In Texas colleges, you can never tell who's packin'

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Licensed gun owners began being allowed to carry concealed weapons on Texas four-year college campuses a year ago, and the law extended to community colleges today.

They can be carried on all campuses, but they must be hidden under clothing or in a purse, not open-carried in a holster.

The usual arguments are being raised on both sides of the issue, but the fact the law applies to college campuses raises special issues.

College students aren’t fully emotionally mature, some argue, and are often away from home for the first time, challenged with new ideas and subject to relationship problems and other emotional issues.

On the other hand, the law allows only people over 21, properly licensed, to carry concealed handguns. Plus, the law just began covering community colleges, which have a higher proportion of older, non-traditional students.

Colleges are allowed to impose gun-free zones, such as childcare and libraries during special children’s events.

We heard one opponent suggest that students are encouraged to engage in spirited debate over emotional issues, and adding guns to the recipe could be dangerous.

It’s also true that carelessly handled firearms are dangerous, and they’re most dangerous to the owner — 60 percent of gun deaths are self-inflicted.

But the knowledge that anyone could be “packing” should add a level of civility to debate that is too often missing these days.

And, it ensures that Texas college campuses can no longer be considered to be “soft targets” for someone intent on carrying out a mass murder.

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