Lariat Letter: Gun bill has campus safety in its sights

Campus safety. That is precisely what the campus concealed carry bill I authored is about.

Currently, Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders cannot carry bring their weapons out of their cars on campus. From an emotional perspective, this policy makes a lot of sense because the thought of guns in the hands of students can be alarming. From a statistical perspective, though, the idea of concealed carry on campus is proven and supported. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Texas State Department of Public Health and numerous independent researchers have concluded that the presence of a gun in a potential victim’s hand can not only stop crime while it is occurring, it can prevent criminals from even considering committing the crime in the first place.

Ask yourself why a trained, screened and licensed adult is permitted to carry their concealed handgun to dinner on Friday and to church on Sunday, but is forbidden from doing so at school on Monday.

If passed by the administration, this bill would not put weapons in the hands of anyone who does not already have the right to have those weapons virtually everywhere but our classrooms. We are talking about taking weapons that are in cars 100 feet away from classrooms and bringing them to the location where school shootings typically occur.

Some people argue that allowing concealed carry on our campus might lead to an increased number of student suicides. Those people are ignoring the fact that if Baylor were to allow concealed carry on campus, absolutely nothing would change about the state laws that dictate who can purchase, own or carry a handgun. The universities that do allow concealed carry have seen no increase in the number of suicides on or around their campuses.

Going further, the notion that in the case of a campus shooting, crossfire between a CHL holder and the campus shooter could cause an increased death toll is naive. Yes, accidents can happen. But are more people going to die during a multi-second shooting between two people or during a several minute, one-sided massacre? You tell me.

I do not want any Baylor student to be in a situation where they are watching their classmates die and hoping the police come in and save the day. Our police force is incredible.

But in the case of an active shooter in a classroom, if the police officers cannot get there within seconds, it could be too late. Unfortunately, we live in a world where classrooms are no longer academic sanctuaries. The 144 school shootings since 2000 are proof of that. As long as Baylor is a place where someone can just as easily walk into a classroom carrying an illegal gun as carrying a book, it makes no sense to continue policies that give an advantage to any lunatic or criminal willing to disregard Baylor policy and Texas state law.

– Woodinville, Wash., senior Gannon McCahill
Finance and Real Estate double major