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I’m not going to school in Texas. But that’s where I’m from, and that’s where a lot of my friends are going to college. So I was interested to read the AP headline Texas Poised to Pass Bill Allowing Guns on Campus. The Lone Star State is about to allow concealed carry weaponry on all its public college campuses, without the possibility of a local opt-out (as exists in Colorado). If Texas goes down this path, they’ll become the second state to protect CCW holders’ right to campus carry (after Utah, the state where I’m currently going to school). The issue highlights gun rights in general and affects me directly . . .

Texas is the site of the most publicized shooting of the school year. While there weren’t any collateral casualties, the University of Texas suicide shooting was scary. The event shook me up. It made me wonder how another such event—or worse—might go down at my new alma mater Brigham Young University (BYU).

The UT suicide shooting occurred in the school library. On-campus security responded quickly and efficiently. Having talked with BYU security, I’m confident that they would be equally capable during an “active shooter” event. But still, you gotta wonder . . .

There are two entrances to the BYU library. They both funnel into one ‘choke point’, where there are metal detectors and security guards just kinda standing there, waiting for someone to do something stupid. Security’s almost as tight as it was at the Salt Lake City International Airport—before they started the new TSA system.

The library, as popular a target as it seems to be among college shooters, is the only building on campus that’s secured this way. The main classroom buildings are not. Nor is the most troubling potential target: the Wilkinson Student Center, affectionately known as the student populace as “The Wilk.”

This building always has the highest population density on campus. It’s home to most of the on-campus restaurants and  many of the student advisory offices are located. There are no metal detectors or security officers. The office that the police use is at least two minutes away by foot. (TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia know that four minutes during an active shooting is nigh unto eternity.)

The Wilk is the place I’d be feel more secure with a gun, and other gun owners. As an on-campus student, I cannot carry. BYU bans firearms and other weapons from its campus:

Guns and other weapons, such as large knives, bows and arrows, swords (including decorative weapons), and paint guns are not allowed on campus. Any firearms, pellet guns, BB and paint guns, wrist rockets, slingshots, and other similar items, as well as ammunition, cannot be stored in the apartment. Violators will be referred to the University Police and Honor Code Office, and their rental agreement will be jeopardized.

I have to yield my guns to the on-campus housing agency, who stores them in locked boxes. You have to be married to live outside BYU-approved housing, where Utah state law applies.

If you’re renting student housing off-campus, you have to get any roommates and the landlord to sign a waiver saying a) firearms are okay with them and b) they absolve themselves of any damage done with the weapon. Not that that’d be the most difficult hurdle to overcome, but there’s nothing to stop one of those roommates from [further[ abridging my Second Amendment right to keep or carry a defensive firearm.

As it turns out, Utah County has the second-most CCW licenses per capita of any county in the state (the first being Salt Lake county).

In its 136-year history, BYU hasn’t had a school shooting (*knock on wood*). So, am I overly concerned about a shooting here on campus? Not really. Do I recognize that it could very easily happen? Absolutely. And, do I wish that there was, perhaps, another line of defense beyond the officers sparsely scattered around campus? For sure.

Carrying on campus is a moot point for me, because I’m not yet twenty-one (curse you age restrictions!). But you had better believe that I’d feel better with guns on campus. Especially my own.

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  1. FYI, Texas may not be the second state to permit on-campus carry. Colorado State University currently permits legal CCW on-campus and has for quite some time with no problems or incidents by students or faculty carrying with a valid permit.

    The University of Colorado is also currently in review of on-campus CCW policies and may one day overturn their current ban as they are a public university and Colorado state law prohibits local laws/ordinance which runs in opposition to it’s right-to-keep-and-bear laws.

    …it’s interesting reading and broadens the conversation about on-campus carry.

    • Sounds like Colorado’s policy is kind of hit and miss. You need to codify the policy – Utah is the only state to allow concealed carry at all public colleges/universities, by prohibiting public colleges/universities from creating their own restrictions. The law has been upheld by the Utah Supreme Court when the University of Utah thought it did not apply to them – think again. BYU is a privately funded school and is not covered by the law.

  2. I am both a deputy sheriff and a college faculty member. As a deputy, it has always been legal for me to carry on campus but college policy prohibits me from carrying or possessing on campus.

    The part time or adjunct faculty who are peace officers, fire marshals, state police, FBI, etc. almost all carry openly while on campus.

    The threat is not from those with a CHL, as their offense rate is almost nil; the 2009 conviction rate for CHL holders for any offense was 0.1541%. I wonder what the conviction rate is for the gangbangers and the other miscreants living outside the campus; I will bet that it is much higher than 0.1541% !

    See the official DPS website for statistics:

    The threat is from those who are not licensed and who have criminal intent, NOT the CHL owner.

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  3. I am going to school in a Texas university and I’m all for this. I see just how easy it would be for anyone looking to do harm to get in, seriously you just walk right across the street onto campus and into a building. To get my degree I’ll be there at very least another year and a half but my brother will be going to college himself in the next few years. It would be nice to know if we are allowed to defend ourselves should worse come to worst.

  4. Back in my day we had pistols, rifles, bowie knives, bows, arrows, swords, nun-chucks, staves, those weird fork looking things, pellet guns, wrist rocket sling shots, harsh language, and plenty of ammo to go around. No paintball, but I don’t think those had been invented yet. I don’t think any of that was actually legal at Univ. of Texas, but we had it. Proudly. Hidden. Good times.

  5. When the Virginia Tech shooting occurred my father – who was in his eighties at the time – commented “That would never have happened when I was in college – everyone had deer rifles and ammo in their dorm rooms; somebody would have shot him.”

    The one place where a mass murderer knows he isn’t going to meet any armed opposition is in a ‘gun free’ zone. It seems rather obvious – but evidently it is too subtle for anti gun people to see: criminals are people who don’t pay any attention to the law – having a law forbidding guns only disarms the law abiding; it does absolutely nothing to stop criminals.

  6. I’m studying at BYU now and would feel safer if concealed carry was allowed on campus. Labeling an area as a “gun free” zone only stops law abiding citizens from carrying; the Seung-Hui Cho’s (Virginia Tech) of the world don’t really care what the sign says. If some crazy were to get mad at the LDS church, BYU would be a very attractive target. It has a very high concentration of Mormons and plenty of buildings practically designed for disaster. Look at the testing center. 500 students, all of whom are completely oblivious to their surroundings, stuck in one room with only a few exits (all of which are next to each other). *shiver*

  7. As far as I can tell those scanners at the library only check for library book identification magnets. I wouldn’t count on them keeping guns out.

    • As a former BYU Student who was also a CCW permit holder, I can confirm that those scanners at the library do not keep guns out.

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