Firearms do not belong on college campuses

By Andrea Carrizales

Allowing guns on college campuses is a big mistake. School shootings have become commonplace, and the problem will only get worse if students are armed.
Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law that requires colleges to allow guns on their campuses. It will go into effect August 2016 at four-year universities and August 2017 here at Eastfield and other two-year colleges.
It seems as if the state has passed a law without taking into account the feelings of those people who will be most affected by it: students, professors and staff at colleges.
The majority of college students are opposed to the new legislation. A large number of professors and staff do not agree with the idea, which makes me wonder: Is the government truly representing its constituents with this decision?
The environment in academia worsens as the date approaches. Professors at universities – and even some here at Eastfield – are saying that they will retire as soon as the law comes into effect. Professor Daniel S. Hamermesh, who teaches economics in the University of Texas in Austin, said he doesn’t want to “face the risk” of someone shooting in his classroom.
The repercussions will be devastating for academia. Professors once deemed as the best choice for the school will leave, depriving students of their insight and experience.
Students will go from class to class, in fear that a classmate might pull out a gun if they receive a failing grade or encounter something that displeases them.
In an effort to not excite anyone, classroom discussions will lose their flavor, and controversial ideas will be neither shared nor explored, undermining the safe environment colleges offer.
The idea of allowing guns to protect oneself is nothing but a farce. It is of no benefit to have one student feel protected by his or her gun while the majority fear for their lives.
Although guns aren’t allowed just yet, campus shootings throughout the U.S. are increasing at alarming rates. By allowing guns on campuses, the state is not mitigating the fire – it is feeding the flames.
Let’s just think about a scenario. In the event that someone infiltrated our campus, a concealed handgun license holder would be able to pull out his or her gun in self-defense.
However, a trained police officer could assess the situation and classify the carrier as a threat.
Add a hundred terrified and confused young adults to the mix, and the situation could spin out of control.
To make it worse — as if the conflict wasn’t bad enough — the law is going into effect on Aug. 1, 2016 at four-year universities, which marks the 50th
anniversary of the tower shooting at University of Texas, when lone gunman Charles Whitman killed 13 people from the top of the tower.