In response to the article in Feb. 19, 2013, of The Baylor Lariat, “Professors unite against concealed carry,” I would like to voice my concerns as a faceless Baylor student.
First off, everyone should have a say in policies that would, in fact, affect their personal/professional lives, yet to make technical claims that are outside the scope of one’s expertise, claims that these professors make, should be first thoroughly researched before attempting to sway public policy. Dr. Burleson, a religion senior lecturer, and Dr. Wallace, a professor of musicology, while wise and learned are certainly not the first individuals whom I would take credible statements from regarding a topic primarily associated with criminological and sociological studies. Having said that, I found some errors supporting this claim.
Burleson and Wallace obtained 120 signatures on their petition that were solely from Baylor faculty and staff in opposition to concealed carry on campus. Wallace stated that this amount was “close to unanimous.” While some may be apprehensive to voice their opinion, the chances that this number accurately reflects the true belief and value held ‘unanimously’ by Baylor faculty and staff is remote. Taking Baylor’s Fact Sheet from Fall of 2009, there were 859 total faculty and staff employed at Baylor, thus calculating only roughly 14% of Baylor faculty and staff having signed this petition. Wallace’s claim could not have been further from the truth.
Wallace again claims that if concealed carry was legalized in Texas on college campuses, Baylor would still retain the right to deny that freedom being a private university, which is true. He points out that the university would need to produce signage and a “legal force” to enforce such policies; however, he also states, in the event concealed carry on campuses is legalized, that “[s]omebody who violated that rule would no longer be committing a felony as they are at present.” While I do not deny that instilling some ‘physical force’ would be more effective, clearly Wallace has not taken the time to educate himself on concealed carry laws – Texas Penal Code § 30.06 to be exact. There is already a “legal force” in place in the form of a sign. It is called a 30.06 (pronounced “thirty-ought six”) sign. Texas CHL owners are instructed in the proper interpretation of these signs, meaning that to enter any premises that visibly displays this sign while carrying a legal firearm is, in fact, a felony. Wallace’s statement that they would not be committing a felony would be false if Baylor were to place them at all boundaries of the campus.
Burleson and Wallace state that “the letter does not have an affiliation with Baylor”, yet how can Baylor not feel obligated to respond to such statements when the signers of the petition all hail from Baylor and are currently employed with them? In the words of another anonymous student, “[t]hese professors’ issues not only affect the entire faculty and staff, but it also affects the tens of thousands of students who attend Baylor. Why [weren’t] the students asked to comment?” Earlier I made the claim that 120 signatures is not unanimous, but I admit that it is substantial. However, Baylor should have a policy regulating professionals of their institution from voicing their opinion on behalf of the university, even if not intentional – much like the Armed Forces.
Steven Dowell is a senior at Baylor University. Dowell is Sociology major with a Criminal Justice minor and is a TxDPS Certified instructor for the Texas CHL. He is an NRA basic pistol instructor and a NRA home firearm safety instructor.
EDITORS NOTE: It has been pointed out to the Lariat, that the Texas Penal Code Title 7 Chapter 30 Section 30.06 states that violation of that section results in a Class A Misdemeanor not a felony, as stated in this letter.