From gun-free fantasy to gun-safe Texas

Ava Hosseini, Associate Editor

The nation remains at odds about gun violence. Texas has been no exception — following the one-year anniversary of Uvalde on May 24, there has been an influx of conversation surrounding firearms, with many advocating for the eradication of guns, both on campus and in the state.

But as the long-term ambitions of uprooting the second amendment rage on, individuals engaged in gun-free advocacy should consider promoting gun-safety, such as through putting their weight behind grassroots organizations that teach safe firearm usage. Gun owners should make the effort to equip themselves with proper gun safety techniques. 

Accidental injury makes up for 37% of nonfatal impairments caused by a firearm, according to The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence. In promoting safe firearm handling, students would take preventative measures against accidental injury and encourage gun owners to be mindful of the potential harm their weapon could cause. 

SB 11, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in 2015, permits licensed owners to carry concealed handguns on campus. Some discretion is granted to universities regarding how this law is implemented. However, the text states explicitly that campuses cannot create regulations that “generally prohibit” or “have the effect of generally prohibiting” the weapons.  

Regardless of how many protests are held, rallies are commenced and bills are proposed, the state will continue to protect people who want to bring a gun on campus. Assuming that firearms will be present at UT will leave room for the student body to take the according preventative measures, such as presentations exhibiting proper loading and storing procedures in collaboration with gun-endorsing student groups. 

Bella Feistauer, a government and economics sophomore, explained why she feels that the movement to ban firearms is unfruitful given the immediacy of the issue of gun violence.   

“I do think personally, that no one should have a gun. But at the end of the day, the right to have a weapon is in our Constitution. It’s really hard to change the Constitution,” Feistauer said. “I think if someone’s main goal is to eradicate guns completely from all aspects of American life, they have an uphill battle to climb.”

Alex Acosta, an owner of Austin-based gun-preparedness school, Atomic Legion,  said that he feels gun storage laws are insufficient.

“I’m of the mindset that laws aren’t necessarily going to change behavior,” Acosta said. “Individuals need to take ownership of the fact that they have made that decision to have this tool. And that decision that needs to be linked to, ‘well, because there is a certain gravity attached to this (gun), I should probably go get informed right now.’” 

While it’s true that firearm users should be seeking information, the consistent promotion of gun safety from student groups would emphasize its importance. In dealing with weapons for a considerable amount of time, an individual may get overconfident and sloppy in handling their firearm, which could lead to inadvertent harm. After a while, users might forget the weight their conduct with a weapon carries. 

Acosta believes that much of gun violence comes from losing perspective on how harmful the weapon can be. 

“People might use them emotively, and now the result is something catastrophic,” Acosta said. “I think a lot of people who use them as tools in emotional states like that also have never thought through the ramifications to their lives that will ensue thereafter.” 

By reminding users how to store, carry and load their weapons properly, gun-related student groups could advocate for a safer campus, regardless of where they stand in the political sphere. 

Hosseini is an international relations sophomore from Sugar Land, Texas.