Campus carry does not make this school safer

WEB-Gun-Jimmy Moreland-1

Campus carry goes into effect August 2016 | Jimmy Moreland/The Cougar

Campus carry is a fruitless exercise for a false sense of heightened security.

This was proven this year when a terrible mass shooting occurred at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Nine people were fatally shot on campus by another student, and nine others were wounded.

Oregon has allowed weapons on campuses since a court case ruled that public colleges and universities can only determine where on campus a gun can be prohibited or where to have a “gun-free zone.”

During the terrible mass shooting, John Parker Jr., an Umpqua student, had a (legally) concealed weapon, and chose not to be involved.

He told MSNBC that he did not want to be considered a gunman participating in the shooting himself by authorities. He chose the smart option to let the authorities do their jobs instead of putting himself in danger.

Not only does this disprove the idea of “a good guy with a gun” but also the idea that campus carry protects students.

Of course some students are not against the idea of guns on campus, but just not in the hands of students.

“I feel that only professors should be able to carry, not students,” psychology senior Katie King said. “There’s been so many shootings lately that it doesn’t matter whether it’s legal or illegal (to have guns on campus).”

This attitude about campus carry is correct in its assessment. Campus carry does not make me or any other student I talk to feel safer on campus.

Campus carry will not prevent mass shootings from occurring. The “good guy with a gun” idea is not only an inadequate reason for campus carry, but a dangerous one.

Authorities on campus should be the only ones with weapons to protect the students because it is their job and they are the ones trained to protect students.

I would advise students who bring their weapons when the law goes into effect to be wary about when to use them if an emergency were to occur.

Call the police, and get to safety. Better yet, do not bring your weapon at all. There is a good chance that in the event of a shooting emergency, nobody will mistake you for a shooter if you do not have a gun in the first place.

John Parker Jr. made the right choice in his situation, and you should too.

Opinion columnist Sam Pichowsky is a political science sophomore and may be reached at [email protected]


  • I understand this is an op-ed article, but your argument is poorly constructed and has no premiss. The only thing I agree with you on is to call the police, and get to safety. However when seconds matter most, police are only minutes away.

    John Parker Jr. made no mistake in choosing to not use his weapon. He may have been on a different part of campus. But what if the shooter decided to choose his classroom first? Would his decision to not use it change then?

    What matters is that he had the option to use it if he felt he needed to in order to save his life or the lives of others. Just because he is a legal CCW permit holder, he is under no obligation to become a one man police force and hunt down the shooter.

    Furthermore, police do not go in guns blazing, neutralizing anyone who displays a weapon. They assess who is a threat and who is not. They fall to the level of their training and identify who it is that is a threat to them and the public, in this case the school.

    If there is one consistency in mass killing sprees that we continue to see in the United States, it is that they happen in places where firearms are prohibited: schools, churches, colleges, bars & restaurants and other restricted areas. To think that by restricting the areas upon which law abiding citizens should not be permitted to defend themselves would be assuming that evil would abide by these restrictions too.

    • Well of course they happen in the areas you just mentioned. They are public places with a lot of people occupying a small place. It is hard to have a mass shooting in my living room.

          • But how many mass shootings by deranged individuals looking to pile up a massive body count like they do in school shootings? Hmmmm……

            • In every single college shooting, the gunman was a student at the school. Usually shooting people he knew and was angry at. Not just some stranger looking for a gun-free zone.

  • It is the height of Panglossian argument to think that the solution to guns on campus is more guns on campus! It echoes the old joke “Doctor Doctor its hurts when I do this”. Samuel Pichowsy is right in his analysis that the campus carry law in Texas will have no effect on campus crime. You just do not find references to those with concealed handgun permit stopping or preventing any crime, they are rare to non-existent. There is just too little evidence that Concealed Handgun Permit holders do any good for the public safety. I do not believe allowing will have any effect on campus, good or bad. It is a law made to appease those who feel powerless relying on common sense and their own wits.

  • Hassan is absolutely right in his statement in the comments. It is also worth pointing out that response to an active shooter is certainly not the only reason that someone would make the choice to carry a concealed firearm. No, campus carry will not prevent other shootings from occurring. That is not the point. What it will do is give law abiding citizens the right to have a way to defend themselves should they have to make that choice. Let’s be honest…the real false sense of heightened security comes from making “gun free zones” and expecting that a criminal is going to obey them. Trying to tell the good people that they should leave their line of defense at home because you think one situation proves it can’t help them is naive.

