San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

December 7th, 2010
Commentary: Enabling self-defense on campus

EDITOR’S NOTE: Texas State University’s Associated Student Government passed a non-binding resolution last week in favor of allowing residents licensed to carry concealed handguns to do so on campus. The measure was swiftly vetoed by ASG President Melanie Ferrari who said the vote did not reflect the majority view of the student body.

GUEST COMMENTARY by MIKE GUZMAN

The Texas legislature convenes every two years with their next session starting this coming January. It is my prediction that they will amend current firearms laws and allow those in possession of a concealed handgun license (CHL) the right to carry on campus.

A national student group called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, advocates allowing law-abiding citizens the same right to defend themselves on campus as they are already allowed to do in such places as grocery stores, shopping malls, movie theaters, banks, restaurants, hospitals and churches. With the exclusion of schools, jails and courtrooms, CHL holders can even carry in all state and local government buildings including city halls and the state capitol building.

There is always so much focus on multiple victim shootings on college campuses but when you take into account just how many college and universities there are, this is thankfully a pretty rare occurrence. However assault, rape, kidnapping, robbery and other violent crimes are not rare occurrences. These types of crimes happen daily on campuses across the country. Even still, crimes committed against students, faculty and staff as they are walking to or from campus do not get included in campus crime statistics as the crime technically occurred off campus.

Those against concealed carry on campus believe that CHL holders cannot be trusted and will act irrationally if allowed to bring a firearm on campus. It takes a profound leap in logic to assume that one can act rationally in the multitude of places where it is currently legal to carry but when one crosses an imaginary line he or she cannot be expected to act rationally.

Of all states, Texas keeps the most extensive database of all crimes committed by CHL holders and the statistics show that CHL holders are the most law-abiding demographic in the entire state. This is pretty remarkable considering that at least one out of every 60 Texans has a CHL.

Firearms have been called the great equalizer for a reason. When a firearm is involved, it puts everyone on the same playing field to where strength and size have no bearing on the outcome. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 110 pound woman versus a 220 pound assailant, the elderly versus the young, a homosexual versus a group of gay-bashers or physically disabled versus able-bodied.

There are a million different ‘what-if’ scenarios that someone can use to be against concealed carry but it is currently allowed on more than 70 campuses without a single ‘what-if’ scenario transpiring. Spontaneous gun-fights haven’t broken out, students aren’t distracted in class from a concealed firearm and professors aren’t any more afraid of their students then when they run into them somewhere off-campus.

Two schools in the Western Athletic Conference, the new conference Texas State will be moving to in 2012, already have concealed carry on campus. Texas State will almost surely be the third.

MIKE GUZMAN is a Texas State economics senior. He served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps and is the former national president of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC). As the group’s president, he has  discussed gun policy on CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC and numerous radio outlets across the country.

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10 thoughts on “Commentary: Enabling self-defense on campus

  1. Since when do we need a majority to do the right thing? As college students, every adult is still a work in process, and often relies on fellow students — as in study groups or student teachers, for instance — to be a resource of education in finer points and knowledge.

    Students for concealed carry are educated on this. College students are adult taxpayers, and are possessed of all legal authority to stop a crime in progress. In the absence of first responders, the target of crime is the first line of defense, and lawfully so.

    Refusal or delay or quarrel with adult authority of adult college students is a tortious interference and should be litigated as such. One does not check their civil rights — or their legal authority to self-defense — at the Admissions Office as a condition of attending college.

    Refusing / vexing the armed adult student is the equivalent of denying someone from administering CPR or First-aid while awaiting Paramedics. Campuses are large, and response times of first responders is not always life-saving when fellow students are everywhere and can be utilized as an asset.

    Thus, it is not so much a question of majority as it is propriety, or doing the right thing. I am reasonably certain that most students would very much appreciate CPR or First-aid from another student until Paramedics arrive.

    I mean, without having a majority heard from first.

