side bar
Saturday, January 20, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Campus carry rights protect students

Zoe Wales’ March 21 op-ed (“Guns on-campus don’t make any sense”) demonstrates a lack of knowledge of Texas law.

Wales suggests, “Who’s to say that student A would or would not pull out their [sic] gun as a joke and accidentally fire it off and hit someone across the yard.”

This completely ignores the fact that a license holder who even tells another person that he or she is carrying a concealed handgun can be sentenced to one year in jail for failure to conceal.

Wales continues, “Who’s to say student B receives a failing grade and pulls their [sic] gun on to their teacher to change their grade.”

What good is a passing grade if you’re spending 20 years in prison for aggravated assault?

Finally, Wales asks, “Who’s to say that student A and B leave The Den and get into a brawl and pulls [sic] their guns out, shooting each other.”

But under the revised law, carrying a firearm in The Den would be no more legal than it is now. It would still be a third-degree felony punishable by up to ten years in jail.

Wales concludes, “All of these scenarios could in fact happen.” What he fails to realize is that all of these scenarios could just as easily happen now. Brandishing a firearm, threatening a professor and carrying a gun in a bar would all be just as illegal under the revised law as they are under the current law. If someone is likely to commit one of these serious crimes, that person is just as likely to carry a gun illegally.

The scenarios posed by Zoe Wales are all hypothetical. The 71 college campuses outside of Texas that currently allow concealed carry have yet to see a single resulting incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides), a single resulting gun accident, or a single resulting gun theft. In Texas, a person is 20 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered or negligently killed by a concealed handgun license holder.

Laws should be based on facts, not make-believe. Why should license holders be allowed the means to protect themselves at a movie theater on Saturday and at a church on Sunday but not in a college classroom on Monday?

W. Scott Lewis
Texas Legislative Director, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus

  • joshuaism

    So how can concealed weapons make students safer? If you cannot brandish a weapon, how can you use it to deescalate a situation? If you cannot brandish a weapon, how can you fire it? Why are concealed weapons good and safe for carrying on campus, but bad and dangerous at the Den?

    • Zed

      Its basic psychology, as things are right now criminals know that chances are very very low that anyone on campus besides officers have a CHL license along with a concealed weapon. Ergo there is very little risk in mugging someone seeing as they can go for someone who looks like they cannot (and probably cant) defend themselves and they could easily be long gone before any form of help arrives. However if allowed concealed weapons it makes it harder for criminals to mug anyone seeing as for all they know the person they're trying to mug could legally have a gun on their person.

      You just empower the criminals more by not allowing concealed weapons. It's common sense really.

      • joshuaism

        If a mugger has the drop on you then how do you expect to fire first? Is this part of the training given during CHL classes?

        • Rude

          It takes a split second to pull out a gun and fire on someone. If it's evening time and you see someone who looks sketchy coming at you, or near you, your hand should be on your gun. That doesn't mean you'll need it, it doesn't mean the person is a mugger, but over time you instinctively keep your hand at the ready.

          Take a CHL class and find out.

          • asd

            Yep, “failure to conceal” doesn’t cover “putting your hand on your gun.” Good point, the obfuscators explicitly failed to mention that.

        • RickyRicardo

          Yes it is.

  • Mac

    Josh you miss the point. You only have the right to pulled or display your weapon when being presented with a threat or to prevent a crime that is being committed. Example would be if you were in the bank and a person comes in to rob the place. You have the right to draw and display and use your weapon if need be to stop the crime that is taking place.

    As for the Den, it is a bar is it not? State law states that a CHL holder may not carry on a premises of a place that makes more than %51 of their income from the sale of alcohol. So that means it is ILLEGAL for a CHL holder to carry in a bar of any sort which the Den is. Hence why it is a fallacy that zoe was trying to make as a point. The same point that was brought up in 1995 when the law first was pass in the state.

    • joshuaism

      But what is the logic of disallowing concealed carry in bars? How does it differ from the logic of disallowing guns on college campuses? How about High Schools, Middle Schools, Elementary Schools, and Pre-K schools?

