Letter: concealed carry is safer

The Baylor Lariat printed an article titled “Professors unite against concealed carry” on Feb. 21, detailing the Baylor professors that have signed and filed a letter in opposition to Sen. Bill 182.

The bill was filed by Texas Sen. Brian Birdwell on Jan. 17 and would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.

Dr. Blake Burleson and Dr. Robin Wallace, the two Baylor professors that took the petition to Birdwell’s office, along with 120 other Baylor professors, think that it would not be a wise move to allow concealed carry on campus.

“In fact, I think that bringing guns onto campus will actually make the campus more dangerous,” Burleson said in the article.

Statistics show otherwise, indicating decreased crime rates where concealed carry is allowed. Furthermore, as time goes on, crime continues to decrease.

“For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent,” argues John R. Lott, author of the book “More Guns, Less Crime.”

According to a study on campuscarry.com, after 26 colleges (71 campuses) allowed concealed carry on campus for an average of more than three years (as of June 2011), none of them have seen a single resulting incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides) or a single resulting gun accident.

Burleson claims, “We believe that allowing students to bring deadly weapons into classrooms will be disruptive to the educational process where the free exchange of ideas is essential and fervent debate is encouraged.”

At the Texas State Capital, CHL holders are allowed to carry on the premises of the capital building. During heated debates, state representatives and visitors are often carrying. These debates occur under tremendous amounts of stress and often last until late in the evening or the early morning. However, despite claims of extreme differences in opinion leading to gun violence, not one incident has occurred during even the most “fervent” debates at the Texas State Capital.

According to official statistics, Texas CHL holders are five and a half times less likely than members of Texas’ general population to commit manslaughter. A person in Texas is more than 20 times as likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered or negligently killed by a CHL holder.

Allowing concealed carry on campus will likely enable more faculty and staff to carry than students.

To obtain a CHL you must be at least 21 years of age. As a result, all typical Baylor freshmen, sophomores and most juniors would be ineligible to get their CHL, therefore unable to carry legally on campus. Consequently, the only ones allowed to carry would be some juniors, most seniors, and all faculty and staff.

“This was done by having discussed this issue extensively with colleagues both here and at other universities,” Wallace claimed. “Opposition to a bill like this is as close to unanimous as you’re going to have on any issue.”

There are only 120 signatures placed on the unprofessionally formatted petition, not to mention most of the signatures are illegible.

Considering that there are 2,365 faculty and staff members working for Baylor, a mere 120 signatures is far from unanimous.

Zach Maxwell is a junior double major in political and aviation sciences from Cisco.

Check www.baylorlariat.com for exclusive coverage on the debate about concealed carry on Baylor’s campus.