Campus-Carry: A Matter of Life and Death

Senator Brian Birdwell has filed SB11 that will allow Texas Concealed Handgun Licensees (CHLs) to carry self-defense handguns everywhere on the campus of public and private colleges and universities. (CHLs can currently carry everywhere on any school campus, except inside buildings and on activity grounds when a school-sponsored activity is ongoing.) A campus-carry bill has been filed every legislative session since 2009 and each bill has been opposed by people willing to outright lie about conditions on campuses throughout Texas and even the nation.

We can expect more of the same this session, but it is a new day in the Texas Senate. One need only to look at the list of eighteen Senators who joined Sen. Birdwell’s SB11 as authors to gauge the support campus-carry enjoys in the Texas Senate. Couple this support with the new “Three Fifths Rule” and a strong Second Amendment Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and campus-carry is quite likely to pass the Senate.

The usual suspects who oppose campus-carry every session make two false claims, 1) college campuses are safe; and 2) students are so emotionally disturbed and violent that they cannot be trusted with self-defense handguns. We will dissect those allegations in the following paragraphs.

College and University Campuses Are Dangerous Places

Most rational people will realize that college and university campuses are not the crime free Utopias that some school administrators and professors would have you believe. The fact that the U.S. Congress saw the need to pass the Jeane Clery Act forcing schools to report and disclose crimes on campus speaks volumes about the dangers college students face at school. Indeed, one need only to watch the evening news to see reports of violent attacks on campus, including armed robbery, rape and murder. It is beyond the scope of this article, but one of the universities that most strongly opposes campus-carry in Texas has one of the worst records of noncompliance with the required Clery reporting.

College Students Are Not Deranged Killers Waiting to Strike

Every session since 2009 has seen a string of professors from the University of Texas, and a very few other colleges, testify against campus-carry and the stories they tell defy logic and are utterly lacking in credibility. A common theme is that these professors have to deal with hordes of students who, by the professors’ own descriptions, could only be described as dangerous psychopaths. It is quite telling that not one of these professors has testified that they took any action to remove such dangerous students from the University of Texas. Really now, they expect us to believe that the campus of the University of Texas is nothing more than an institution for the criminally insane, yet they take no action to protect themselves or other students? We trial lawyers have a very technical legal term of such claims – “lies.”

Another glaring problem with this false claim is the lack of crimes committed by students on campus. If students were as dangerous as these professors claim, then they would be assaulting, raping and murdering one another on a regular basis. College campuses are dangerous not because of students, but because most attacks are committed by non-students targeting school campuses because they know students will be unarmed and defenseless.

Female and Night Students Are Especially Vulnerable

Any student whether male or female, young or old, large or small can be and are victims of crimes on campus. Nevertheless, every student is in greater danger when attending classes at night and this is especially true for females. The lame, almost insulting, solution offered by school officials is to have a campus police officer walk you to your car. That would be a good plan, except that there are not enough campus police officers to escort every female student from her classroom to her car or dorm room.

Texas Concealed Handgun Licensees Are Trustworthy

By the time SB11 is up for debate and vote, the Texas Concealed Handgun License statute will be twenty years old. Over the last two decades, Texas CHLs have established a track record that proves they are the most law-abiding segment of Texans. A long-running comparison of crime statistics for Texas CHLs and the general population prove CHLs are over seventeen times less likely to commit a crime than is the general public. This includes the very professors who preach doom and gloom every session when campus-carry is heard in public hearings.

Since empirical evidence conclusively proves that Texas CHLs are law-abiding citizens, are we to believe that they will suddenly and inexplicably become homicidal maniacs simply because they step across a threshold into a building? Okay, that is a bit of hyperbole, but the point is clear. In order to argue that CHLs are a danger on campus when they unquestionably are not off campus, one must believe that there is something about going to college that causes a psychotic break.

Some professors have argued that college student life is so stressful that it can cause an otherwise nonviolent person to strikeout physically against a professor. Professors, you are not nearly as important or powerful as you apparently wish. While the demands and workload of college is sometimes stressful, those stressors do not compare with working, raising a family, maintaining a good marriage, and the numerous other demands that life brings. Yet with all this stress, Texas CHLs have maintained an enviable record for twenty years.

Conclusion

Admittedly, this article has been a bit condescending toward those who oppose campus-carry, but after hearing absolute lies and absurd claims by professors and a few students for three sessions, patience is wearing thin. It is one thing to disagree on an issue based upon facts, but lies and absurd prognostications hardly serve to generate a statesmanlike debate.

Here are the clear facts. College students are robbed, assaulted, raped and murdered on campus. The people that SB11 will allow to carry self-defense handguns on campus are at least 21 years of age, so we are talking about upper classmen and graduate students. The fact that some students can carry handguns on campus will increase campus safety for all students because would-be attackers will not know who is armed.

All Texans, especially college students and their loved ones, owe Senator Birdwell and the eighteen other authors of SB11 a rousing “thank you” for stepping into the fight for campus safety again this year.