OPINION: Vote to repeal conceal carry on campus

APRIL CALVO, Graphic Editor

As of Sept. 8, there have been 470 mass shootings in the US and that number continues rising. Texas ranks in second place with 135 school shootings, reports the world population review website about school shootings by state in 2022. It’s easy to feel paranoid about Eastfield being the next target.

It feels more likely upon realizing the state legislature permits license-to-carry holders to bear concealed handguns on campus. According to research by the Harvard Injury Control Center, “where there are more guns, both men and women are at a higher risk for homicide, particularly firearm homicide.”

Even though these holders are certified to carry a gun, there isn’t a way to tell LTC holders from shooters in high pressure situations. Shooters could conceal their gun with a holster and sneak into the school. After all, Texas law doesn’t require LTC holders to register themselves with campuses. 

Despite officials pushing ‘good guy with a gun’, it’s dangerous for LTC holders to take part in a dangerous situation without getting mistaken as the shooter.

In Arvada, Colorado, a bystander, John Hurley, shot and killed the attacker, Ronald Troyke, and was mistakenly shot dead by a police officer after. 

You’re asking people to make split-second decisions about who’s a good guy and who’s a bad guy, and obviously mistakes happen,Pete Blair said, an executive director of a Texas State University group that trains police how to handle active shootings, in an interview with the Guardian.

People shouldn’t risk putting themselves in a position where they need to bring guns on campus. They also shouldn’t be pushed to act because of ideas by officials. At the moment, there are officials who are also pushing the idea for teachers to arm themselves to protect their students from shooters. 

“After the Uvalde, Texas massacre…calls came from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other Republicans to arm teachers,” U.S. News reporter Susan Milligan wrote in an article called “The Myth of the Good Guy With a Gun”.

In an interview with Fox News, Paxton suggested teaching “teachers and other people in the school how to defend themselves and to defend people…So we’re going to need people on the ground. Whether they’re, you know, trained police officers, or whether they are people that are trained in the school.”

“For those who say teachers and staff will likely not take up arms to protect their students, I say they will,” Representative Andrew Clyde said at the House hearing on gun violence. “It’s time to give them the tools and help them to better protect those children.”

Teachers don’t study for years to risk their lives and shoot people — they are here to teach. Also, having LTC holders on campus doesn’t make them trained enough to be involved in life-or-death situations.

Besides, in most scenarios, shooters don’t limit themselves to pistols or knives. Shooters carry semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity magazines and body armor.

For example, in the 2019 Dayton, Ohio, shooting, police were able to dispatch the shooter within 30 seconds of their first shot. However, because of the shooter’s high-capacity magazine, they were able to fire dozens of shots in quick succession, killing nine and wounding 27.

Apart from the heavy weaponry and armor, the shooter also has another weapon. 

“The shooter is not necessarily worried about getting out of the situation alive. The average person or responding officer is concerned about surviving,” Florida State University assistant criminology professor Emma Fridel said in a TIME interview. “You have something to lose. So that’s a huge disadvantage.” 

When the odds of surviving a day at school are at stake, it is time to make a change. 

If you have strong opinions about how the government should control the use of guns, then you should go out and vote. Elected officials should change the law or be voted out of office.

We shouldn’t be allowing any student, teacher or employee, unless they are an officer or security guard, to carry a gun. It endangers everyone’s lives. 

This year and the years before us may have been frightening and upsetting to us, but it can change. The controversial solution given by officials after the events on Uvalde have been a wakeup call. 

If we want the law to change, we must elect better officials to represent our cause. This upcoming election, do your research, make sure you’re registered and vote.