Dear Mr. Dennis McCuistion,
In June 2015, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 11, effective in August 2016, allowing those with Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs) to openly carry guns onto all public university campuses in Texas. You contributed to a pro-con article in the Dallas Morning News stating that CHL holders should be able to carry their weapons onto university campuses in order to prevent mass shootings. However, you fail to explain how guns will keep students safe in the event of a mass shooting–other than hoping more guns will scare the shooter away. This fear factor won’t do its job; it won’t save human lives. The only way to eradicate this problem is to destroy the source: guns on campus.
In your article, you say that shooters won’t come on campus because of the fear that others will be carrying guns. In a study done by David Lester in 2010, Lester stated that 34.7% of mass murders end in suicide. Using the data from 2016, when there were 385 mass shootings, theoretically 134 shootings would’ve ended in suicide. That is 134 shooters that wouldn’t care if others are carrying guns, which wouldn’t keep them off campus. A fear factor still isn’t enough to keep the rest of the 251 shooters off campus. A person who plans to mass murder many people understands that death is a risk–whether civilians have guns or not.
A gun is also one of the easiest ways to kill someone both mentally and physically. An article in the Huffington Post rightly states, “‘Guns don’t kill people, they enable people to kill people,’” meaning someone is more likely to kill a person when they have a gun because it’s easy–it takes much less physical and mental energy and is much less intimate than most other ways people are killed. And it takes less than a full second. The fact that anyone is able to carry a gun on university campuses, a horror movie come-to-life that is unbelievably occurring in the state of Texas, is not only frightening but ridiculous as well. According to the anti-campus carry segment of the article you contributed to, the probability that a civilian would be able to stop an angry shooter is slim. And that was coming from a former soldier.
Mass shootings aren’t the only way guns kill people, though that seems to be the only topic we’re worried about at the moment. In your article, you wrote a paragraph dedicated to statistics about deaths from firearms. 33,878 people had died from firearms in 2013 and 505 of them were accidents. Based on the 2015 fall enrollment of the University of Texas, roughly 4,000 people of the 50,000 people attending are above 21 and are legally able to carry a gun; 24,000 if you include graduate students and faculty. Can you imagine 4,000 21-year-olds running around the University of Texas with guns? If 505 people died due to accidents in 2013, imagine how many more have and will die since college students have been allowed weapons.
As someone who will soon venture off to college, I would be nervous–no, terrified–if I noticed someone was carrying a gun on my school campus. Instead of being relieved that this stranger might come to my rescue if a shooter decides to attack my school, I would feel completely unsafe. An automatic warning light would go off in my head and the numbers 9-1-1 would crawl into my brain. How am I supposed to tell the difference between someone with a CHL and someone who is about to shoot up my school? How are the police supposed to tell the difference when two people have guns pointed at each other? I have tried, but still don’t understand how anyone who has only taken a mere 75 dollar, 4-hour CHL class is legally qualified to carry a weapon onto a school campus.
To conclude, from what I have learned from statistics and articles about mass shootings, having the ability to carry guns onto college campuses isn’t helping the cause, it’s only hurting it. Guns are extremely dangerous and much too accessible. We have to remember that we are all fighting for the same cause, but we must come to the agreement that with fewer guns, the less likely an innocent human being is going to get injured or killed.
Thank you for your time.
“Facts & Figures.” The University of Texas at Austin, 4 Apr. 2016, http://www.utexas.edu/about/facts-and-figures. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.
“FAQs.” Texas Concealed Handgun License Training, http://www.chlcourse.com/software/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=69&Itemid=64. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.
Henigan, Dennis. “Guns Make Killing Easy.” The Huffington Post, 2 June 2016. The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dennis-a-henigan/guns-make-killing-easy_b_10267512.html. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.
Lester, David. Suicide in Mass Murderers and Serial Killers. SOL, 3 Mar. 2010. Suicidology Online, http://www.suicidology-online.com/pdf/SOL-2010-1-19-27.pdf. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.
McCuistion, Dennis, and Edwin Dorn. “Pro-con: Should College Campuses Restrict Concealed Weapons?” Dallas Morning News, 23 Oct. 2015. Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2015/10/23/pro-con-should-college-campuses-restrict-concealed-weapons. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.
“Past Summary Ledgers.” Gun Violence Archive, http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/past-tolls. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017.
Texas, Legislature, Senate. A Bill to Be Entitled: An Act. 2015. Texas Legislature Online, http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/billtext/pdf/SB00011I.pdf. Accessed 28 Mar. 2017. 11th Legislature.