  • I think most people who are against the lawful carry of firearms on one’s person, either on campus or anywhere else that matter, often get caught up in an emotional debate, rather than a practical one. In their mind, I think they have an innate fear of not being in control of their environment. From said fear stems either, an actualized or not-yet realized, insecurity.

    Now, please don’t take that as an insult to anyone here who has invested their time and brain space to being actively involved in the gun control movement. We are all looking for a method to display our passions; a calling, if you will. Some people promote “Black Lives Matter, Greenpeace, Save the Whales, etc., and I think anyone who takes on such causes does so honestly (at foot-soldier levels at least). Of course, our passion doesn’t necessarily equate to the validity of our charitable work.

    For example, imagine how someone who has devoted themselves to Susan B. Komen causes. Their cars and clothing, sport pink ribbons, they’ve spent countless hours campaigning their friends for donations, and even more hours walking miles for cancer research. Then one evening while scrolling through Netflix they see a documentary on the Pink-Ribbon movement called “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” The eye-opening honesty of this film must stab at their emotions, much like being blindsided by walking in on a cheating spouse.

    The point here is not about self-actualization, but closer to self-realization.

    Speaking of reality, if you took the time to study the negative actions which stem from people who go through the process of getting a concealed handgun license (CHL), you could lower this fear of the unknown. A good place to start is go the Texas Department of Public Safety website and look at conviction rates for crimes committed by those with a CHL and those who don’t have one. Look at firearm related crimes, and those crimes that where no gun was involved. I truly believe once you look at reality, your insecurities will fade much like your mother’s hug made the boogie man in the closet go away.

    Now, I know these statistics are not the end all. They are only meant to compare when good people go bad, compared to bad people who are doing what they naturally do. Certainly, if you are militant in your stand you’ll crumple them up and swallow them much-like Dr. Bott when he receives a turned-in paper with “little ‘fringees'”(sic) on the side. (Sorry for the inside joke for the non-UH readers). And yes, I get it these are conviction rates, and not arrests. But, one has to assume plea bargains are worked out in a statistically-comparative rate. Even if not, the numbers are so impressive, there’s plenty of room for +/- errors. Let’s take a look:

    For example, in 2013 (latest year) there were 50,869 total convictions, and 158 of those where CHL holders. That equates to about 1/3 of 1% (0.3106%). But, that’s just one year, so let’s look at 2012: 63,272 convictions and 120 were CHL holders – roughly 1/5 of a percent ( 0.1897%). Ok, I see it too. That’s an impressive rise in crime rates for lawful gun-toters in 2013 – not. Let’s see if there have been changes since statistics were first kept. In 1996 (the first year), there were 33,514 convictions whereby 153 of the convicted had a license to carry, yet that is still below a 1/2 of one percent (0.4565%). It’s understandable that in the first year there were some misunderstandings in the law by both law enforcement and the CHL’er. Digging into the middle of the numbers, in 2004 – 63,715 convictions; 105 by CHL holders — about 1/6th of a percent (0.1648%).

    As I said earlier, conviction rates are not the end all standard for you to base a complete opinion, but they are a relative example of the criminal actions committed by people with a CHL and without. The truth is, whether you are prepared to admit it — CHL holders are not the problem in society, and it’s fair to presume that their same practical (and law-abiding) nature will carry over to college campuses.

      • So fix the culture of violence and don’t penalize the tens of millions of law-abiding citizens for the actions of a small group that perpetuates that culture of violence.

          • Please, tell me how a hunter or a military man is the same as the person who shoots a guy because he’s on the wrong street or wearing the wrong colors.

            That’s the culture I’m talking about. The culture that does not value human life.

    • Building off that, keep in mind that we have about 900,000 licensed concealed carriers in the state of Texas. That’s 120 convictions in a pool of 900,000 people…

      That’s less than one in 7,500 concealed carriers are convicted a year. I’ll take those odds anyday.

