In the aftermath of the tragic shooting that seriously injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and claimed the life of a 9 year-old girl, the state of Texas is moving to allow college students to carry concealed weapons on campus. Despite the bloodbaths and carnage at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech University our nation seems to have yet learned the lesson of our dangerous infatuation with guns. The Texas Senate’s approval of a concealed weapons bill flies in the face of the carnage we witness on a daily basis caused by the proliferation of handguns.
Rather than face up to the fact that the proliferation of handguns has not made us safer, some in our nation hide cowardly behind the Second Amendment and the foolish logic that it’s the person, not the firearm that kills people. Tell that to families that have buried children who might be alive if their attacker was not wielding a gun or the widows and children of slain police officers killed in the line of duty by a criminal possessing a firearm. Meanwhile, many states are complicit in the proliferation of handguns by lax enforcement of ownership laws or serving as a conduit for the distribution of illegal guns out-of-state.
The Texas law is a recipe for disaster. It presupposes safety by authorizing licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons inside college and university buildings. Simply because an individual is licensed to carry a gun does not mean he or she is equipped to handle the firearm in an emergency or will not succumb to anger and act irrationally under personal stress. What happens if a licensed gun owner takes issue with a professor over a grade or a fellow student over a personal matter? The supporters of this law imply that the campus environment will be safer simply because individuals will be able to defend themselves. What about the student who is licensed to carry, who goes on the offensive? We see a recipe for disaster in the making.
Americans need to push back on this Wild West mentality that is pushed by the gun lobby, and championed in the nation’s capital by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Whatever the nation’s Founding Fathers meant to imply by embedding the Constitution with the right to bear arms, we are certain it was not to aid the killing of innocent citizens. In an era when we have professional law enforcement agencies, the need for a “militia” is outdated and no longer has any relevance upon American society; only in a negative sense as it relates to fringe groups that seek to harm elected officials, members of select religions, racial minorities and members of the gay community. Yet, we pretend as if the language of the Constitution at its inception applies to conditions in 21st Century America.
As the Lone Star State takes a wrong turn, Texans should be reminded of the tragedies that struck its state on November 22, 1963 and August 1, 1966. On that fall day in 1963 an American President was gunned down in broad daylight as his motorcade traveled through downtown Dallas. Just three years later a deranged gunman opened fire from a clock tower on the campus of the University of Texas and killed 16 people and injured 31. If any state should know better, it is Texas. Yet, those elected to lead and exercise good judgment, are behaving irrationally and putting the lives of college students, professors, administrators and workers at risk. There is nothing good that comes from allowing concealed weapons on campus.