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Friday, September 22, 2023

Focus Friday: campus carry


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For this week’s Focus Friday, we discuss how campus carry laws will affect students at UH.

Would the school be safer with guns on campus?

Opinion columnist Cory Simpson: We have the right to bear arms, period. Forget (President Barack) Obama. This isn’t for sport or big game hunting on some secluded ranch in East Texas. This is the distinguished right to defend yourself against any external threat from another individual or group, including government. By no means should this right be limited to exclude certain locations such as college universities. God forbid that some reject…psychopath decides he’s going to steal grandpa’s old rifle and start popping off people on campus. If the unthinkable ever happened here at the University of Houston, I’m sure my biggest regret would be that I was not fully prepared and fully capable of protecting myself and the lives of fellow students, faculty and staff.

Opinion columnist Austin Turman:  Allowing students to carry concealed weapons on campus won’t necessarily make the campus safer nor more dangerous. The principle comes down to this question: do you think a person with the full intention to cause as much harm as possible is going to be deterred by the fact that a few individuals may have firearms? While I seriously doubt students who have legally obtained a license to carry a  firearm on campus will pose any serious risk to the student body, I doubt it’ll act as a preventative measure and make the campus safer.

Opinion editor Anthony Torres: It’s not that I don’t like guns, I just don’t like having in the back of my mind that someone in the room might have a gun on them. I would prefer to have more security guards — who have training — be the ones to handle any situation involving a shooter. Situations where a shooter is on campus and a random student pulls out a gun to defend everyone can create confusion, and I don’t think that the general public is at a point where we can be as comfortable with guns as gun owners are.

Do you think CHL holders are responsible enough to maintain safety?

CS: A CHL is nothing more than basic knowledge of how to safely transport, store and fire a weapon. This by no means equates to responsible use of a weapon. It’s an unfortunate fact that armed civilians are no different than armed military personnel. Both can receive basic training and both can be highly irresponsible after receiving the training. I believe that a CHL is important and should be mandatory to ensure that the individual is at least trained in the basics of safely operating a firearm.

AT: Absolutely not. CHL’s are extremely easy to get and have a laughable excuse for teaching firearm safety, but also to respect the deadly nature of a firearm. I should know, I have one. My brother, an Harris County Sheriff’s Office sheriff’s deputy, was the only real reason I know how to respect a weapon. Certain states even allow CHL certifications to be taken online with no time-on-range requirements. Look at it this way, how many times have you seen someone driving a car in a manner that put other people in danger? It’s okay though, because they got their license.

A. Torres: Many gun owners are responsible, but there are those who take gun ownership a little too seriously. Yes, having someone with a gun in the room when an individual decides to kill people would be an advantage, but there’s too many factors to consider in certain situations to conclude that a CHL holder will necessarily be in a position to use his gun properly. We don’t always know how situations will happen, and guns may stop a lot of incidents, but there isn’t just one simple solution to ending mass shootings.

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