      Now, let’s compare that rate to the general population of Texas. Roughly 63,000 convictions from a pool of 26 million people (Texas population- concealed carriers). That’s a conviction per every 412 people without a license.

      This means that concealed carry holders are more than 18 times more law-abiding than the general public.

    • I don’t have an innate fear of controlling my own surroundings, but I do have an innate fear of my wife being sexually assaulted outside of Farrish Hall when she has to go to the restrooms located outside on the first floor. I know we’ve received a least a few alerts in the past few years warning students of these very actions….

  • I think another point lost in the over emotional response and fear of firearms with regards to lawful carry is – the why carry? When I carry it is rarely about the destination, but the journey there. As much as the media (and doomsayers) want you to believe, it is still a pretty rare chance on a day-to-day basis that you will encounter someone intent on harming with a gun on a campus or a movie theater. However, real danger and the need for personal protection is escalated in parking lots, and walking down sidewalks, or once you exit public transportation and begin walking alone, using an ATM or pumping gas. These are all times of increased vulnerabilities. Once I can carry at school it will remain under these considerations. I ride the bus to school, and depending which one, I have a long walk to the bus stop, either at the front end or back. Plus, I live in Midtown, when I take my motorcycle I generally pass through the 3rd Ward and almost everyday I am heckled, and aggressively shouted at when I get to stop lights or stop signs. I tend to roll stop at the stop signs, because more than once these guys who seem to gather and sit on flipped pickle buckets or rickety chairs have gotten up and tried to approach me. Sure, I could drive way around the neighborhood, and sometimes I do go by way of the spur, especially if the day before seemed more escalated. But, just realize your stance on being against campus carry has a much more realistic affect on other people’s safety, than the likelihood a person licensed to carry is going to bring fear or danger into your life. Considering, the statistics in my other post, I believe people against Campus Carry are pretty selfish by allowing their impractical fears to dominate over the safety of someone trying to get to their cars safely in the outermost Economy Lots. In other words, your Anti-Gun Bullying is more likely to get someone hurt, than these honest 99% law-following CHL-ers are ever likely to do to you.

  • Josh Parker made the wrong decision. Reportedly, the police responded in six minutes after the shooting started. By that time six students were already dead – When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

  • A recent authoritative and comprehensive study out of Texas A&M shows lawful concealed carry does nothing to reduce crime. Americans have the right to own firearms, but there is no conclusive data to show that it actually helps people in a crime scenario. And according to data, more often than not, the gun places its owner and those around him/her in greater danger. When the overwhelming majority of students, faculty, alums, parents and local community members oppose campus carry, why would the Texas legislature try to FORCE campuses to adopt the policy? One reason: NRA. People like to imagine that they are super heroes, but at the end of the day, data shows they’re not. Ultimately, campus carry will endanger more lives through negligence, suicide and the other dangers inherent in having a gun around.

    • I need to warn you, my comments to follow are more than 1000 words long. So, if that burdens you, read the beginning for a little school rivalry fun, then scroll to the bottom to consider some suggestion for being more mindful as you go about your day. Thanks.

      My first comments are not an argument of your point, but more in the nature of comedic relief: I don’t know if I cringe or giggle more when I see Texas A&M associated with the terms: authoritative or comprehensive. Full blown laughter results when those two words are connected by an “and.” All right, back to some serious conversation.

      No studies are needed if you just open the links provided to actual news stories of real-world events and real people using firearms to defend themselves. I’m prone to believe and shape my opinion on these real-life stories of self-defense than from eggheads who shape-shift numbers to match their agenda.

      Additionally, how often do we read about “studies” where we learn the benefits of certain drugs, or lack effectiveness of common home remedies only to learn they were funded by Eli Lilly or Merck. This same lack of integrity should (on the surface) knock anyone about the head and shoulders with an “obvious” stick when it comes to a college university doing a study about guns and their effective use in self-defense scenarios by regular people enjoying the 2nd entry of their Bill of Rights. Of course, I say this with a instinctive gut reaction that I get when I hear the word “studies” thrown about. At least with the crime statistics I linked to in my other comments, there’s little room for manipulation. They are what they are. However, I concede there is always room for denial, which seems to happen with heated topics like this.

