Group calls for concealed carry
Two months ago, the shooting on the Lone Star College campus brought the nationwide debate on gun control too close to home.
Some UH students are speaking out about the movement to allow licensed concealed handgun holders on campus through an organization called Cougars for Concealed Carry on Campus.
“It’s simply not a matter of opinion; it’s a constitutional right,” said organizational leadership and supervision senior Emily Posch, the secretary of the organization.
“Our forefathers made sure that we would not be rendered defenseless against the government or anyone else. Removing the ability to legally carry guns in any environment doesn’t make people safer. The law-abiding citizens won’t carry, but the criminals will.”
A main focus of the student organization is to push for the passage of House Bill 972 in the Texas legislature, which would allow concealed handgun licensees to carry firearms into buildings of publicly owned colleges and universities. The bill has been met with a wall of opposition and controversy in legislature and was delayed in committee Friday.
“An imaginary line should not determine my natural right to defend myself,” said supply chain management junior Antoine Hythier, the president of Cougars for Concealed Carry on Campus and a concealed handgun license holder.
“House Bill 972 would only allow CHL holders to carry concealed handguns on campus. This is the largest problem when polls are conducted because most people believe it applies to just anyone, which is not the case. CHL holders are statistically safer than the general public.”
Likewise, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, since Texas Governor George W. Bush passed the law allowing concealed handgun licenses in 1995, murder rates fell 50 percent faster than the national average, rape rates fell 93 percent faster in the first year after enactment and 500 percent fast in the second.
As Cougars for Concealed Carry on Campus continue its work to raise awareness, there are still many students that oppose weapons of any kind on campus.
“Mostly I am against the idea of students having guns on campus because I do not feel safer in any way by the presence of guns,” said sociology graduate student Phoenicia Fares. “Gun sightings on campus should be alarming and a red flag that something is wrong — not commonplace.”
Other students also agree that guns on campus only create a more dangerous atmosphere.
“I get that people just want the power to protect themselves,” said history sophomore Eric Kao. “But having concealed handguns creates a hostile environment of mistrust. I think it will be a cause to worry, and will just exacerbate the situation. People would feel safer with more transparent police patrols and activity.”
Although Cougars for Concealed Carry on Campus face disagreement, students in favor for concealed handguns on campus are beginning to speak up. Some argue that concealed handguns in licensed hands are simply a measure of self-defense.
“Those that do carry legally, once concealed carry is allowed, will not act as a supplement to the police force or a vigilante force,” said mechanical engineer freshman Leo Bartos. “Seeking out and trying to stop an active shooter situation is, and will remain, the job of campus police and HPD.”
Cougar for Concealed Carry on Campus also has the support of statistics found nationwide, Porsch said.
Of the universities across the nation that have allowed concealed carry in the last decade, none of the schools have had any gun-related threats, suicides, violence, or incidents, she said.
“The numbers just speak for themselves,” Posch said.