      Mac, I don't think Zoe's point about the Den is so far fetched. If I have a CHL and I'm packing heat on campus, what am I to do if I want to let off some steam at the Den? Should I leave my gun in my car? Surely it is safer for everyone if I keep it on my person. My CHL shows me to be a responsible gun owner, right? Isn't it more responsible to keep a gun under my control then to leave it in my parked car where it might be stolen by a criminal? With the number of car break-ins on campus, wouldn't this be a good idea? Maybe I'll think, "well, as long as I don't drink alcohol while at the bar, why should this law apply to me?"

      I really worry about the number of CHL holders that think and behave in this way. Too many gun owners that I know subscribe to concepts of exceptionalism and have a disregard for laws that they find too repressive for a person of their superior character. I wonder if this change in law is not meant to make campuses safer for everyone, but instead to make them safer for CHL holders that currently are breaking the law.

      • asd

        And good call on the exceptionalism btw. Oddly enough I mentioned that in my post prior to reading yours — maybe there's something to it.

      • Someothername

        "High Schools, Middle Schools, Elementary Schools, and Pre-K schools? "

        After 4 years, Harrold ISD speaks up …

        North Texas school district, that allows teachers to pack heat, supports expansion of guns on campus
        Harrold ISD: "We did the right thing."
        Dawn Tongish The 33 News
        March 25, 2011
        (Report and video)

      • Mac

        How about you take a class some time and become more informed than using fallacies to try and back up your self when you can't with logic. The law states not only bars, because alcohol inhibits not just you but others, but that you are not allowed to have any in your system while carrying.Try taking a class some time to really educate yourself on the subject.

    • asd

      It's ILLEGAL but if things being ILLEGAL were any DETERRENT then the entire basis of the gun-campus-kids' argument goes out the window.

      Is there some kind of bizarre argumentative exceptionalism at work here that they're really not expecting anyone to question, or do these gun guys really not understand basic logic?

      • Harvey Dent

        I'd love to see some facts supporting your argument sirs.

        • joshuaism

          Look at these conviction rates

          CHL holders make up at most 2% of the population. But every year CHL holders make up 30-80% of all convictions for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Clearly CHL holders do not respect current weapon laws.

          Are they trying to condone their currently illegal behavior? Will they continue to violate the law because they think they are special?

  • Timothy Van Ludwig

    i thought students were supposed to write this paper.

  • P L

    Well, this state is already full of gunslinging, culture hating republicans killing us all already… May as well speed up the process with guns on campus. I can already imagine who will be carrying those guns. That's the scariest part… republicans. Don't worry if you don't get it. It just means you're of the above-mentioned breed. I'm glad I'll be outta here before you guys do this. Just wait til the guy robbing you kills you (probably with his "concealed gun") ONLY because you drew your weapon first. Guns don't lead to any good path except the oppression of others. I don't blame people for hating Texas anymore.

    • Truth

      I don't even know where to begin with you.

      I'm not a Republican, and yet I have a CHL. There goes your theory.

      Who will be carrying these guns? Anyone who wants to get a license to get one. Everyone should get a CHL license, women, students, everyone. But your obvious bias doesn't let you see that.

      The guy robbing you kills you because you drew your weapon first. . . say that sentence to yourself a few times and see what's wrong with it.

      You have an obvious bias of Republicans, and that clouds your argument. If you were more independent you could disregard both politics sides in order to see both of their faults. Right now you're as bad as the people you're against.

      • joshuaism

        Truth, you may not be a Republican in name, but your voting record will reveal the TRUTH about you.

  • RickyRicardo

    You'll all notice how no one who disagrees with the article presents any facts in their rebuttals. Merely insults and stereotypes…

    • joshuaism

      RickyRicardo needs to go back to primary school so that someone can teach him the difference between fact, opinion, half-truth, and misinformation. I only see 2 statements of truth in the entire piece, the rest is opinion. Here are those two statements:

      1. The 71 college campuses outside of Texas that currently allow concealed carry have yet to see a single resulting incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides), a single resulting gun accident, or a single resulting gun theft.