  2. Quite the contrary, “T,” in fact, places where concealed handguns are banned are the last remaining “Victim Rich” environments in the country, where “rational thinking civil people” are still treated like irresponsible children, by arrogant and overbearing school administrations. Nowhere is this kind of arrogance more obvious than on the college campus. It is these same irrational, non-thinking, and often uncivil, college adminstrations that refuse even to consider the logic, science, and ethics they purport to teach, who are at fault here. At least they are smart (or perhaps cunning), and arrogant enough, to realize that they would lose any rational debate for the lack of any evidence to support their position, and therefore refuse to engage in any such discussion.

  3. The objections are made by the same people who were editorializing in the liberal nesspapers in Maine and NH when years ago Right to Carry laws were on the ballot, calling them the kill you neighbor laws and predicting blood in the streets if the right to carry laws passed. Of course it never happened like they predicted after the laws passed over 20 yrs ago.

  4. I see nothing “rational” about requiring students, faculty, and staff at colleges to be unarmed and defenseless when confronted by a criminal on campus. Besides, as long as they don’t enter a building, the worst criminal charge that they would face now is for Disorderly Conduct, a misdemeanor.

    Every argument that was used in 1993 and 1995, against allowing concealed carry in Texas is being recycled now against campus carry. None of the “blood in the streets” prophecies of that era have come true. Why would this be any different? The only new argument is the “drunken frat boy” argument, but that one would not apply to either faculty or staff. Also, what about graduate students, who are mostly over 25 and must already have a bachelor’s degree in hand before being admitted to graduate school? Do you assume that, just because they are a student, a 40-year old graduate student is going to be irresponsible?

  5. Speaking of “victim-rich” areas, you see San Antonio College on the news?
    They have to use the “buddy system” to go to the bathroom, and they still get robbed. (They need bathroom cameras for security) they just installed electronic locks so if a shooter is in a building with lots of students they can instantly lock them all in together…. think about that.

  6. It seems so incredibly difficult for some to let go of the idea that controlling other people’s lives will somehow make them safer.

    As Mike points out in his commentary, CHL holders in Texas are the most law-abiding citizens in the state. Those opposed to allowing them to carry on campus rely on emotion rather than reason to support their position.

    I carry every day but am forced to lock my firearm in my car because the state says it is illegal for me to carry it into my office and I have always obeyed the law.

    Those of us who have CHLs have no interest in being batmen leaping to your rescue. We’re perfectly happy to allow you to wallow in your ignorance and, should fate befall you, die at the hands of armed criminals. We simply chose not to suffer the same fate ourselves.

    You like choice, right?

  7. On 09-28-2010, at UT Austin, a disturbed young man, ran past dozens of students, occasionally firing his semi-auto AK 47. Fortunately he did not shoot at anyone, except himself later, in a nearby library he ran into. Video shows he could have killed a lot of people, if he wanted to. He probably knew that UT Austin is a gun free zone. Not even CHL holders are allowed to carry there.
    Why is it, that in the entire state of Texas you can carry, except campus? A 21 year old, that has passed an FBI check, and has been deemed responsible enough to buy and carry a comcealed handgun, all the sudden when he/she steps one foot onto a college campus, becomes untrustworthy? This needs to change.

  8. To Mike:

    You stated “He probably knew that UT Austin is a gun free zone. Not even CHL holders are allowed to carry there”

    Allow me to correct that just a little.

    CHLs are “allowed” (it isn’t illegal) to carry on campus at U.T., but they aren’t allowed (it is “illegal” because University policy doesn’t create an exception to the law, like Harold ISD did for their Kindergarten-12th grade schools did) to enter a building armed.

    Your same analogy applies.

    Many CHLS actually carry all the time on college campuses; why are they deemed less trustworthy when a foot crosses the threshold to go inside a building than standing outside at the door?

    Why

  9. Remember, CHLs aren’t necessarily students; but may be off-duty officers, professors, maintenance workers etc too. And at San Marcos, some teach future Police Officers, and some may be even retired law enforcement.

    There are actually many people who are exempt from the prohibition already, who CAN be armed on campus.
    ie. possession of a gun on campus by someone under section 46.15 of the Texas Penal Code (e.g., a local police officer, deputy sheriff, retired officer, etc. who is taking courses at college)legal.
    See: Texas Penal Code Sec. 46.15. NONAPPLICABILITY. (a) Sections 46.02 and 46.03 do not apply to: …

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