Some lawmakers in Texas (see news story) are trying to pass a bill that would allow faculty, staff, visitors, parents and students over 21 years old to apply for a license to carry a concealed handgun on a college or university campus in the state. Guns are currently prohibited on all campuses.
Proponents point to events in recent years, such as shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, that left dozens of students and faculty dead as the main reason for their proposed legislation. One co-author described the bill as a “defense mechanism.”
The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators recently found that there is also no credible evidence to suggest that the presence of concealed weapons would reduce violence on campus.
In fact, evidence suggests that by allowing guns on its college and university campuses, the Texas legislature may increase the likelihood of an accidental shooting. There would be more opportunities for guns to be stolen or taken by force; and armed faculty, staff and students are unlikely to make much of a difference when a gunman has the advantage of surprise.
An armed campus citizenry will never replace university police who not only have been fully trained on how and when to use their weapons, but who respond regularly to potentially violent situations.
A goal of any lawmaker should be keeping guns off campus. This legislation could introduce hundreds or thousands of new weapons to colleges and universities in Texas. And to me, that’s not security for higher education, but rather a mistake.
What are your thoughts?
–– Patrick Fiel, ADT Public Safety Advisor