Texas Bill Aimed at Allowing Pistol-Packing College Students


Additionally, a student with a CHL trying to defend him or herself might compromise his or her own safety in addition to the safety of others, says Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin. In a life-threatening situation on campus, he added, police may have difficulty identifying which student with a gun poses a threat.

"As a police officer responsible for defending and keeping our campus safe, how does he or she make a decision of that magnitude, particularly in a split second?" said Loftin. "I worry about putting our campus police, as well as our students, faculty and staff, in a very difficult and dangerous position."

Others claim it isn't the extraordinary situations they fear. It's the day-to-day activities of a student that might lead to an accident. Brands says students often lose their temper when they receive a bad grade from professors.

Fixing the System

"The last thing I need is to have to wonder whether that heavy thing in the backpack is a chemistry textbook or a gun," he says.

Dan Leyendecker, who currently attends the University of Texas, echoed Professor Brands' sentiments. Although Leyendecker will graduate this May, before the bill takes effect, his younger brother Matt intends to come to UT when he graduates from high school.

"When my brother goes to college I want him worrying about school--not whether the armed students around him have been trained correctly," he wrote in an e-mail to ABCNews.com.

It's also the nightly activities of college students that concern faculty. On college campuses, where alcohol is frequently synonymous with student life, guns might be accessible to students under the influence. UT President William Powers expressed concern that the mix of guns and campus parties may prove to be a lethal cocktail.

"There was a similar bill in the last legislature session," said Powers. "I was not in favor of more guns on campus then, and I'm not in favor of more guns on campus now."

Goddard says he understands the fear that students face but claims that lawmakers are going about fixing the problem the wrong way. Instead, he suggests fixing the systems already in place to prevent and handle school shootings.

Goddard noted that one of the problems that contributed to the shooting at Virginia Tech involved a failure on the part of mental health services to appropriately document and share Cho's mental instability with other agencies. Additionally, Goddard noted that emergency response teams play an integral role in diffusing an emergency situation and suggested that they can also be improved upon.

"Students are afraid and they have reason to be," he added. "The fear is in the wrong place."

ABCNews.com contributor Claire Carroll is a member of the ABC News on Campus bureau in Austin, Texas.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...