Students fight for guns on campus


Students fight for guns on campus


Aug. 20, 2007
By Claire St. Amant

City editor

In Texas, it isn't surprising to see cowboy hats, belt buckles and boots glistening under the sun. But there's one piece missing from the cowboy ensemble when Texans mosey on over to school campuses: a gun.

According to state law, guns are banned in several places, including schools, places of worship, correction facilities, bars, sporting events and other locations. Currently, individuals with concealed handgun licenses must check their weapon at the door, but maybe not for long.

In late April, Gov. Rick Perry called for "gun freedom" across Texas and said students should be allowed to protect themselves on campus. Arlington senior Andrew Sugg couldn't agree more.

Sugg is the leader of the Baylor chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, a national group in favor of gun freedom in schools.

"I believe anyone with a CHL should be able to carry a gun everywhere," he said. "Most people don't even have to fire, just showing it is usually good enough (to control a situation)."

Sugg, who has been a licensed gun carrier for almost two years, recalls a time near campus in 2005 when the mere presence of his weapon distilled a potentially dangerous individual.

While Sugg was having a cup of coffee at Common Grounds, a homeless man started "aggressively" asking for money, he said. Feeling threatened, Sugg called the police, but before an officer made it to the scene, the man pulled a knife on another customer.

"I drew my weapon, the guy saw me, dropped the knife and ran," Sugg said. "I just put it back in my holster and went back to my coffee."

While this situation ended positively, Fair Oaks Ranch senior Alexandra Neville, president of Baylor Democrats, said she thinks gun control on and off campus are entirely different issues.

"What you do with your gun on your own time and for your own protection is up to you, but college campuses have their own protective measures and having students carry guns isn't one of them," she said.

Neville said students shouldn't have to worry about carrying their own gun to protect themselves because that responsibility falls more on the school and law enforcement.

"It's my belief that if you're trying to solve the problem of violence on campus, the last you would want to do is allow more people to carry weapons," she said.

Instead, Neville believes the problem could be combated with increased school counseling and preventive programs at an earlier age.

Sugg doesn't see it that way, and said he hopes people will move past the idea that "guns are bad" and recognize how they can be good, too.

"Most people who fear guns don't understand them at all," he said. "They have a Hollywood image of the gun being for the bad guy."

Josh Felker, U.S. Army veteran and owner of LoneStar Handgun in Killeen, agrees with Sugg.

"It's very important to expose people to guns and educate them about gun safety," he said. "Once people learn to use them, they usually aren't afraid (of guns) anymore."

In response to the shooting at Virginia Tech, Felker offered a free handgun-licensing course for teachers and students from May to July. Felker said around 40 people took advantage of the promotion, and while one student traveled from Oklahoma, most participants were local.

"There were quite a few Baylor students and a couple professors as well," he said.

Although guns are currently banned inside school facilities, Felker said, he hopes that will change.

"Law-abiding, licensed individuals should be able to carry a firearm because thugs and criminals will do it no matter what," he said.

Houston senior Theresa Doll disagrees.

"As an institute of higher learning, it's just not necessary to have students carrying guns," she said. "That's what law enforcement is for."

Doll, a member of the Baylor Democrats, said the right to bear arms is often overstated.

"Yes, we have a constitutional right to own and carry a gun," she said.""But that doesn't mean they have a place on college campuses."

Doll said she worries about students carrying guns and making irrational choices.

"It wouldn't make me feel safer for my roommate to have a gun," she said. "Especially not during finals when she's all stressed out."

While Doll believes shooting tragedies like Virginia Tech and Columbine need to be addressed, she said the problem is with adequate police units, not armed citizens.

"Supporting concealed weaponry is not the answer to the school shooting crisis," she said.


Original Source: The Lariat
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Claire St. Amant, “Students fight for guns on campus,” The April 16 Archive, accessed May 19, 2024,