A current rule upheld by the University of Texas’ code of conduct that prohibits guns on campus may be overruled by the Texas legislature if the vote to allow concealed carry on campus succeeds in an April vote.
If approved, the current law allowing licensed individuals over the age of 21 to carry handguns in the state of Texas would be extended to include all Texas colleges and universities, according to Katie Kasprzak, Students for Concealed Carry on Campus Organization in Texas spokesperson.
“We feel those people should not be prohibited (in) their right to self-defense on college campuses,” Kasprzak said.
According to Kasprzak, the university is not advocating the change to its current code of conduct, but Texas state governor Rick Perry said he would sign the bill “in an instant” if it successfully passed through the state legislature.
Jeri Bonavia, executive director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said she opposes the idea behind the Texas proposal.
“Research has shown (the) carrying of concealed weapons doesn’t do the two things proponents claim, and that’s to increase personal protection and increase public safety,” Bonavia said.
Bonavia added a decrease in personal safety and an increase in crime have been statistically proven among states that legally allow the carrying of concealed weapons.
“Given what we know, it doesn’t make sense that states have legalized the carrying of concealed weapons. It’s not good public policy and it’s not terribly helpful, so across the board, it doesn’t make sense,” Bonavia said.
Bonavia said legalizing gun carrying on campus would mimic and possibly exceed the destructive patterns seen by gun-carriers off-campus.
Bonavia said the increase in gun-inflicted harm would derive from the stress-filled, high-emotion setting of college campuses. The tendency for binge drinking among college students would result in further gun-related violence, she added.
Kasprzak said such problems would not exist since current law prohibits anyone under the influence of alcohol to carry a gun.
“College kids may drink, but college kids are not the same ones that are carrying [guns] throughout their day-to-day lives,” Kasprzak said. “The kids that carry are over 21 and go to bars off-campus already and are still following the law and would continue to do so on campus.”
Wisconsin and Illinois are currently the only two states that prohibit gun carrying of any kind.
Bret Bostwick, former member of the Students for Concealed Carry on Campus at the University of Wisconsin, said the Wisconsin chapter of the organization founded last year has been unsuccessful in its efforts.
“Because in Wisconsin there’s not a general concealed carry law, it was kind of a double hurdle for us to get guns allowed on campus,” Bostwick said.
Bostwick added a lot of the initial group members have refocused their efforts on changing Wisconsin state law.
Though efforts are still present, Bostwick said he doesn’t think gun control in the state of Wisconsin will be legalized anytime soon.