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Editorial: Guns on campus would affect learning environment
December 6, 2012

Editorial: Guns on campus would affect learning environment

Editorial: Guns on campus would affect learning environment
UPD officer Gerardo Duran patrols the south entrance Dec. 4 at Brooks City-Base Campus. Duran said he and other officers concluded that students who defend themselves from an active-shooter with a gun can misfire and cause harm to other students and officers. “I’m worried that students might shoot through a wall and hit one of us as we’re arriving at the scene,” he said.

By The Mesquite Editorial Board

The Mesquite Editorial Board met to sound off on a controversial topic that hits home for the university — having concealed handguns on campus and in classrooms. Read more

After carefully considering potential outcomes, the Mesquite Editorial Board reached a 5 to 1 opinion against having licensed concealed carry weapons anywhere on campus.

While the board respects the freedom to bear firearms, the bottom line is that a classroom with armed students and instructors will change the learning environment for the worse.

Some would argue that having guns on campus would increase protection. Read more

But the majority of the board argues that if a student opens fire during an active shooting, it would instead cause confusion.

If higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings, as reported by Harvard Injury Control Center, then a gun in the classroom is equally, if not more, dangerous.

Campus police undergo extensive training and are experienced in handling dangerous situations. It’s their job to protect; leave it in their hands.

Attending school each day knowing that anyone could be armed with a deadly weapon can create a hostile and unsafe environment for both students and employees.

Students may withhold their opinions during class discussions for fear of offending classmates, and instructors may feel uncomfortable lecturing to a class of armed students.

It could easily affect how an instructor grades student work, interacts with students and presents his or her course materials.

Under the law, professors would also be able to carry weapons, which could cause students to feel threatened.

A classroom that welcomes deadly weapons is a classroom fueled by fear, which isn’t appropriate for an environment that needs to encourage learning, expression of thought and above all, safety.

The gun issue is an attempt for decision-makers to address violent shootings that seem to be increasing in frequency across the nation. Instead of attempting to fight with fire, gun regulation laws need to be revisited.

Texas requires an individual seeking a concealed handgun license to pass a federal background check, not have committed a felony and not have been diagnosed with certain mental disorders.

Loose ends in gun control laws need be to addressed before schools welcome guns on campus. For instance, with the current gun laws individuals with undiagnosed mental disorders and violent people without a criminal record are still able to obtain a concealed handgun license.

Lawmakers don’t need to be concerned with protecting guns but with protecting people and enforcing safety in the learning environment. Allowing guns on campus is not a step in the right direction.

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  • David Reyna

    The article is invalid for a few reason –

    First – In that it incorrectly assumes that somehow any handguns carried by students or a professor are in plain view. The concealed carry law explicitly states (page 56, EDC 37.125) under the education code that any display with the intention to alarm is a felony. The training for a permit is strict about handgun concealment. You shouldn’t be able to tell if your professor or fellow student even has one on his/her person.

    http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/internetforms/forms/chl-16.pdf

    Second – Every university – especially one of A&M’ size – should have a threat assessment team and procedures to limit or prevent incidents. The university in Aurora, Colorado is dealing with a backlash over their procedures and I believe every school should learn and develop heuristics from those events.

    Third – Referencing a report from Harvard doesn’t make your case any more or any less credible because it’s from Harvard. How can you make the leap from firearms in the household that don’t require permits to firearms in a learning environment like a university that do require a permit?

  • km

    This article quotes an officer with Texas A & M police department. I have spoken with several of the officers and they have not reached the same conclusion as the officer listed in this article.

  • Teresa

    I don’t see any “quotes” from a TAMU-SA officer in this article. Maybe you should read more carefully.

  • Paula

    If people in crowds downtown or elsewhere learned how many were carrying with a legal concealed weapon license, they would be shocked…..and yet, they were oblivious. Concealed means no one knows, no one can tell.

  • km

    Teresa, look at the quote from Corporal Duran underneath the picture.

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