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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Opinion

High noon for UH: Should CHL-holding students be allowed to carry on campus?


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David Delgado//The Daily Cougar

CHLs will empower students, deter criminals

Attending UH comes with a stigma that is hard to avoid. Bring up to any of your University of Texas or Baylor University friends that you decided to go to UH, and they’ll be sure to joke about UH’s proximity to the Third Ward. Campus safety is a concern not only for students, but also their parents.

Recently, gubernatorial candidate and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott started a petition to allow concealed handgun license owners to carry handguns on campus. Abbott has been in Texas news as he pushes to grant CHL holders the ability to carry handguns with them freely.

The law states that people who hold the license must have the handgun concealed and hidden from sight. The requirements to acquire a CHL are that applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have no felonies on record and have “sound judgment.”

Charles Cotton, president of the Texas Firearm Coalition and a board member of the National Rifle Association, defended Abbott’s petition in an article for the Texas Tribune. According to the article, “(Cotton) said allowing CHL holders to carry handguns openly would not pose a threat to the public ‘because these people have proven themselves phenomenally responsible.’”

Students with a CHL have proven themselves to be responsible and are obviously aware of the consequences of mishandling a weapon. Our university prides itself in having mature students who make the right choices every day, and universities should allow their students who hold CHL to freely carry their handguns with them.

Abbott’s proposal would also benefit non-CHL students who may get into dangerous situations. If criminals were aware that UH students could be walking around with firearms, they would be more hesitant to commit a crime against them. It would create a safer ground for students to freely walk around campus at night.

Nihant Kapadia, a junior accounting student, believes the proposal would be beneficial to him.

“I live at Cambridge Oaks Apartments, and I honestly wouldn’t mind if other students carried their guns,” Kapadia said. “Given with the past robberies that happened here, and with the ongoing security alerts I get in my email, I’d be more comfortable knowing that the bad guys know we can protect ourselves as a student body.”

Students are are a common target of crime. Criminals believe that just because we attend a university, we must be affluent. However, this is not the case for the majority of us, and we are tired of living in fear. Abbott’s petition is promising for universities that have to deal with crime. It allows students to take matters into their own hands.

 Opinion columnist Catalina Campos is an English literature senior and may be reached at [email protected]

Arm the professionals, not the vigilantes

Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has begun a petition on his website proposing legislation to allow concealed handguns on college campuses in Texas. But this isn’t the first time this kind of legislature has popped up in Texas. In May 2013, the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 972, allowing students with a concealed handgun license to carry their concealed weapons on campus. However, the Texas State Senate declared the bill dead, according to the Houston Chronicle, which was perhaps for the best.

With so many college students stressed about finances, classes and relationships, all within a concentrated space, adding concealed handguns to the mix may not be the best idea. Education senior Sheila Dawson is against concealed handguns on campus.

“It’s a safety issue, and I, as a future educator, know that I would be nervous or scared that I could do or say the wrong thing to a student, (and) because they are having a bad day or something … they could retaliate.”

NPR reported with neuroscientist Sandra Aamordt that recent research shows brain maturity isn’t fully reached until 25. The legal age to have a CHL is 21. That’s a potential four years of an underdeveloped brain possessing a concealed handgun. In the event of an argument on campus, a young adult could pull for their gun first rather than think through his actions.

Males are especially at risk, as Mens-hormonal-health.com shows that the highest numbers for testosterone levels all under the age of 25. Psychology Today reported that men with high testosterone were prone to risky behavior and were dominance-seeking. Livestrong.com wrote that this dominance-seeking behavior can include “brute force, violence, and fighting.”

That isn’t to say that well-meaning, armed students can’t be dangerous either. KHOU.com reported in 2011 that during the UT shooting in 1966, several students shot back at a tower where Charles Whitman targeted passersby from an observation deck. Although brave, those students nearly killed officer Houston McCoy, who was also shooting at Whitman. Ultimately, McCoy killed Whitman, not the students.

Even with a CHL, most students are not trained professionals and shouldn’t have handguns on campus. Fletcher said to the Chronicle that he “did not file this bill so CHL can be heroes in mass murders, but rather so they can protect themselves from sexual assaults, robberies, burglaries and car thefts.” However, there are other methods of protection on campus.

Aside from mace, tasers and apps designed to help in case of trouble — such as bsafe and SafetyNet), UH offers its own services, including security. If they feel endangered, students can use the number on the back of their Cougar cards, 713-743-3333, to have a security escort take them to their destination on campus. If CHL advocates want to feel safer by adding guns to campuses, then let’s do that; let’s add more qualified, trained and armed campus security, not armed students.

Opinion columnist Rachel Lee is an English sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]

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