Campus carry works only in theory

Benroy Chan

Because SB 11 deals directly with universities, one would expect it to protect the people who spend the most time on campus: students. The possession of a handgun could allow individuals to react to threatening situations, but because of age restraints, this isn’t possible for a large number of UT’s population.

An individual must be at least 21 years old to obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL) in Texas. Considering only 514 out of approximately 7,000 students who lived in UT residence halls last spring were old enough to obtain a CHL, this age requirement renders campus carry useless for many.

For students living off campus, campus carry is unnecessary because if those individuals felt the need to carry a weapon, it is already legal where they live, and most crimes happen off campus. Supporters of campus carry argue that universities are dangerous enough to warrant the carrying of a firearm, but this simply isn’t true.

The instances of violent crimes remained low on the UT campus from 2013 to 2014 even though they raised by 15 percent in the Austin area. Of the eight violent crimes that took place on campus, the benefits of concealed weapons may have been inapplicable. Six of the crimes were sexual assault, and while a concealed firearm could have helped these victims, this is only hypothetical. Since most sexual assaults involve the victim being under 21 and under the influence of alcohol, the majority of victims wouldn’t have been able to use a gun, even if they had one.

Still, that leaves two other instances where the possession of a gun may have benefited the victims. Although certain cases provide seemingly valid arguments for campus carry, supporters should remember that less than 1 percent of UT students have CHLs. The effectiveness of campus carry would be contingent on the victim being 21 and possessing a license to carry, which is unlikely.

Business freshman Alex Chan lives off campus and questions the need of campus carry because he perceives campus to already be safe.

“On campus, I generally feel safer because there aren’t really any sketchy people trying to solicit you like there are in West Campus,” Chan said. “With campus carry, I personally am a little more scared not knowing who around me may have a gun.”

Mathias Hudock, Plan II and environmental science freshman, said campus carry would introduce risks that aren’t justifiable with potential benefits. He also believes the presence of UTPD deters the need for concealed weapons.

“Given that a police force is immediately present on campus, I think campus is pretty safe,” Hudock said. “The risks involved in campus carry would largely consist of having a number of armed, young people near or on a heavily populated university, meaning that more people would be in a position to commit violence.”

Although people may have reasonable desires to carry a firearm on campus, the benefits exist only in theory. A large percentage of students aren’t old enough for CHLs, and the likelihood of a potential victim carrying a firearm is low. When campus carry takes effect next school year, the benefits will remain intangible.

Chan is a journalism freshman from Sugar Land.