      Issues with this statement: Where does the statistic come from? How long have these campuses allowed concealed carry? I looked for this statistic and only found an echo chamber of concealed carry proponents. Here is the best outside source I could find stating anything like this. It was printed in Newsweek In Feb. 2008: "There are currently 11 U.S. universities that have for a combined total of 60 semesters allowed concealed carry on campus without an incident."… (page 2)

      What does this mean? It means that those 11 campuses had no gun incidents in 5.5 semesters on average. Since Feb. 2008, if Scott Lewis's statistic is to be believed, 60 more campuses have not had reported gun incident in at most 5 semesters. If we combine both Newsweek's statistics and Scott's statistics we see that 71 campuses that allow concealed carry have not had a reported gun incident involving a CHL holder in 5.8 semesters ((60 semesters + 5 semesters * 71 schools) / 71 schools) on average. If you look at what I've done I'm probably being generous.

      I bet over half of American colleges have not had a gun incident in the past 5.8 semesters. It's just 3 years. I also bet there are more than 11 schools in America that have not had a gun incident of any kind in the past 10.5 semesters (just 5.25 years).

      So what should we take from this? Do these studies prove concealed guns make campuses safer? Does it provide any statistics on reduced crime? If a handgun is stolen from a locked car or dormitory, is it automatically reported that the gun owner has a CHL? Are all instances of gun crime and negligence reported when a CHL gun owner is involved? How many reported incidents show a CHL holder preventing a crime on campus? Did campus crime go down at all after the bans were lifted? Without citing your sources, we cannot look at the methodology of the study.

      You are just misleading us with half-truths.

      So what about statistic number 2.

      2. In Texas, a person is 20 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered or negligently killed by a concealed handgun license holder.

      what does it mean that a small minority of adults with no previous criminal convictions have not been involved in any gun crime instances? If I take a representative sample of ALL adults with NO previous criminal convictions, what is the likelihood that they will kill someone with a gun? Better yet, if I take a representative sample of ALL adults with no previous criminal convictions that DON'T OWN a gun, what is the likelihood that they will kill someone with a gun?

      But hey, not everyone that is shot by a CHL holder dies. And they aren't always charged when they accidentally shoot someone either. Did this CHL holder make anyone in Kingwood safer?

      Chew on this FACT:

      People with a gun are 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun.

      Stay safe my friends.

      • RickyRicardo

        While I do not appreciate the slight on my intelligence I suppose ill bite.

        Here's some sources from his first argument.

        Since the fall semester of 2006, state law has allowed licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on the campuses of the nine degree-offering public colleges (20 campuses) and one public technical college (10 campuses) in Utah. Concealed carry has been allowed at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) since 2003 and at Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave, VA) since 1995. After allowing concealed carry on campus for a combined total of one hundred semesters, none of these twelve schools has seen a single resulting incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides), a single gun accident, or a single gun theft. Likewise, none of the forty ‘right-to-carry’ states has seen a resulting increase in gun violence since legalizing concealed carry, despite the fact that licensed citizens in those states regularly carry concealed handguns in places like office buildings, movie theaters, grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, churches, banks, etc. Numerous studies*, including studies by University of Maryland senior research scientist John Lott, University of Georgia professor David Mustard, engineering statistician William Sturdevant, and various state agencies, show that concealed handgun license holders are five times less likely than non-license holders to commit violent crimes.

        "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns,” John Lott and David Mustard, Journal of Legal Studies (v.26, no.1, pages 1-68, January 1997);
        “An Analysis of the Arrest Rate of Texas Concealed Handgun License Holders as Compared to the Arrest Rate of the Entire Texas Population,” William E. Sturdevant, September 1, 2000; Florida Department of Justice statistics, 1998; Florida Department of State,

        “Concealed Weapons/Firearms License Statistical Report,” 1998; Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Census Bureau, reported in San Antonio Express-News, September 2000; Texas Department of Corrections data, 1996-2000, compiled by the Texas State Rifle Association

        As to your second argument. The man in the news story is not representative of all CHL holders. Also, the weapon that discharged was a two shot Derringer. As stated in the news story, these have a history of discharging. However, all modern firearms have multiple safety features which prevent even chambering a round if the weapon is not held properly. The man also had his weapon improperly concealed which resulted in such a discharge. If you think that we shouldnt allow concealed carry because of what happened in the situation, then we should also ban cars because the Ford Pinto could explode if hit from behind or Toyotas should not be sold because of their brake issues.

