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.