• STAFF EDITORIAL •
Senate Bill 182, aka the Campus Personal Protection Act, is being re-introduced to the Texas Legislature by state Sen. Brian Birdwell.
The bill would allow any concealed weapons license holder to carry a firearm on college campuses. It also would prevent any public higher learning institution from making or implementing provisionary measures, rules or other regulations that would ban license holders from bearing arms.
If passed, the act would take effect Sept. 1. However, anyone knowingly carrying a knife, club, firearm or any other illegal weapon on a college campus from now until Sept. 1, 2014, still would suffer the penalty currently in effect.
On one hand, people trained in the use of firearms potentially could prevent or reduce the number of fatalities if a shooter opened fire on campus. Many students would feel safer knowing that people with skill, knowledge and training in responsible firearms use were armed and willing to defend them.
Mass shootings usually occur in places where guns already are prohibited, such as schools. So increasing the number of people legally bearing arms theoretically would decrease the likelihood of a gunman attempting an assault.
On the other hand, individuals may feel threatened because citizens are carrying guns. The small possibilities of law enforcement officers confusing a defender with the actual shooter, an innocent bystander being shot or a responsible and legal gun operator having a mental breakdown and opening fire in class keeps some citizens in a perpetual state of anxiety which distorts their judgment.
If current gun control laws were enforced, psychological evaluations imposed and more training given to potential concealed weapons buyers, then S.B. 182 could be a great idea for Texas colleges.
Most violent shootings are perpetrated by criminals or individuals with psychological issues who acquired a firearm illegally.
This act would put control back in the hands of the people and empower them to protect their rights as U.S. citizens and maintain peace on college campuses.
The President’s call for the enactment of new and more restrictive laws for citizens who wish to own and use their guns legally is an infringement on American citizens’ Second Amendment rights. It is dishonest to use emotional manipulation and irrational fear to coerce citizens to relinquish their rights.
Criminals shouldn’t be allowed to shape our country into a socialist republic where the government chooses who has the right to legally own a gun, which weapons they may carry, when they may operate them or where they may protect themselves, their property or their families. Nor should they be allowed to perpetuate a social attitude of fear.
As a democratic country, we must remain vigilant in maintaining and retaining our rights, including those established in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, or we will lose the freedom to be a self-governing nation.