        In regard to the last story, it does not state who these people were what they were doing, who shot them, the circumstances surrounding the shooting etc. While it could be a citizen being shot, it could also be a criminal shot by police, a criminal shooting another criminal and so on. The study lacks the data to make it useful in any argument over the effectiveness of guns.

        • joshuaism

          Your quote doesn't come from any of the studies you listed. It is copy/pasted from the website.

          But thank you for clearing up the numbers. Or have you. You mention at least 30 schools allow concealed carry then point to a study that looked at 12 schools with concealed carry. What's going on here? Are you cherry-picking data?

          I can't tell because none of the studies you name concern themselves with campus crime and CHLs. Where do your statistics come from? Are they made up?

          But let's look at the studies you do cite. Specifically the Sturdevant study.

          Of course CHL holders have a lower arrest rate than a general population that includes rapists, robbers, and murderers. Rapists, robbers, and murderers cannot get a CHL. If you exclude people with prior arrests, do CHL holders prove to be more lawful?

          Comparing arrest rates for CHL holders to the arrest rate of the general population is not an accurate comparison. You must exclude any person with documented mental health issues or criminal records from your control group. After a person is arrested once they must not be counted again (as they will no longer qualify for a CHL). In the Sturdevant study, there is no effort at control. The CHL arrestees can only be counted once, but people in the general population may be counted multiple times for each arrest. Considering the recidivist rate, you must recognize that career criminals will scew the results for the general population. The difference between his two groups make his comparisons nearly meaningless, they are entirely different beasts. It's not like he's comparing apples to oranges, it's like he is comparing apples to orangutans.

          As to the CHL holder accidentally shooting up a restaurant. Sure he is not representative of the entire group, but he is still a member. We should not make exceptions because he is stupid and irresponsible unless we exclude all stupid and irresponsible people from every group.

          You sidestep the fact that he was never arrested. This is representative of how 'non-criminals' are treated when they break the law. CHL holders crime rates are likely under-reported because law enforcement is unwilling to tarnish the record of a 'fine, upstanding gentleman', even if he is a dangerous moron. This man still has his CHL and is free to endanger all of us with his recklessness.

          And you are absolutely right that the last study (… ) doesn't look at why or who got shot. Probably most of the people shot would not qualify for a CHL. Criminals are more likely to be victims of gun violence than non-criminals. Just the same, it shows that carrying a gun will not protect you from gun violence. It makes it more likely that you will become a victim.

          Qualifying for a CHL is probably the biggest indicator that you don't even need a gun for protection. Your lifestyle has insulated you from the elements of crime.

      • W. Scott Lewis

        1. Here are the CORRECT numbers (you seem to have trouble differentiating between college/university systems and campuses):

        Since the fall semester of 2006, Utah state law has allowed licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on the campuses of Utah’s nine degree-offering public colleges (20 campuses) and one public technical college (10 campuses). Concealed carry has been allowed on the two campuses of Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO, and Pueblo, CO) since 2003 and at Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave, VA) since 1995. After allowing concealed carry on campus for an average of over five and a half years (as of January 2011), none of these 12 colleges (33 campuses) has seen a single resulting incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides), a single resulting gun accident, or a single resulting gun theft.

        At the start of the 2010 fall semester, 14 Colorado community colleges (38 campuses) began allowing licensed concealed carry on campus, raising the total to 26 U.S. colleges (71 campuses) that allow campus carry.

        If you have evidence that one of these campuses HAS seen a resulting incident, present it. Otherwise, quit asking me to prove a negative (that something HASN'T happened).

        You seem to have difficulty with qualifiers, such as the term "resulting." I never suggested that concealed carry has made these campuses statistically safer (though some have seen significant drops in crime since allowing concealed carry). I simply pointed out that concealed carry has not made these campuses any LESS safe.

        I don't have to show that allowing concealed carry on campus leads to a statistical reduction in crime–that's not the point. This is about personal protection, not campus protection. If concealed carry offers individuals the means to protect themselves and doesn't make anyone else less safe, what justification is there for prohibiting it on college campuses?

