Guns on Campus: Texas Edition

This week, Politico published an article by Matt Valentine titled “Texas Just Made College Less Safe: University Leaders Have Thought That Guns on Campus Are a Bad Idea since 1824. So Why Do States Keep Allowing It”—a very provocative title and slant for Politico.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

“When the founding fathers wrote that the right to bear arms “shall not be infringed,” did they mean guns must be allowed everywhere, even in classrooms and dorm rooms? The University of Virginia Board of Visitors took up the issue of campus carry in 1824, and didn’t have to look far for an originalist perspective—Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were in attendance. The board resolved that “No Student shall, within the precincts of the University . . . keep or use weapons or arms of any kind, or gunpowder.”

“This week, the Texas legislature took a different tack, and voted to allow faculty, staff, visitors and students over age 21 to carry concealed handguns on college campuses in the state, provided they have a license. (In the 2013 legislative session, Texas reduced the training requirement for a concealed handgun license from 10 hours of instruction to just four. License applicants must also demonstrate the ability to hit human-sized, stationary targets at distances of 3 to 15 yards, with 70 percent accuracy.) Gov. Greg Abbott has already indicated that he will sign the campus carry bill into law. There are various caveats, and neither side of the debate feels satisfied with the final version of the bill, but the net result will be more guns in classrooms.

“William McRaven, chancellor of the University of Texas System, wrote to state representatives in April, warning them that campus carry could adversely affect faculty recruitment. In a nationally representative poll of college presidents, 95 percent said they oppose measures to allow concealed carry on campus. And yet this legislation was proposed in 10 states this year. (Most of these bills have stalled for now.)

“Sponsors say that armed faculty and students will make schools safer from all kinds of violence. In a New York Times interview, Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore said that the fear of being shot would deter rapists from assaulting these ‘young, hot little girls on campus.’”

And here I didn’t think that I would ever come across anything more ridiculous than Governor Greg Abbott’s instructions to the Texas National Guard to monitor U.S. military exercises in the state to prevent a federal takeover.

But perhaps that general political paranoia is part of this gun legislation in Texas. Perhaps the students at all Texas universities will be expected to do their parts in resisting federal tyranny.

Valentine’s complete article can be found at: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/06/texas-guns-college-campus-118526.html#.VW7ths_BzRY

 

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