In 2009, the Texas Senate approved a bill relating to concealed carry on college campuses, but it died in the House along with hundreds of other bills. Since then, across the nation at least ten college campus and multiple other school shootings would occur.
January 22, 2013, my wife dropped me off at Lone Star College–North Harris. Moments after she drove away, multiple police vehicles surrounded the area. A few minutes later, a group of men carried a wounded young male out of the scene. Various officers pointed their weapons at the group, shouting at them to put the young man down just a few feet away from me. For whatever reason, they believed that this young man had brought a handgun to school and wounded three other individuals, and mistakenly charged him with assault with a deadly weapon.
Days later they caught the real shooter. Two years later at least 17 more college shootings would occur nationwide before a judge sentenced the shooter to 16 years in prison.
It would only take a month after this college shooters’ sentencing for our elected officials to pass and sign into law the bill that they attempted to pass six years prior, and after more than dozens of school and college campus shootings.
College has always been a place to learn new ideas and have your own beliefs challenged by the wisdom of centuries past. Our constitution’s First Amendment shines brightest at institutions of higher learning, for it allows the freedom of speech and expression of opposing and at times controversial views. Without it, professors would be dismissed for their controversial teachings, and students expelled for speaking out against unfair policies. Even so, as the years go by we find this right limited in certain justifiable ways, such as preventing someone from “yelling ‘fire’ in a theater,” or displaying obscene material around the most protected individuals of our society: children. Yet the wisdom of our elected leaders guided them in the idea that the Second Amendment should shine just as bright in college communities as well.
How a deadly weapon could contribute positively to any learning environment where controversy must arise, and where beliefs and egos have holes poked in them is beyond me. I don’t believe this law is just or good for the community, particularly when it allows private, wealthy universities an exemption.
A common argument from gun-rights advocates is that we need “good guys with guns” to combat “bad guys with guns.” The law makes no distinction between the two. There’s nothing to stop a good guy from becoming a bad guy after a terrible semester or being scorned by a romantic interest or group of friends.
There’s a first time for everything, and that first time for an armed college student to decide he’s had enough could be the first and last time a high school student decides to visit the campus. There’s no telling who’s a bad guy, and there’s a certain liability to the individual who accidently incites a riot out of fear for his life after seeing someone with a gun on campus, regardless if whether the licensed holder is a good guy or not. Like the limitations on the First Amendment mentioned earlier, there is no reason why there shouldn’t be limitations on the Second Amendment, especially for the protection of our children.
With less than 200 days left before Campus Carry goes into effect, one has to wonder how many days it will take before SHSU experiences another school shooting with thousands of parents calling their children to make sure they’re OK.