We asked UT students if the new campus carry laws make them feel safer

‘You don’t who’s carrying a gun and when they’ll feel provoked to use it’

August 1, 2016. The day the University of Texas at Austin implemented the Campus Carry Law. The law allows license holders, who must be at least 21 years of age, to carry concealed handguns on campus.

As I sat on my bed scrolling through my Facebook feed, I was worried about how the Campus Carry Law would impact my life on what I felt was one of the safest schools in the nation. Many of my classmates were outraged – they now felt unsafe and worried about those who are licensed to carry a gun.

But others said the newly enacted laws could promote safety and serve as a means of protection. I asked UT students how they felt about the Campus Carry laws to get a more direct perspective.

Manaswi, sophomore, Business/Pre-Law

How do you feel about gun control in America right now?

I do think that stronger gun control such as more strict regulations and background checks would be beneficial but I am skeptical, because restrictions of the past have only helped so much, as we can see from the recent terror threats.

How do you feel about the new campus carry laws on UT’s campus? Does it make you feel unsafe?

The campus carry laws do make me feel safe. I don’t want to undermine the moral character of students who are carrying these guns, but I think that freak incidents happen due to anger or surprise and I don’t think any student wants to be witness to any of that, especially when other students are carrying guns. There have been many instances where guns have made the public a safer place, so I’m just going to be positive and hope that if a gun is used on campus, it is used to protect others.

Mansa, sophomore, Biology/Pre-Pharmacy

How do you feel about gun control in America right now?

I feel like the current gun control laws in America aren’t efficient to what they want to carry out, because most of the laws only ban heavy duty types of guns. I think if they really want to make any type of improvement, they need to focus on some type of incentive to keep people from selling guns through illegal trade.

How do you feel about the new campus carry laws on UT’s campus? Does it make you feel unsafe?

I had really mixed feelings when they passed the campus carry laws. In the beginning, I was really against them just because they made me feel really uneasy. Because you never know who’s going to be carrying a gun and when they’ll feel provoked enough to use it. It’s just unsettling to know that anyone could have a gun and that I feel obliged to possibly get one just to keep myself safe, although I’ll probably never get the courage to carry a gun.

It was also surprising they passed this regardless of recent classes were students have shot at teachers and professors. But after a while, I did realize they can also help some people, especially girls who are walking back to their dorms or apartments alone. They’re probably the only ones who may benefit from this because it might prevent them from getting harassed or raped, but there are other means of protection other than using a gun. I just wish there were other ways to make campus more safe rather than allowing students to be carrying around guns.

Aman, sophomore, Public Health/Pre-Med

How do you feel about gun control in America right now?

Recently, there have been a series of unlinked shootings where several of the variables that often complicate drawing clear conclusions as to whether or not the ease of accessibility to guns was the major contributing reason to the manifestation of the shooting, were controlled. Although making assumptions off of these, I will admit “cherrypicked” events, could be described as illogical, I feel that there is nothing wrong with going the extra mile to ensure the safety of our citizens. Gun control in America right now is a pressing issue and I feel that extra measures must be taken to tighten gun control policies.

How do you feel about the new campus carry laws on UT’s campus? Does it make you feel unsafe?

I feel an obligation to point out objective data linked to high crime rates that correspond to areas where gun access is much more liberal. However, I’d like to provide a much more intimate analysis of the fluctuating mental stabilities of many college students like myself. On a weekly basis, I deal with the issues of stress associated with my grades and also the anxiety concerning my performance in the extracurricular activities I participate in.

In an environment where many students face amplified mental health issues, is it logically feasible to employ a campus carry law? Of course, the recent August 1st date has perhaps not allowed enough time for adequate evidence of the success of this law, but one thing is certain and it is that I will walk across campus with a bit more of a concern for safety, taking away from the attention I could be putting on my academics.

Kiran, sophomore, Neuroscience/Pre-Med

How do you feel about gun control in America right now?

Many people commonly use the Second Amendment to justify their right to bear arms, but many people also neglect the fact that the constitution was written centuries ago, when situations were completely different and technology wasn’t as advanced as the amenities we have today. Gun control should be stricter in the U.S. because it’s relatively simple for anyone who lacks a criminal background over the age of 21 to get their hands on a gun license or firearm.

It is statistically proven that increasing the number of firearms in any given area positively correlates to the increase in violence and aggression, despite the Second Amendment being established as a mechanism for “self-defense”. I’ll agree that it is helpful to have a gun around for self-defense, but because of human nature, we often get carried away with the power and control that comes along with the responsibilities of being a gun owner.

How do you feel about the new campus carry laws on UT’s campus? Does it make you feel unsafe?

As I head back to UT for my second year, I am quite frightened that campus carry exists, but this isn’t that different from previous gun laws. Previously, concealed weapons were allowed in outside settings on campus but were banned from buildings. Now, concealed weapons are allowed to be inside buildings such as classrooms, study facilities and some dorms. Even though it is estimated that only 1% of UT students will practice campus carry, it continues to instill fear and stress in the minds of students, faculty and staff members.

At the same time, a person who has the intention to kill won’t stop to analyze whether campus carry is in effect or not. A person with the intention to kill will execute their actions and bring firearms despite any law that gives or forbids their right to bear arms. We should address our concerns to congressmen and let them know that adding guns to an already stressful environment like UT only adds more stress and confusion.

UT Austin