While Texas’ public colleges plan to allow concealed carry of firearms on campus, some private colleges said that they will keep their campuses gun-free. The move comes after the adoption of Senate Bill 11 which forces public colleges to allow guns in their campus buildings.
Private schools on the other hand can still keep their gun-free policy. So, many colleges, especially the conservative ones, think this is the best solution. About 20 campuses including those Christian-affiliated said that they will not make the change.
Public colleges, on the other hand, will have to comply with the new law Aug. 1. So far, several public debates on the need to have firearms on campuses were set off by the new legislation. While some argue that college students should have the same rights any American adult has off campus, others argue that colleges have a special purpose and they should be kept gun-free.
Though just a dozen U.S. states currently oppose guns on their campuses, Texas decision sparked national controversy because of the state’s size and significance of its university system.
According to recent reports, the state’s universities have over 200,000 students, with University of Texas having 50,000. The president of the state’s flagship school Gregory Fenves doesn’t see the need for handguns in an institution of higher learning.
Others have opposed concealed carry on university campuses over concerns that students may get involved in life-threatening incidents. Senate Bill 11, however, allows public universities to bar handguns from specific locations including dorm rooms, laboratories, places where athletic events happen.
On the other hand, concealed carry supporters believe that guns will make campuses safer. They argue that the new legislation was passed to protect students from campus violence such as the Oregon’s Umpqua Community College shooting, where eight students and a professor lost their lives. Gun supporters argue that concealed guns could prevent these tragedies from happening.
Ironically, the new law will be enforced starting Aug 1, which is the date when a UT student shot dead a dozen of his classmates in one of the first mass shootings in the U.S. But only students and staffers that are at least 21 years old would be allowed to bring guns to schools.
Gun supporters dismissed concerns that drunken students may engage in gun fights because most parties happen outside campuses.
Senate Bill 11 supporters argued that the Lone State’s public colleges should be treated as any other public spaces. Lawmakers, however, said that private businesses and schools will not be ordered to allow guns at their locations.
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