On Aug, 1st of 2016, the state of Texas passed Campus-Carry, a law permitting licensed gun holders to carry concealed guns on all state/public universities, including classrooms, dorms, and other residential facilities. The policy’s implementation caused division amongst students, teachers, and faculty, bringing in questions of safety, necessity, absurdity, and the Second Amendment right. Many argued that guns had no place or purpose in an educational setting, while others defended their right to bear arms and protect themselves at all times.
The fall semester and new law were met with the “Cocks Not Glocks: Campus (Dildo) Carry” movement at the University of Texas at Austin, where students paraded around campus with dildos in protest of the regulation, an act deemed illegal under the Texas obscenity law.
The law’s implementation occurred on the 50th anniversary of UT’s 1966 campus shooting, where engineering student Charles Whitman shot 49 people from atop the university’s main tower. He killed 18 people on his spree before being shot by police officers Houston McCoy and Ramiro Martinez.
But what about today? We must ask, in the eyes of students: Did the campus-carry law truly affect universities’ environments? Jeopardize safety? Impact student/faculty relationships? Students from the University of Texas at Austin and Texas State University give their varied opinions and quick responses, reflecting on the last six months since the law’s passing.
Krizza- college student, English
Personally, I do feel uneasy knowing that virtually anyone can legally carry a concealed weapon. I don’t think handguns have a place or a purpose on a university campus, especially in a college student’s hands. I dunno. America has such a huge, complicated relationship with guns, and I’m not quite sure implementing campus carry is really mitigating the issue.
Caitlin- college student, Government
Besides having to discuss office hours and seeing professors offices with signs about guns on their door, SB1 hasn’t changed anything for me. It might be because I don’t carry a gun but I never felt more or less safe during class. I remember talking about how it may affect voicing opinions in one of my classes last semester, but it hasn’t done that either. I feel like everything is the same, and actually almost forgot how big of a deal this was before it was implemented.
Hope – College student, Advertising
As a super senior I spend very little time on campus so I honestly haven’t felt any different since the law passed. I think knowing that people now have the option to carry guns automatically creates a more hostile environment, but any hostility or violence (at least to my knowledge) has yet to surface on campus.
Lauren- College student, Journalism
I haven’t personally seen any physical weapons on campus, nor do I know anyone myself who is a proponent of the law. But I think there has been a distinct change in the atmosphere in terms of general awareness and campus climate. I think that laws like campus carry, which specifically empowers staunch second amendment advocates, encourages a subset of other more threatening people to feel like they (and their guns) have a place on a public campus filled with students struggling to feel safe. After the election, I was among the hundreds of students marching in protest. At the foot of the tower I witnessed men screaming that Trump won, telling us to go home, to “get jobs,” as hundreds of us stood there peacefully protesting. Maybe this is just Texas – it’s always been a push-pull of radical values growing up here, but in all of these incidents, all I could think was “what if one of them has a gun.” and that’s a truly terrifying reality.
Julia- College student, Fashion Merchandising and Business
Since the campus carry law was passed, I must admit at first it made me a little uncomfortable knowing that just about anyone could have a gun on them and loaded while walking to my classes or even studying in the library. I must say, I never agreed with the idea that bringing more guns into a situation was a safer solution. To me, a university is supposed to be a safe and comfortable place for learning, although these mass shootings have occurred, I feel that it would be easier to point out someone who seemed suspicious, than allow a bunch of people to carry, masking the one individual who might have bad intentions. Although I haven’t truly been affected since the law has been passed, I do still think it’s a bit unnerving.
Jesus- College student, Advertising
I thought a lot would change, but it feels like it didn’t. I’ve been lucky enough not to have seen anyone with a gun this past semester. My experience at UT has not been tainted by the passing of this law, and I’m grateful that my environment has never felt unsafe or threatened.
I do not feel like the passing of this law has made UT any more or less safe than it was before, but I also don’t have to take classes with those who are likely to have guns (rich white kids). I do, however, think that this law paired with the Trump victory will have an effect in the near future, especially since I’ve seen a rise in white supremacist propaganda pop up all over campus. I think now more than ever it is important for poor brown folks to get their gun licenses – or better yet they should just buy rifles because you don’t need a license to open carry and they can be bought without background checks – to protect themselves.
Kevin- College student, Geography
Since the passing of the new campus carry law, I’ve felt neither safer nor more in danger. The thought of students walking around with guns in their belts and packs doesn’t make me feel comfortable, but I’m usually too focused on other matters to be paranoid about it. In terms of changing relations and atmosphere, I think it’s created a divide and sense of hostility when people start talking about it. That being said, many issues throughout 2016 (racism, gun accessibility, islamophobia, etc.) can all be blamed for the feeling of hostility on campus.
Whether the law has truly changed university atmospheres or not may not be necessarily measurable quite yet. However, tensions among students remain high. With newly-elected Donald Trump and Republicans holding down the Congress front, as well as Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott still in office, it doesn’t seem like Campus Carry is going anywhere.
You can read more in depth about the law here.
Featured image taken from trendbait.com
We won't spam you!