North Texas Daily

Campus carry in effect

Campus carry in effect

Campus carry in effect
August 05
12:36 2016

Adalberto Toledo | Senior Staff Writer

@aldot29

So far all is quiet on the Mean Green front. Eric Fritsch, campus carry task force chairman, has heard no word about campus carry since it went into effect.

“Right now it’s quiet because there’s not a lot of students or faculty around,” Fritsch said. “I really think that once the semester starts to ramp up we’re gonna start to hear more stuff about it, but right now I haven’t heard a peep and I’ve been at the office every day this week.”

In three videos posted to the UNT News YouTube channel, UNT police chief Ed Reynolds reassured students about the unlikelihood of a shooting at UNT by a Concealed Handgun License holder, as well as a refresher on the university’s policy and the law itself.

“[Texas] is the seventh state to adopt campus carry and from our research in this none of the other states have had any issue with this,” Reynolds said in the video titled “UNT: Chief Reynolds Address Campus Carry at University of North Texas.” “We’re not really concerned with the actual campus carry because most individuals they go through the process of being licensed and are law abiding individuals.”

He cited 2014 demographics of CHL holders in Texas that said three percent of Texas residents have one. 86 percent of those have been issued to individuals over 30 years old, and 67 percent over 40 years old. He said these groups are “already generally outside of [UNT’s] general population.”

For those concerned about guns in residence halls, Reynolds again reassures students that there are safety measures in place.

“We’ve only identified single-occupancy rooms for license to carry holders who live in a residence hall,” Reynolds said in a video titles “UNT: Chief Reynolds Campus Carry at University of North Texas Residence Halls.” “Those rooms are specifically identified and they have safes in them to lock those weapons up.”

Reynolds also wants to drive home the differences between campus carry and open carry. In a video titled “UNT: Chief Reynolds Campus Carry vs. Open Carry at University of North Texas” he said there’s a lot of misinformation.

“We have to remember that for being on the campus you can only carry a handgun if you are licensed to carry and it must be concealed,” Reynolds said. “You cannot open carry on the University of North Texas property.”

Still, the debate rages as it has in the months prior. Online students of the 2017 class share their opinions about campus carry, many voicing some of the arguments that have been heard since the town hall meetings last year. International studies senior Stephanie Plancarte said it’s difficult to trust her peers with guns when she feels they do not adequately handle their school work.

“Some people are not even capable of passing their classes. How are we suppose to trust people with guns? What if they get into a heated argument?” Plancarte said. “This is only going to cause more school shootings. We go to school to learn not to shoot people. College students are the most mentally unstable people, imagine what will happen.”

Plancarte’s comment brought on commenters stressed out at her argument. Computer Science senior Narimon Kardani said that characterizing all college student as emotionally and mentally incapable of carrying is “irrational.”

“I carry every day and haven’t shot anyone,” Kardani said. “I’ve been stressed, mad, bummed, all of it and haven’t shot anyone.”

A group of students listen intently during class in the General Academic Building. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

Campus carry went into effect Aug. 1 for public colleges in Texas. Concealed handgun license holders can carry their weapons onto public university campuses. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

Another commenter, senior Jacob Daniel said the rules and regulations laid out by the campus carry law and UNT’s campus carry committee cater to both sides in allowing “safe spaces” on campus, ultimately not infringing on the “natural rights of individuals.”

“I have a right to defend myself,” Daniel said. “If what [Plancarte] infer[s] is true about highly unstable individuals, how is UNT not a bloodbath already? You can harm and kill people with numerous things found on campus already. How do the cafeteria workers manage to get by after rude peers and students criticize them? They work by knives all the time, why isn’t everyone chopped to little pieces?”

The dissenting argument from Journalism senior James Elimian was a critique of the implementation of the law altogether. He said the law is trying to “solve a problem that doesn’t exist… in Texas,” citing the last mass shooting on a college campus in the state as the 1966 UT massacre. He added that examples brought up by other commenters, like the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, ignore the fact that examples should come from “our own state.”

“I can somewhat understand the argument that people want to have guns on campus to feel more protected,” Elimian said. “I don’t see why students in our state would need to feel more protected because we’re a state who relies heavily on our gun culture. You don’t need them on our college campuses which already have campus police who are already armed and whose entire job description is to keep us all safe.”

Elimian also noted it is “not fair” private schools got the choice to opt out of the law, and added he feels no reason a student should bring a gun into “places of learning.” He said it would add unneeded tension and stress to students and faculty.

“We don’t need private citizens trying to take the law into their own hands and playing hero if we were ever to deal with a mass shooting on campus,” Elimian said. “It would cause a lot of confusion as to who the ‘active shooter’ would be if everyone has their guns.”

Featured Image: A group of students listen intently during class in the General Academic Building. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

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