      If you read the headlines it is easy to see that colleges are scared to death of guns on campus, not because of a danger of accidental or unintentional consequences of an errant bullet making its way across a classroom. They are scared to death that fear-filled mommies and daddies will not sign off on $40-60,000 of their cash or co-sign on student loans.

      Overselling classroom seats and parking spaces has the potential to reverse all of the Chancellor Khator’s hard work at improving the school’s reputation. Packing seats to offset a less than 50% graduation rate has the potential to equate our UH degrees to the prestige of the same degree earned online at the University of Phoenix. These days we see jam-packed universities where students have no room to park, and if they do find a spot it can be up to a half-mile away. Ironically, the fairly-oft’ violent crime that happens at UH mostly happens on the fringes of the campus, and out there in those distant parking lots.

      Believe it or not, carrying a gun does not make anyone feel tougher, super-hero like, taller or even more handsome. And people (that I know) don’t carry out of some paranoia either. Actually, there is a balanced burden, an increase in responsibility and the loss of the luxury most sheeple get to experience — the ability carry on in the in Condition White*. In other words, you no longer get to live in a pretend world, impervious to potential random evil. Carrying a licensed firearm, as a law-abiding citizen, in many ways forces the adult in us to be present at all times. This level of responsibility is not for everyone because it seems all too many people want to stay child-like and wait patiently for their nanny, their government or someone else to step up and push back against things that make them uncomfortable.

      People can be against guns all they want, I would never ask anyone who was afraid of them (or disliked them) to carry one. I only ask for the same respect in return.

      As part of this agreement, I promise with all my heart that should there be an extremely rare event which causes need for a firearm openly displayed in your presence, either to protect my life, your life or someone else’s life, I will do everything in my power to establish the safest pathway of any discharged round as it begins its journey to the intended target. I realize this decision will be made in hasty conditions, and because of that I promise I am constantly assessing my circumstances, which includes being aware of what is in front and behind potential targets.

      All I ask in return for this heartfelt promise: anyone reading this, please stop texting-and-driving, especially when I am headed to school on my motorcycle.

      People who text and drive, are sliding slowly down to the level of a pedophile with their blatant disregard for how their actions stand to harm and cause life-long damage to their victims.Those are the people we should fear more than a 21+ old student with a concealed handgun license — who carries his/her firearm legally and silently all while doing so out of your sight.

      I’ll finish out with a couple of points, especially for people who want to find out more about being more engaged in the here and now, more confident in their ability to read potentially dangerous situations (especially among crowds or public places like campuses or worksites), and be more responsible for the safety of their family and themselves:

      Please read this book: The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence by Gavin de Becker (http://www.amazon.com/Other-Survival-Signals-Protect-Violence/dp/0440508835/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445717568&sr=8-1&keywords=the+gift+of+fear)

      Not to get too preachy, but this book should be given by every father to his daughter, every husband to his wife, and every son to his mother. Of course, the book is for everyone, but it is females and the elderly who tend to be victimized. Plus, I’m an old chivalrous guy who still opens doors, so pardon my gender insensitivity this once.

      *For more information on Conditions of Readiness (like I mentioned about Condition White) read this:

      This link’s intended audience is a police officer, but it’s concisely worded and capture’s Colonel Cooper intended instructions well – of course his Color Code system is for everyone.


      You can certainly Google articles which go into more detail.

      Most importantly:

      “Ultimate victory is in avoiding the fight.” – Sun Tzu

    • Please, show me the sources for this data that you have.

      I would like to see this report from Texas A&M, the school that proudly supports campus carry.

      Can I see your source for the ‘overwhelming majority’ that oppose it?

      I’ll admit that owning a gun does put me in a position where I have a higher chance to get shot, but, in the same thread, I’m much more likely to drown if I have a pool in my backyard too. It’s about managing personal risks. I’m a lot more likely to die on my bike than I am from a gunshot, but I ride my bike a lot anyway.

      Please show me your facts that having concealed carriers on campus will “endanger more lives through negligence, suicide and the other dangers inherent in having a gun around.”

      Are you concerned when you walk off of campus? Out there, 1 in every ~27 people has a license to carry a firearm, and likely is. Do you think about it when you’re at the grocery store, the mall, the movie theater, or anywhere else off campus for that matter? Why would these same exact people suddenly turn violent on campus, when they’re allowed to carry in the Texas House and Senate chambers, a place of great debate, with no issues?

