CON: Guns on campus not a good idea
June 5, 2011 at 1:05 a.m.
Updated June 6, 2011 at 1:06 a.m.
UNDERSTANDING SENATE BILL 354
If enacted, the bill would have allowed a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on college and university campuses, both private and independent.
Colleges and universities cannot adopt any rules barring a license holder to carry a concealed handgun on campus.
Colleges and universities would be able to establish rules, regulations and other provisions concerning the storage of handguns in dorm rooms, or other residential buildings owned by the college or university that are on the campus.
If it had passed, the bill would have gone into effect Sept. 1.
To read the entire bill, visit http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/ click on the LEGISLATION tab and click on BILL LOOKUP. Type in the name of the bill you want to follow.
\nShould guns be allowed on college and university campuses?
The question often gets supporters and opponents into serious discussions talking about the safety of handguns and the people who have them.
During the recent legislative session, lawmakers discussed a bill that would allow concealed handguns on college and university campuses.
The bill died as it was sent back to the senate for revisions and did not make it back to the floor before the legislature adjourned on May 30.
But the question remains, should concealed handguns be allowed on campuses.
Keisha Smith will graduate in December from the University of Houston-Victoria with a bachelor's degree in general business.
She will be away from the campus atmosphere soon, but the idea of legislation passing that would allow concealed handgun licensors to roam freely around Texas universities and campuses is unsettling.
"I honestly think it's a terrible idea," the 24-year-old said. "When everyone starts having guns on campus, how can you tell who is supposed to have a gun and who is not?"
The idea of having several licensed concealed handgun owners on campus isn't scary, but it isn't comforting, either.
"I don't feel any safer," she said.
UHV does not comment on pending legislation, said Paula Cobler, interim director of marketing and communications at the university.
However, Victoria College President Tom Butler does have a view on the issue.
"Victoria College's stance is that community colleges should not be subject to a state mandate regarding concealed handguns," he said. "That decision should be left to our locally-elected officials."
Mayor Will Armstrong jokes that if he had a gun when he attended Victoria College in 1959, he would have passed freshman English.
Armstrong opposed the legislation.
"I think that people who carry guns sometimes have opportunities to use them that they will later regret," he said. "I don't think armed college students would be an asset to our community."
The problem Dennis Tardon had with the legislation is that school shootings don't happen often.
"We are solving a problem that happens literally to lottery odds," the Victoria resident said.
One of the deadliest, most notorious Texas school shootings happened at the University of Texas in August 1966.
Charles Whitman shot and killed 16 people, with three killed in the observation deck of the UT tower and 10 as a sniper from the tower's 28th floor.
When in the crossfire, reactions turn out much different, Tardon said.
"Certainly, in our minds, we would like to think we would be able to handle it," he said. "I'm 63 years old and I have had firearms all my life and I still don't agree."