If a current proposal in Texas legislature is passed, public universities would be required to allow Concealed Handgun License holders to carry guns on campus. Private universities such as TCU would have the choice, but are still affected by the decision.
Even with the pressure, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills said he is certain that guns should remain off campus.
Mills said even with private universities having the final decision whether to allow CHL carriers to exercise these rights on campus, the proposed bill still affects TCU.
“If it’s approved for state campuses, then there will be more pressure to approve it for private schools,” Mills said.
Even if Congress passes the bill, he said he doesn’t think the university would consider allowing concealed handguns on campus.
“[The bill, if passed] would require some type of response from the university whether we’re going to allow guns or not,” Mills said. “I feel confident that we would say no.”
Michael Darden, a senior political science major, said it would cause additional problems around the university.
“I don’t really think that [guns] need to be on campus,” Darden said. “It poses more of an issue to safety than anything.”
Tamara Shelley, who owns She-Bang! Handgun Training, a handgun training course in the Metroplex, said she believes allowing CHLs on college campuses could make campuses safer and prevent potential shootings.
Shelley added that students who have a CHL have the right to carry handguns on campus because, for some students, a college campus is home.
“That’s where their whole life is,” Shelley said. “If they’re going to be living their life and eating and sleeping there and spending most of their time there, then they ought to have the right to defend themselves just like anybody anywhere else.”
Mills said he doesn’t think weapons and college campuses are a safe combination.
“Our concern is, there’s a lot of alcohol involved with students,” he said. “We think guns and alcohol never mix.”
Bridget Ryan, a junior business major, said she doesn’t see the need to carry a concealed handgun around the university.
“I think that it just encourages violence,” Ryan said.
“Although I believe that people have the right to own a handgun, I don’t think that it’s necessary to carry them on campus.”
Mills added that the most common form of suicide among male students is with a gun. Shelley said she believes the tough restrictions on attaining a CHL as well as the classes required promote gun responsibility and education.
“It’s just common sense,” she said. “Don’t be using your gun if you’ve been drinking or doing drugs.”
According to a document on the Texas Department for Public Safety website, CHL holders tend to be more responsible than those without a CHL. CHL holders accounted for 0.1541 percent of total convictions in Texas in 2009.