Concealed carry keeps students safe on campus

Feb. 1 through the 8 was National Gun Violence Awareness Week. Many people are left wondering what we can do to prevent further incidents from occurring, especially on campus. With cases such as what we just saw with A&M Commerce, it becomes more difficult to push these thoughts to the back of our minds and continue on with our day as a student or member of faculty and staff. 

For some students, such as myself, the answer is clear, and that is to conceal carry a firearm everywhere we go, including on campus. After the Texas campus carry law went into effect in Aug. 2016, no public university is allowed to deny licensed citizens to conceal carry a handgun on campus. 

This, of course, has a few exceptions. The University is allowed to deny carry into certain buildings, such as the Early Childhood Development Center, Health Center, Counseling Center and others. You can view the full list along with all TAMU-CC rules regarding carrying on campus on the University website under the “University Handbook Rules and Procedures” section. 

I understand that the idea of students, faculty or even visitors walking around campus with firearms might make some feel uneasy, however, it is important to note that anyone who wishes to carry on campus must go through licensing and training classes. 

These classes mandate passing a proficiency qualification with a handgun, several hours of classroom instruction followed by a written test, and an extensive background check run by the FBI and local law enforcement agencies.     

There are students who feel safer on campus knowing this, such as Chad Keys, a senior Political Science major. 

“The only thing that changed was law abiding students and faculty are now able to defend themselves if an incident arises,” said Keys. “Having LTC (license to carry) holders on campus only makes the campus learning community safer.” 

For those of us who wish to take responsibility for our own safety rather than sit idly by as we wait for law enforcement to arrive, conceal carrying a handgun is the best form of self-defense available.

One student, who wishes to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said, “I carry in case the unfortunate happens. You never know when something might happen, so it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.”

When dealing with a firearm in any situation, it is important to not lose sight of how powerful of a tool that they are. One of the most basic rules of firearm safety is to never point at anything you are not willing to kill. Carrying a firearm is a serious matter, and the people who choose to carry must acknowledge this.  

“If a situation were to come up,” the anonymous source said, “I feel like it would be my responsibility to intervene in order to prevent any unnecessary casualties, and I am prepared to take a life if it has to come to that.” 

Carrying a firearm is not for everyone. It is a personal decision that you have to make for yourself, but with the right training and discipline, you will come to find out that it is the best way to defend your life, and the lives of others around you. 

According to a report given by the CDC in 2008, “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year, in the context of about 300,000 violent crimes involving firearms in 2008.”

A handgun is the ultimate equalizer. It matters not how strong or fast you are compared to the aggressor. With proper training, someone with any size or stature can successfully defend themselves. This is a right of the American people that should be embraced and preserved.