Bullet Points: ‘It hits close to home,’ says Calhoun Lofts RA


“I’ve dealt with a lot in my two short years of being an RA, so this to me is just another issue to deal with,” Chris Pinto said. | Alex Meyer/The Cougar

As a resident assistant at the Calhoun Lofts, mathematical finance senior Chris Pinto has been preparing for campus carry going into effect on Monday.

Having already undergone active shooter training as a part of his RA instruction, Pinto and other RAs on campus question what the new law may mean for their and other students’ safety at the only residence hall that will allow concealed carry.

In the fourth installment of our weekly Bullet Points series, The Cougar interviewed Pinto to learn the viewpoint of a campus RA as Texas Senate Bill 11 is about to be implemented.

The Cougar: Campus carry will go into effect on Monday. How do you think this will affect the student population at UH?

Chris Pinto: As of now, I honestly don’t think it’s going to shake everyone just because you have to have a license. It’s not like anyone is just going to go pick up a gun and take it to class every day. There’s a legal process behind it…I do think it is something people will have in the back of their heads and, you know, it’ll be talked about, but I don’t think it’s something that’s going to shake the core of what UH is.

TC: As an RA, what are your duties in terms of monitoring students’ lofts?

CP: Our procedure will still remain the same. The way we’re going about it is that we’re going to treat it like drugs or alcohol, so legally, we cannot have a roster of who does have concealed carry. That goes against the right itself, hence “concealed.” What’s gonna happen is, for example, if we walk into a room and we see drugs or we see alcohol, there’s no way we know that that resident is 21 or not. We just have to report it.

TC: Does this make you feel uncomfortable as someone who has to monitor these situations?

CP: At least in my time as an RA, I have dealt with sexual assault, domestic abuse, rape, busting parties, weed, stalker situations, break-ins and active bomb threats. I’ve dealt with a lot in my two short years of being an RA, so this to me is just another issue to deal with. I will say that it hits close to home.

During my first year as an RA, I had two residents that were actually held up at gunpoint 20 minutes from campus. Those are my babies, so I went to go rescue them. So, for me, guns are not something I like to associate myself with.

TC: Have the RAs spoken about it collectively as a group?

CP: This comes into effect next week actually, so our new staff will be joining us on August 8. I do think it is a conversation that we need to have, and it’s not something we can put on the backburner. It’s going to be a “this is a procedure now, this is what we have to do, and this is what’s next if such-and-such happens.” I do think it’s a more serious issue for us. All our RAs are trained in active shooter training and things like that, but that’s like worst case scenario to all the other residence halls. To us, it’s very much a “this could happen at any time in our building now.”

TC: Do you believe that the policies in place for campus carry are efficient enough to maintain a safe environment?

CP: Again, I’m very uncertain. I think, in theory and on paper, it’s a great idea, and I think that they have thought through a lot of the proceedings, especially since they had the committee of students and faculty and staff. My thing is just because it is concealed that’s not going to stop anyone. Thankfully, UH has not had a major incident like this, and I hope that by allowing concealed carry, it won’t allow for that opportunity to happen. But I do think that it’s a new thing — parents, especially, are very skeptical.

TC: For students who have a concealed carry license, why do you think they feel it’s necessary to have guns on campus?

CP: I lot of people that I’ve talked to with the concealed carry, it’s like, “Oh, it’s because my parents wanted me to have it.” Sometimes I don’t know if it’s necessarily by choice or if it’s that the parents are freaked out because the Third Ward has such a bad reputation of just being this horrible, horrible neighborhood.

TC: Has a student ever come to you concerned about campus carry going into effect or do you anticipate students coming to you?

CP: Yes and yes. As an RA, I have had some residents (come to me) because I think they found out in May or June that we were going to be the only residence hall (allowing campus carry). I think it’s an older demographic: It’s junior or senior or in grad school, and we have some professors and staff who live there, so there were some concerns from my residents. One of my residents was concerned that what if their roommate has a gun and the roommate loses it one day and threatens to shoot them, like, what’s gonna happen then? And I have to be very truthful: I don’t know because we have not dealt with this.

I don’t know what’s gonna happen. I am uncertain, but I know that regardless of what happens, it’ll be a good learning opportunity. I think we can always, even if tragedy does strike, we can always walk away and we can learn and we can modify what we need to to make this campus safe for everyone.

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  • This installment has had the most reason. Pinto understands and apparently respects the law.

    I do not believe anything is gonna happen. Carrying a concealed weapon is a serious responsibility, but the SocDems on campus think its gonna be The Wild West from Day 1. SocDems said the same thing when Concealed Carry was allowed in Texas decades ago, and any bad incidents pertaining to CHL carriers can barely be counted.

    And Profs are so full of themselves to think that they will be threatened at gunpoint by CHL carriers. Of all the people on campus, CHL holders understand the most about consequences to actions.

    • CHL holders understand about consequences and laws? Of course they do. That explains why so many of them use their guns illegally. The myth that CHL holders are impeachable law-abiding has been busted many times. Continuing to spread it is dangerous. Having a licence for a thing, a gun, a car, or to practice medicine, is no guarantee the person who holds it will use it responsibly. The only people who belive that, live in a fantasy world who can’t think outside their little box of NRA gospel.

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