North Texas Daily

One year later, campus carry brings no apparent change to UNT

One year later, campus carry brings no apparent change to UNT

September 19
19:49 2017

The beginning of the 2017 fall semester marks one year since campus carry took effect in public universities across Texas. According to the UNT Police Department, the law has not changed the campus environment in any significant way.

“We have had no incidents since the law passed or since the law went into effect of criminal acts by License to Carry holders,” UNT Chief of Police Ed Reynolds said. “We have had cases that involved weapons on campus, but the individuals that were carrying were not License to Carry holders.”

Gov. Greg Abbott signed the law, Senate Bill 11 (SB11), in June 2015 and it took effect in August 2016. While it allows licensed holders to carry concealed handguns on public university campuses, each institution created their own implementation process and policy. UNT gathered a task force of 23 people, including Reynolds, to review the bill then present a draft policy to UNT President Neal Smatresk.

UNT’s official campus carry policy includes prohibiting concealed handguns in places of religious worship, polling locations on the day of elections, labs with biological hazards, locations that service minors or hold events with at least 200 people, medical facilities and sporting events. Open carry is not allowed and concealed carriers must have their license present at all times.

Anyone applying for a License to Carry (LTC) must meet certain requirements, such as being at least 21 years old unless they are on active military duty, a legal resident six months prior to the application, never been convicted of a felony and have no class A or B misdemeanor convictions in the five years prior to the application. Applicants have to pass a state-mandated four-hour class, 25-question written test, state-administered background check and get fingerprinted before getting a license.

Bill Anderson, owner of local gun store Call to Arms, offers a course at his store that covers the material mandated by the state. He rarely carries and said people who think it is necessary are “misinformed.”

“You probably will never have to use a gun, but we get a license to prepare,” Anderson said. “It’s not about whether you carry a gun or not. It’s about you making your decisions. I completely support your decision not to carry a gun just as I would support your decision to carry a firearm.”

Before last year’s election, he had a class every other Saturday that reached capacity weeks in advance. Now he does one class a month with 10 to 12 people at a time. His customers are rarely college students and overall interest has declined. However, he does not believe the law makes UNT any safer.

“Is the campus safer or is it just less likely an idiot with harmful intentions will act?” Anderson said. “I think it has less to do with it being safer and more to do with it being a deterrent to crime.”

Anderson said the likelihood, no matter how small, is still there and a gun is more dangerous if the holder cannot use it properly.

“Practice should be a regular, continuous, ongoing effort,” Anderson said. “I tell them that for their own protection.”

A Twitter poll conducted by the North Texas Daily asked for opinions on the law. Of the 166 respondents, 22 percent were in favor, 60 percent were opposed and 18 percent were indifferent.

Reynolds said the main comment the task force heard was on the law itself and not the specifics of UNT’s policy.

“People were uneasy about this change, but that was far beyond our control as a committee,” Reynolds said. “So what we had to do was spend a lot of time educating the university community as a whole.”

He has heard “very little concerns or complaints” since the law was passed. Despite the silence, some members of the community continue to be opposed.

A student against the law, library and information science senior Jennifer Kelley, said she forgot the law was in effect and has not heard anyone discuss it recently. She is personally opposed to the law and believes the controversy is about more than just protection – it’s also about how people feel knowing there might be a gun nearby.

“I don’t think having guns creates a culture on campus that’s safe for everyone,” Kelley said. “I don’t think weapons have a place on campus. It’s not the sort of culture we want to promote.”

Psychology senior Anthony Crane, on the other hand, carries a concealed handgun on campus. He believes everyone should keep themselves safe and as a result, places where guns are allowed become less prone to dangerous situations.

“[Those against the law] are generally misinformed,” Crane said. “When was the last time you heard of a [National Rifle Association] meeting getting shot up or a gun store getting robbed? That stuff doesn’t happen because somebody is there with force to meet them.”

A different student, who will remain anonymous, got his license two years ago and carries frequently. As a veteran, he thought it sensible to carry since it was a major part of his previous job.

“We’re not out to hurt anyone, we just want to defend ourselves and our families,” he said. “I’m not looking for trouble. Most people don’t even know I have one.”

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Denton County issued 12,153 licenses in 2016, suspended 54 and revoked 34. The county also denied another 38 applications. Out of last year’s 42,797 criminal convictions statewide, 148 of them – or 0.3 percent – were committed by license holders.

“Most individuals aren’t going to go through the trouble to get the training, buy the gun and get the holster to do a criminal act,” Reynolds said. “The License to Carry holders are exceedingly law-abiding citizens.”

Featured Image: A student with a .380 semi-automatic handgun in an Uncle Mike’s holster stands for a photo. Campus carry went into effect Aug. 1, 2016. Mallory Cammarata

About Author

Bianca Mujica and Devin Rardin

Bianca Mujica and Devin Rardin

Related Articles

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @kiarastclair_: ┃┃╱╲ In this ┃╱╱╲╲ house ╱╱╭╮╲╲ we love ▔▏┗┛▕▔ & appreciate ╱▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔╲ The North Texas Daily 📰 ╱ ┏┳┓ ╭╮┏┳┓ ╲ ▔▏…
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: Korean entertainment is taking over and that’s okay 📝by @ohifeelyuh 🖼️by @GishhyOrange https://t.co/usyfr96CLh
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
NEWS: UNT ROSE's presentation offering community-based alternatives to calling the police discussed community safet… https://t.co/pLkflG0tOm
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
NEWS: HSA hopes to bring awareness to Venezuela and Puerto Rico by encouraging members to donate items like perisha… https://t.co/tHMtWINzzM
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @CarlynnGreene: Also, I want to thank @sofia_i_g & @quincy_palmer AGAIN for doing the article about me for @ntdaily They managed to inte…
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad