I don’t have a God-complex. I don’t want to be a hero. I don’t suffer from pessimism. I don’t believe that all people are bad. In fact, I’m quite the opposite. I’ve experienced enough in life to know that I can’t control everything. I’m a small female and know that I can’t hurt anyone. I look at life in an annoyingly optimistic way (or so I’ve been told). I’m a devout Catholic and believe in the good of everyday people to a flaw-filled degree. But apparently believing in my God-given right to carry a concealed handgun on campus makes me a self-absorbed, dauntless, glass-half-empty, apprehensive college student.
These accusations are not only completely ludicrous, but also incredibly insulting. Seemingly all of the politicians and citizens who idolize a liberal agenda make a blanket conclusion that those wishing to carry guns on campuses are adrenaline-driven and thoughtless individuals. I have even been called a “paranoid schizophrenic” for voicing my fear of walking home late at night. Since when did acknowledging the fact that this world is not nearly as safe as it once was conclude with me personifying such a daring pair of words?
This 82nd session has again brought up a set of bills that would allow certified Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders to carry concealed on Texas college campuses. In the Senate, it is bill 354 and in the House of Representatives it is bill 750. Both bills have passed their committees and will be brought to the houses’ floors. As is always the case, the opposition continues to bring up stories of the infamous Texas Tower and Virginia Tech massacres. Sure, those are incredibly devastating and terrifying scenarios, but that is not what SB354 and HB750 are all about. The more important, and more common, issue is the walk back from campus. There is one question that is etched into my brain and consistently stumps me: Why must I sacrifice my own personal safety merely because I wish to have a college education?!
Senator Wentworth, representing San Antonio and its surrounding counties, agrees that college students reserve the right to carry while attending class. In addition to Senator Wentworth authoring this bill, thirteen other senators have signed as co-authors. As could be expected, SB354 is split along party-lines. There are a few flop votes, or democrat senators who have gone on record as agreeing with this bill to ensure that SB354 gains its necessary two-thirds, or 21, votes to pass.
Yesterday, April 7, the Senate began its nail-biting discussion on SB354. Although it was decided that the bill be put on hold until Monday’s session, there was an idea voiced by Senator Ellis that captivated me. Senator Ellis, representative of Houston’s Harris and Fort-Bend counties, stated, “There is binge drinking when you begin college.” Um, excuse me, am I the only college student who DOESN’T binge-drink in class?! He went on to claim that Senator Wentworth, and others who ‘turn their heads towards alcohol and drug use in college’, are ignorant of reality. Seriously, Senator Ellis, no alcohol or drug abuse happens in classrooms. Most alcohol consumption happens in fraternity houses or in apartments—conclusively OFF-CAMPUS. And *spoiler alert* guns are allowed in fraternity houses and apartments (unless otherwise noted by that specific frat house or apartment complex). Alcohol is prohibited in college dormitories unless you are twenty-one or older. And a great number of twenty-one-or-olders no longer live on campus; they’ve moved on to either the glorious Greek life or apartments. All in all, there really isn’t much alcohol on campuses, if there even is any at all.
Conclusively, I’m more concerned about my walk home after midnight than I am a mass-murderer coming onto our campus. The mere fact that I could be packing heat on my person is enough to make a criminal dramatically less inclined to attack or come at me. I don’t have a God-complex and I’m not paranoid—I just acknowledge that I’m an easy target. I want to be able to protect myself since no one else can.
And as an important and slightly amusing side-thought, please don’t make the quick and thoughtless conclusion of assuming that all college students rock ‘n’ roll all night and party every day. Most of us actually don’t. :)