowing concealed carry on a college campus are simply too numerous, and I can no longer say I agree with it. Regardless of what the law says, no student should be constantly worrying that they are going to be bringing a #2 pencil to a gunfight.

Tyler Jones

Student, Stephen F. Austin State University