      You said you wanted data, here it comes, the raw numbers of concealed carriers against the rest of the population in number of convictions (based off 2013 numbers, the most recent we have). There were 50,869 total convictions, and 158 of them being concealed carry holders.

      Now, keep in mind that we have about 900,000 licensed concealed carriers in the state of Texas. That’s 158 convictions in a pool of 900,000 people…

      That’s less than one in 5,500 concealed carriers are convicted a year. I’ll take those odds any day.

      Now, let’s compare that rate to the general population of Texas. Roughly 50,000 convictions from a pool of 26 million people (Texas population- concealed carriers). That’s a conviction per every 520 people without a license.

      This means that concealed carry holders are more than 10 times more law-abiding than the general public. (and in 2013, with carrier convictions at 120 and non-carrier convictions totaling 63,000, the concealed carriers were 18 times more law-abiding than the general public).

      Here are my sources, I’d love to see yours.



  • As a CHL holder, I am for the
    concealed campus carry program, yet even I have some misgivings. The reason for this is because I am also a
    USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) member. USPSA is a competitive group that performs in
    tactical shooting tournaments run in multiple stages. While I am now comfortable with shooting in
    these events, the first one was an eye opening and cringe worthy
    experience. I got my first .22 when I
    was five and have shot regularly since I got it, and I was not prepared to shoot
    and move tactically in that competition.
    The adrenaline was intense enough that I was shooting my carry pistol
    and gave myself a two inch blood blister on a reload that I never even noticed
    during the stage. Full disclosure, while
    I rarely ever kill a hostage now, that day was a bad day to be a hostage. Range shooting, is not a good preparation for
    tactical shooting, period. Also, getting
    my CHL was one of the most frightening gun related experiences in my life. My wife, myself, and a retired Marine were
    the only ones in a fairly large group that demonstrated true weapons
    proficiency that day, and some of the others scared me to death.

    point is that basic gun safety is a deficiency that is going to cause issues
    with campus carry. From people in a dorm
    with no training handling a gun, to someone trying to use it “for real” for the
    first time, safety needs to improve. For
    instance, I started carrying frangible rounds last year after having to use my
    carry weapon for the first time. My
    brother-in-law’s horse was attacked by two pit bulls and I had to put them
    down. Unbelievably two rounds over penetrated
    (abdominal shots in both case) and ricocheted behind us hitting his RV. For the safety of bystanders I now use
    frangible rounds that will at least break down into small pieces rather than
    mortally or severely wound bystanders. I
    also shoot around three hundred rounds a week in multiple grips, stances, and
    around obstacles. The average shooter
    cannot afford that investment in time, much less in ammo. Even fewer will have the experience to know
    why you might consider doing it.

    said all that, I am a non-traditional student who spends a lot of my time on
    campus at night. I was mugged in the
    Robertson stadium parking lot years ago when my wife attended, and I don’t wish
    to go through that experience unarmed again.
    There are too many robberies occurring, and a patent lack of respect for
    UHPD when they do occur. I speak of the robbery at Cougar Place last year where the perpetrators discharged their firearms into the air while driving away when they were adjacent to the PD office (.2 miles per Google Maps). Our parking space is deficient and I have never seen a security sweep occur day or night in them. Until they are funded to the degree that they can make us reasonably safe, I wish to protect myself.

    Rather than the school attempting to lock down and restrict guns and claim they did
    their best, they should consider a massive safety program. My children all shoot, and more safely than
    some adults that I have seen on the range.
    They do so because they have been drilled in how to do it safely since
    they were very small. Even so, all of my
    firearms stay locked in a safe. I use
    biometrics on my protection pistols for easy access for me, but they are all in
    a safe. I still monitor my son when
    handling a firearm at 18 even though he is an “adult” and the law doesn’t
    require it. I have never experienced an
    accidental discharge, or being swept by my family because safety is a
    cornerstone of responsible gun ownership and usage in my home. If the university truly wishes to keep
    students safe once this law goes into effect, then they must embrace firearm safety
    and its teaching. No matter how
    distasteful it may be, if they are to have a safe “household” as well, then all
    students must be familiar with basic firearm safety.

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