With backpacks in tow and pencils in hand, college students crisscross campus with stress of acing the test, hardly thinking about their safety. This was the case on a clear Tuesday at the University of Texas on September 28th, 2010. Students fled from a mask gunman carrying an AK-47 and shooting randomly around campus. Nineteen-year-old Colton Tooley, wearing a black mask, eventually killed himself in the library. Remarkably, no one else was injured or killed. (MSNBC) This was not the case in 1966 when 16 people where killed with 32 injured by a gunman in the UT clock tower. The debate still wages on to allow concealed guns to be carried on college campus in Texas despite a recent bill that failed to pass. The US Constitutional Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms is of course a stronghold argument for gun supporters. Continued campus violence with the use of firearms insights strong emotion within the strict gun control advocates.
On May 30th 2011, HB 1167, authored by Van Taylor (R-Plano) was shut down in the Texas House of Representatives. The bill would force colleges and universities to permit students over the age of 21 to carry concealed handguns on campus. (Sayani) (Woods). The Texas Concealed Handgun laws would apply; the holder must be at least 21 years of age, pass an extensive background check, display gun safety at a shooting range and have a 15 year clean law abiding history. The bill sparked controversy between groups such as The Texas State Rifle Association and Students for Gun-Free Schools in Texas.
The state of Texas has a cowboy reputation. With a Governor who jogs with a pistol and shoots a coyote, no one would be surprised this bill was poised to pass. (Vertuno). There was little opposition as many gun right supporters felt the bill was in line with the Texas State Constitution. Article 1, Section 23 states “RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.” (Texas State)
Proponents’ second argument was for student safety. With the increased urbanization of community colleges and offshoot campuses buildings can be located in downtown, urban office buildings. These areas are not crime free just because they are college students around. Traditional campuses are open with little preventative security in place to ensure a gun free zone. Criminals will see these areas as easy targets knowing no one else around is carrying firepower to stop them. (Sayani) Some will even suggest that criminals will be less likely to approach a possible victim with the fear he/she might be arms, thus a great deterrent.
Studies have been conducted on correlations between those who commit crimes with firearms and how they obtain the guns regardless of liberal gun laws. (Polsby) Criminals with ill intent usually have questionable backgrounds or...