Vice Chancellor opposes handgun legislation

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills said he was opposed to the bill that would allow students at public universities to carry concealed handguns on campus.

According to an Associated Press article, more than half the members of the Texas House signed on as co-authors of the bill Wednesday. According to the article, the Texas Senate was expected to pass the bill, which is similar to one it passed in 2009 in the state senate before failing to pass in the house. The article also cited that Gov. Rick Perry supported the bill.

If the language remains as it was during preliminary drafts, Mills said private universities should be able to make their own determinations about allowing concealed handguns on campus. If TCU were able to make its own determination, he said the governing board would decide what to do with the issue.

Mills said allowing concealed handguns could do more harm than good.

“We think it’s more likely to cause someone to get hurt than it is to save someone’s life,” Mills said.

For example, if multiple people at a shooting have guns, Mills said the police do not know who is the “bad guy.”

“[The police] will just shoot whoever has the gun,” he said.

He said public universities should adopt careful educational programs.

“It’s going to be trying to develop a process where having guns on campus will be as safe as possible,” Mills said.

Most people he had talked to said they were opposed to having guns on campus, but he said there were probably some people who believed having concealed handguns would create a safer environment. He said there would be a split between those who oppose and those who support the bill.

Mills said he would not be surprised if the bill caused problems on campuses.

He said lobbyists from the National Rifle Association were pushing for guns to be allowed everywhere in the country, including churches and schools. He added that the pushes by the NRA have gained traction in conservative legislatures.

“There is a very strong feeling in the country that handguns are an important part of public safety,” Mills said.

Junior communication studies major Larry Thomas said campuses would see more of a threat and that he did not think a college campus was an appropriate place for a gun.

“If a gunman were to come on campus, a policeman is going to know how to handle that situation better than an educator would, just because they don’t have the appropriate training for it,” he said.

Sophomore nursing major Courtney Ingram said she supported the bill. Allowing concealed handguns on campus will increase safety on college campuses, she said.

“To get a concealed handgun license, you have to do all these different things, so you should have the right to protect yourself on a college campus,” Ingram said.

Ingram also said she did not think someone who would have a concealed handgun license would not just take a gun out during class. She said she also thought the bill would not change anything because she did not think many students would go through all of the steps to obtain a concealed handgun license. Under Texas law, a citizen must be 21 years or older to obtain a concealed handgun license.

“Someone who’s going to have a [concealed handgun license] who’s going to take the time to get one is going to be responsible citizen who’s going to go out of their way to make sure that they’re going to practice gun safety,” Ingram said.