THE FIRING LINE: Whose fear is more irrational?

The Firing Line

On Wednesday night, the TIP program hosted a panel in the Union Theatre about the possible legislation that will force public colleges and universities in Texas to allow licensed individuals to bring their concealed handguns on campuses.

Tony McDonald of Young Conservatives of Texas and Kory Zipperer of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus argued that the dangerous world we live in is justification for these licensed individuals to carry their handguns for protection and that to deprive them of this basic liberty is to leave them defenseless. This argument, however, is a false dilemma — to be without a handgun is not to be defenseless but to be lacking one of many options for self-defense.

When 93 percent of reported campus crime happens off campus, where guns are currently allowed, the need of a handgun to keep oneself safe on campus is an extreme solution to a rare problem. Tony and Kory argued that those, like myself, who oppose the possible measure to unwillingly force public universities (no university administrators in Texas have come forward in support of the bill) to allow CHL individuals to bring their weapons into classrooms is an irrational fear, even though CHL individuals have been convicted of thousands of crimes, including murder.

My question for you is whose fear is more irrational: an opponent to the measure who fears the known presence of a lethal weapon around his or herself or a proponent who is so afraid of an area with an overwhelmingly minimal crime rate that he or she feels the need for a lethal weapon as a likely necessity for survival?

— Kathryn Sieverman
Research assistant at UT’s Institute of Cellular and Molecular Biology