Letter from the editor: Campus Carry thoughts
Change can be hard for some, especially if it’s pertaining to something unfamiliar. We see change all the time, in people and in history. America has been evolving over time, and people are still going their merry way. Granted, there is debate in between. Change takes time to get used to, but it’s important to have an open mind and to educate yourself on the topic.
On Aug. 1, Tarleton State University will have to abide by the Senate Bill 11, also known as “Campus Carry.” This bill allows Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders to carry their weapons on public university campuses. In the early stages of this bill, it seemed to be a ludicrous idea to me. Schools have always been portrayed as a safe zone; weapons on campus just sounded contradicting. With mass shootings, terrorism and the constant debate on gun control, this law seemed to go against everything happening in society.
At first, the thought of coming to class and knowing that people might have a gun on them made me cringe. I felt that to prevent being part of a fatal situation was to be in an environment where guns weren’t allowed, even though that didn’t stop shooters in the past. But when I took a step back, I looked into mass shootings, and 53 percent are family related while only 15 percent are public related, according to research done by USA Today.
I then looked into the states that already have this law in effect, Colorado, Utah, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Oregon, Kansas and Idaho. After attending an open forum hosted by Student Government Association, I felt more comfortable when I learned the Campus Carry Council at Tarleton had talked to three college campuses in two states about how they handle the campus carry law.
Kent Styron, director of Risk Management and Compliance, said these schools’ police departments said, “Out of all those years, they hadn’t had one instance where they had a conviction of a CHL holder showing their weapon in a reckless manner or anything like that or any convictions or any accidental discharges.”
With this bill coming in the fall, the Campus Carry Council has worked to prepare the campus and student body for this change. Tarleton received approval to post and hire an emergency management coordinator, and one of the things they want to consider is developing a building emergency coordinator program.
Even though CHL holders will be able to carry on public college campuses, I don’t think all hell is not going to break loose. Our campus is preparing itself to be a safe environment for this change, and I have full trust that it are going to keep us safe. At first, I was not for this law at all and feared for my safety, but after I looked into my fears and to my campus for answers, I was relieved and set aside my initial consensus.