Beginning Aug. 1, 2016, the University of Texas will implement a new law allowing concealed weapons to be carried on campus.
S.B. 11, also known as the “campus carry” law, provides that license holders may carry a concealed handgun throughout public university campuses.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed this bill into law on June 1, 2015. Athletic events, dormitories, and fraternity and sorority houses are excluded from the law.
Not everyone is pleased with the passing of this bill. Over 20 private universities in Texas have exercised their right to opt out, citing safety concerns.
Fritz Steiner, Dean of the School of Architecture at UT for 15 years, will leave the university at the end of June.
He announced his resignation one week after President Austin Greg Fenves of UT announced he would comply with campus carry legislation.
Texas is now one of eight states that permit concealed-carry guns on public campuses – Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. California has not passed this law.
Teachers and staff members could be more cautious about touching on sensitive issues in class – like race, politics, and sex – and teach in a more neutral method for fear of arguments breaking out in the classroom.
The few staff members and students that were pro-campus carry mentioned mass shootings around the country as their main reason behind it. Fullerton College staff member Michelle Guzman spoke on the topic in regards to the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that left 20 young children dead.
“If those teachers in that elementary school in Connecticut could have carried guns, then maybe all of those little kids would not have died,” Guzman said.
Even though the law is strictly for colleges and universities, Guzman mentioned that a similar incident could occur at FC.
Guy Perez, a member of the school maintenance department, had a strong stance on the subject.
“I’m against it, definitely,” Perez said. “There would be paranoia here making it difficult for staff members to do their jobs in a comfortable environment.”
Divina Bartolome, a child development major, insisted that guns are not the answer to feeling safe at school.
“You’re on campus to get an education, you are supposed to feel like you are protected automatically,” Barolome said. “This campus is like your second home.”
Bartolome also mentioned if a student feels the need to carry a weapon, then perhaps it is the way the school is maintained that is the problem, not those who attend.
Campus Safety has no comment at this time.
“I’d feel completely unsafe if that law were passed here,” FC communications major Sabina Lopez said. “If you think about how college campuses are, you are free to say whatever you want and someone at school with a gun who doesn’t agree with your opinion would make you think twice about sharing how you feel. It would change the whole dynamic of school.”