The University of North Texas previously held a Constitution Day program centered around Campus Carry and the Second Amendment. Speakers from Texas Home Shield and Texas Gun Sense were in attendance to make arguments for and against Campus Carry.
“The group of people who can actually carry into the buildings is quite small.” Emily Taylor, independent program attorney for Texas Law Shield said. “We’re not letting everyone carry on college campuses.”
The law, which became effective Aug. 1, 2016, allows holders of concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms on Texas’ public post-secondary campuses. Texas joined seven other states having Campus Carry. However, according to Kathleen Thompson, an advisory board member of Texas Gun Sense in Grapevine, TX, the law is ineffective.
“It’s not just Texas Gun Sense that opposes guns on campus. Teachers, administrators, students, parents, and law enforcement know that it’s unnecessary and it’s dangerous.” Thompson said. “We have concerns about potential accidents, suicide, and theft.”
Texas has a higher suicide rate than the national average, with rates that have increased over time. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Texans aged 10-34. Studies also show that states with higher gun ownership have higher gun death rates.
According to a study from the FBI, only three percent of incidents occurred in which case the shooter was confronted by armed civilians, of whom four were on-duty security guards and one person was just an average citizen who happened to be armed.
The event closed with a Q&A that took questions from the audience via twitter. Some students were left wondering if any progress had been made at all.
“I didn’t really understand the point, Campus Carry doesn’t sound like it’s protecting anyone.” Lawrence Medrano, an integrative studies major at UNT said. “It still seems very unorganized.”
With both sides making points, it was harder for some to make a choice on if campus carry was necessary. Considering that the law has only been active for about six weeks, there is still time to see if campus carry will prove to be effective in time. However, some students did leave the event still on the wall about being for or against the new law.
“I’m not opposed to guns on campus, but having people who are still developing with a lot of emotions doesn’t sound like the right thing. But if someone can do it, everyone is going to do it, but I don’t think everyone should.” Adam Jelic, sophomore engineering major said.
With campus carry now in effect, faculty and students are allowed to take necessary steps to possess a firearm in approved areas around the UNT campus. However, with incoming students and faculty alike reconsidering where they work and study because of the new law, Campus Carry may be proving to be more harmful than beneficial.