OPINION: Guns on campus to save student lives

By Joe Dargan

Students, 21 or older with concealed carry licenses, are now allowed to bring guns into community college classrooms in 10 states which could save someone’s life.

Senate bill 11, otherwise known as the “Campus Carry” bill, was signed into law by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott in 2015, but didn’t go into effect for community colleges until August of 2017.

The states of Texas, Colorado and Mississippi are among a few that have been affected by this new law. It received backlash early on from Democrats and other left-leaning groups. Demonstrations were held like the “Cocks not Glocks” protest in which University of Texas students openly displayed sex toys to illuminate the irony of allowing guns on campus but banning dildos according to Texas obscenity laws. Some people have gone to extremes to show their disapproval.

A former East Los Angeles College adjunct professor who got a full time job in Texas, left the job after this law went into effect.

“I don’t believe that a school is a place where weapons should be held. Security should be the responsibility of the institution, not the students.” ELAC student Bryce Ronquillo said.

Proponents of the bill stress that if one life can be saved, it’s worth it. Eligible students must be at least 21 years old, meet federal qualifications to own a gun and receive training from an instructor certified by their states Department of Public Safety.

For some, it may be scary to imagine a  daughter or son might be  in class alongside a peer with a pistol, but it’s even scarier to imagine a shooter going from class to class killing students, while your child quivers in a corner awaiting death with no one to protect him or her. The ugly truth is that mass shootings have unfortunately become a part of America’s landscape.

In fact, the law took effect on August 1 in remembrance of the August 1, 1966 Texas clock tower shooting. On that day, Charles Whitman went into a clock tower at the University of Texas in Austin and over a 96 minute span, used his rifle to shoot 45 people, killing 14 of them, before he was shot and killed by police.

It was one of  America’s earliest and deadliest mass shootings, opening a window into a world that has now integrated itself into the fabric of the country. During the last 10 years,  events like this have become increasingly more common like the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 dead and 23 injured and  the Northern Illinois University shooter who walked right into a classroom and shot 27 people, killing six of them, the following year.

On October 1 2015, community colleges found out they were not immune to this dilemma when Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon was descended upon by a shooter who wounded 19 students killing 10 of them.

Studies have not been done yet to show the effectiveness of the new law, but if someone walked into your classroom and began assassinating your peers one by one, you better hope your state is one of the chosen few. Your life may depend on it.

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