Opinion: TCU should not support campus carry

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Erika Simonson is senior political science major
Erika Simonson is senior political science major

TCU’s duty is to create the best possible academic environment for our faculty, staff and students, and that is only achieved by remaining a firearm-free campus. Many argue that our Second Amendment rights should take precedent over our right to make our campus the best place for students and professors. However, a record of the minutes from the 1824 University of Virginia board meeting reveals that even Thomas Jefferson and James Madison agreed that universities should prohibit “the keep or use of weapons or arms of any kind, or [even] gun powder” on campuses. The right to bear arms on a private campus has never existed here. Therefore, opting out does not interfere with our Second Amendment rights, which seems to be the only ground the advocates of campus carry have to stand on.

Our campus discourse should always remain free and without threat if we want to have the most productive academic conversations. The discussions that happen in real-world court rooms, town halls and judges’ chambers are protected by gun-free zones, so why should our academic discourse on campus be any different? Having even legal guns on campus increases the potential for them to be obtained by people who did not previously have access to a firearm. Professors fear they will not be able to grade students accurately or discuss certain topics in class because even now they are threatened with violence for these issues. Imagine those same outraged students with guns stolen from people on campus. One of the leading contributing factors to suicide is access to a firearm. We could be putting the gun in a depressed student’s hand.

TCU police, veterans on campus and other students have expressed major concern in these areas, and rightfully so. While these concerns are just possibilities of having guns on campus, they are real disadvantages that outweigh the nearly nonexistent benefits of campus carry.