Guns issue splits campus
Discussion in the Texas Legislature has brought gun rights to the forefront in education and politics, as SB 354, a bill that would allow concealed handguns on college campuses, comes closer and closer to being passed by politicians.
The bill, currently before the Criminal Justice committee in the Texas Senate, would allow people who have a concealed handgun license to go into classrooms in public universities in Texas.
Current CHL regulations stipulate that license holders be at least 21 years old, have a completely clear criminal record and be mentally competent.
Attitudes on campus are split by the legislation, with students and faculty expressing conflicting opinions on the issue.
Some staff members on campus noted that students who are armed could respond to dangerous situations and minimize the possible damage.
“It could be useful,” said Chris Wills, a UH contractor working in maintenance. “If someone comes to school with a gun and starts shooting, a student who has a gun on them can intervene and maybe help out and stop him.”
But many other students are concerned about the weight of responsibility that firearms require. Awele Phillips, an accounting junior, said the bill only brings worries concerning their proper use.
“I don’t agree with the bill, especially in this area (of town),” Phillips said. “Having a license just means you know how to use (a gun), not how to use it ethically. There’s no reason to have guns on campus. I don’t think we’re mature enough.”
Some faculty members believe the legislation brings unnecessary complications to campus. History professor Natalia Milanesio said firearms should be limited to the professionals who know how to use them.
“I believe that campus safety should be the responsibility of the government and the University through a professional force, not untrained students who most likely would obstruct police operations — making the identification of the aggressor more difficult,” Milanesio said.
“Guns on campus are dangerous because they would increase the risk of accidental shooting, polarize the campus population and create an intimidating atmosphere.”
Additional reporting done by Professor McHam’s reporting class.