        2. You seem to be conceding my point: It's extremely unlikely that someone who can pass the extensive background checks required to obtain a Texas concealed handgun license will commit a violent crime. Whether or not that person actually submits to those background test or obtains a CHL is irrelevant–it's the person's clean background that is the pertinent factor. Past performance is the most likely indicator of future crime.

        3. As for the "People with a gun are 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not possessing a gun," statistic, that's akin to saying, "People who carry insulin injectors are 4.5 times more likely to die of diabetic shock than those who don't carry insulin injectors." Clearly, carrying an insulin injector makes you more likely to die of diabetic shock.

        The referenced study, which had nothing to do with licensed concealed carry, merely looked at whether or not gunshot victims possessed a gun when they were shot. It didn't look at whether or not a victims' gun was a factor in the incident or whether or not a victim was engaged in high risk or even criminal activity at the time of the incident. It simply added up the number of people who were carrying guns and divided that number by the number of people who weren't carrying guns.

        More information:

  • Harvey Dent

    When was the last time you noticed a CHL holder who was carrying Josh?

    • joshuaism

      From Rude's description of a CHL holder I must surmise that one has never seen me as a threat. But I will be mindful to keep my hands visible at all times because I don't want to be seen as a threat. But with my complexion and build, perhaps I need not worry.

      Considering that less than 1% of the population has a CHL I'll probably never 'notice' one. But I have been told by a CHL holder that he was carrying. I wouldn't have noticed if it weren't for his boastful attitude. Never have a seen someone so proud of their cowardice.

      • Mac

        SO it is cowardice to be able to defend one's self? So what does that make some one like you who solely only on others to defend you?

        The person who was boasting was wrong and should be corrected as such. He was in the wrong for doing so.

  • Andy

    This is a fantastic letter that set a misleading op-ed piece straight. The success of concealed handguns on other campuses is particularly convincing. There's also a wealth of information from state crime statistics (for the past 20 years) suggesting that not only are concealed handgun owners more likely to avoid loss of property and physical harm during a crime, they are also less likely to be victimized in the first place!

  • W. Scott Lewis

    Because a free society doesn't base the granting of rights on one's ability to show need.

  • W. Scott Lewis

    It's a perfectly fair comparison. The point isn't that CHLs are magic cards that make the bearers suddenly more safe/more law-abiding; the point is that a person who obtains a CHL has shown that he or she has a history of being very safe/very law-abiding.

    Past performance is the most likely indicator of future crimes. When you weed out those with criminal histories, you have little fear from those who are left. When those who are left are required to undergo mandatory and periodic training and testing, you have even less to fear.

  • W. Scott Lewis

    Open carry is illegal throughout Texas (except on a person's own property). A license holder who so much as tells another person that he or she is carrying a concealed handgun can be convicted of "failure to conceal" and sentenced to up to one year in jail.

    That's not the case in Utah, where open carry is perfectly legal. Therefore, you're comparing apples to oranges.

    Texas would first have to legalize open carry statewide and then legalize open carry on college campuses.

    Before you start speculating about what I or other campus carry advocates want or what we'll do next if this bill passes, you should really do your homework. The campus carry bills currently pending before the Texas Legislature were carefully crafted so that even if open carry were legalized in Texas, it would still be illegal on college campuses. That was done at the request of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

    Our organization does not advocate for open carry in Texas or anywhere else, and we don't like the issue of campus carry being conflated with other gun rights issues. A couple of our campus leaders tried to get involved in the open carry on campus movement in Utah, and we quickly reined them in. We don't have any official stance on open carry, but we do have an official stance against involving SCCC chapters or SCCC resources in other gun rights issues, meaning that SCCC leaders and chapters are prohibited from using their official titles or official resources to push for open carry (on campus or anywhere else).

  • W. Scott Lewis

    A license holder's gun doesn't make him or her a target unless he or she chooses to draw it.

    If I choose to draw my gun, I've assessed the situation and determined that I'm already facing an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm. Therefore, my handgun is more likely to serve as an asset than as an added risk factor.

Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Polls

    As the Fertitta Center finishes construction, men's basketball is playing at Texas Southern's H&PE Arena this season. Will you be watching from the stands?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Recent articles

  • Special Sections