Campus carry laws: Implications for faculty and students

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  • Post last modified:January 20, 2018

Campus Carry laws: What is going to be the outcome?

 

The campus carry laws effective August 2016, have generated lots of controversy. Guns are a sensitive issue and allowing them on university campuses is bound to increase the heat. What wrong can result from it is not clear yet. Not just the faculty and staff, the decision has puzzled a large section of students too. They are in a fix if the law is going to make them feel safer or more unsafe. The law has generated both kind of responses. Some have condemned it and some welcomed it.  Allowing something as deadly as a gun on the campus is a challenging decision.

University campuses have already been fraught with issues related to violence. Allowing guns in such a condition is bound to give rise to fear. The law allows the license holders to carry concealed handguns with them to the campus. Many people have welcomed the decision for they believe, the presence of guns on the campuses will reduce the fear of shootings. Anyone can bring out a gun immediately and tackle the shooter. On the other hand there are fears related to misuse of the law which are not totally baseless either. In that case, it could prove a potentially dangerous decision that could make life on the campuses more dangerous.

 

Guns are mostly seen in the context of security or violence. In terms of security they need to be placed in responsible hands. However, it is uncertain if all the license holders have the ability to use their guns responsibly.  Mixed opinions are being heard in this regard. After Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the Senate Bill 11 into law in June 2015, it came into force on Aug 1 of 2016. People above 21 can carry a concealed handgun if they have the licence. While private universities can ban handguns on campus, the public universities must necessarily comply.

However, most of the opposition has come from the faculties who advocate a peaceful college environment and feel that the guns on the campuses are going to add to the existing chaos. They also believe it is going to affect their ability to teach controversial topics. Campus carry according to the faculty members might be against the intellectual environment there and also against critical debate for which colleges are. There have been a few cases where the faculty have felt the fear that bigger disasters might be waiting to happen.

However, there is another critical side of this debate too. A large number of people believe that concealed weapons on the campus could avert the danger of shootouts and campus killings. So, according to them guns on the campuses will keep them safer. Still, it does not make the female students on the campuses feel any more secure than before. Several of them decided to not join public colleges. Languages students sent mails to University of Chicago staff declining the offer for admission for the campus carry laws.

 

A girl sitting next to someone keeping a concealed pistol cannot feel safe. Handguns on the campus can still create an environment of fear because where there are guns there is always a chance of violence. Now, no one knows how dangerous it can be if violence erupts.  Restrictions might work, but how effective they will prove in the long run is not possible to say so early. Policies set aside gun exclusion zones where people cannot take their guns.  However, there is no other place for anyone to keep his gun while not carrying it but inside his car.

The law has come into effect after much debate took place on whether guns could be allowed on campuses. A large number of people had supported this proposition given the rising fear of shootings on campuses. Now, after the law is in effect, there is still fear. If guns could create peace world would have been a much peaceful place. The policy makers need to find better and peaceful solutions that can make students and faculty feel safer.

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.