College students may carry loaded, concealed handguns

ysantillanBy Yajaira Santillan
Pulse Staff Reporter

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed the Campus Carry Bill on June 13, 2015. Texas is one of eight states that will soon allow concealed handguns on college campuses.

The other seven states are Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin. This proposal has been discussed since 2009, after the mass shooting that occurred at Virginia Tech University in 2007.

More than 38,000 gun incidents have occurred in Texas this year alone, with 9,790 people dying from the use of firearms.

A recent school shooting occurred at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Christopher Harper-Mercer, the shooter, killed nine people and himself. He owned 14 guns, six with him at the college and eight in his apartment.

The new law will become effective at Texas universities in August of 2016, followed by community colleges in 2017. The law will permit individuals with a concealed gun license to carry their loaded, concealed weapon in college and university buildings.

“This can be alarming to some. We’ve already seen many people getting hurt because of guns,” said Gabriela Martinez, a freshman Business Management major. “We would be more safe if this law didn’t pass. Allowing students to carry their guns doesn’t sound like a smart idea.”

The bill gives private and independent colleges the option of opting out completely. Public colleges and universities have no such option. Lawmakers gave the president of each university the task of creating concealed weapon regulations and the establishment of gun-free zones.

Retired Marine Corporal Vincent Bosquez, who directs the college’s Veteran Affairs Program, said he thinks the law will have an economic impact.

“Possible tuition increases, having to install gun safes or lockers,” said Bosquez. “Either get money by raising tuition or discontinue other services or activities.”

An analysis done by The University of Texas at Austin estimates that this new bill will cost Texas universities $39 million for installing gun safes, lockers and hiring more administrators.

Another concern for some is the veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, which can cause people to feel as if they’re always in danger and cause them to react a certain way in order to defend themselves.

Although some are against the new law, others think it can be beneficial, by reducing the risk of people committing mass murders on campuses.

“I think this is going to be a good thing for us,” said Alexandria Barrientes, a sophomore Liberal Arts major. “People with guns can protect themselves and us; it will definitely make me feel safe.”

A poll released in February said that 77 percent of Texas voters believe people should be able to carry their handguns in public. They believe this can help decrease the number of mass murders in the U.S.

“We all should use caution when carrying an open weapon,” said Bosquez. “A person who thinks he’s carrying it because he’s going to be safe, is carrying it for the wrong reason. A person who thinks he’s carrying it because he’s gonna protect somebody else, is carrying it for the wrong reason.”