Texas officials are preparing for how to deal with the new “campus carry” law that is set to go into effect on August 1, 2016. The new law will allow students and faculty on college campuses to carry concealed guns with proper registration and licensing. The legislation comes in response to the increased frequency of school shootings around the country. Many proponents of the law believe it will help discourage mass shootings on campuses and allow people to protect themselves in the event of an emergency.
The response to the new bill has been very mixed and controversial. Many believe that it will benefit students and create a safer learning environment. But not everyone is convinced. Many protests and rallies have already been held by activists groups that oppose the legislation. Opponents of the bill believe that putting more guns on campus will not make anyone safer.
“I don’t think we should be allowed to [carry guns on campus], honestly. Because sometimes we have bad days, sometimes we have good days; people’s minds change very fast, so I don’t think we should be allowed to do that,” said Shaskuia Mercado.
But supporters of “campus carry” feel otherwise.
“Seeing as we have that new campus carry law going into effect, there’s going to be a lot more people [who are] able to protect themselves,” said Shilo Christian, a transfer student who is in the process of obtaining his concealed handgun license.
Officials state that a very small percentage of students will qualify to legally carry since they have to be 21 years old to obtain a proper license. The concept is also not entirely new. For the last 20 years, students have been allowed to legally carry on campus but were not allowed to bring any weapons inside buildings on campus. Starting next year, buildings on campus will be free domain for concealed carriers. Students will then be able to carry concealed handguns in classrooms.
Perhaps the most ironic part of the new legislation is that it goes into effect on the 50 year anniversary of the University of Texas Tower sniper shooting. The shooting took place on the UT campus in 1966 and killed 16 and wounded 30 more. It was one of the first mass shootings to ever take place on a school campus in the U.S.