Students who possess a concealed handgun license (CHL) are now authorized to carry a hidden handgun on campus. On June 1, 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Texas Campus Concealed Carry Law (SB:11) and went into effect August 1, 2016. A new semester means new beginnings and that is definitely true for the students of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
The South Texan staff believes there are likely more problems than benefits from the passage of this law. One bright spot, however, has been that Texas A&M University-Kingsville did a tremendous job in keeping students informed about this law and how it affects our campus. Information is available for any students who have questions or concerns.
To gain further insight The South Texan posted a poll on Twitter, asking students if they approved or disapproved the new law. We received a total of 64 votes–30% approved, 22% were indecisive, and the other 48% disapproved. Now it may seem like this poll didn’t provide any conclusive results, but it shows how students are aware of the growing gun presence in the world. Here in Texas, it may not seem like a big deal because “everybody grew up around guns,” but that is a common misconception.
The South Texan acknowledges the Second Amendment gives people the right to bear arms, but knowing there is a possibility of a weapon being misplaced or mishandled worries us. For those who conceal carry, their handgun is their self-defense, but for other students it gives them one more thing to worry about. With students already under stress from class work and workloads, this is one more thing that will be in the back of their minds.
While firearms are dangerous, students at Texas A&M University-Kingsville shouldn’t panic right away. TAMUK has been providing information about where firearms are prohibited by placing signs with the words “Effective Notification per Texas Penal Code 30.06” around campus. TAMUK also published statistics about how many students are likely to possess a Concealed Handgun License. “Approximately 2.7% of the eligible citizens in the State of Texas are CHL certified. In the age group 21-30, 1.44% of the population are CHL holders. For the Spring 2016 semester … approximately 400 students in our residence halls are over 21. Using the statistics above, 5 or 6 students in our residence halls will likely be licensed CHL holders.” With this information students can feel more at ease while traversing campus.
However, no matter how much information is present, there is going to be the ever-present danger with students having the ability to carry around their handguns. At any given moment, their handgun could save lives if there was a school shooting. On the other hand, someone could misplace their gun, or have it stolen, or even reach a breaking point, and they could be the start of a school shooting.
In conclusion, The South Texan would like to thank Texas A&M University-Kingsville for doing everything possible to provide faculty and students with information about the Campus Carry Law.
They have taken all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the students and faculty on campus. We must keep our guard up, not because we fear of a mass shooting but because you never know what to expect.