Due to recurring attacks on UT’s campus, I have become concerned about people’s overall safety while on campus. So I come to the community to push for the legalization of handgun carry on our campus.
When I interviewed people around campus and off campus, they seemed to recognize the dangers of campus life and armed robbery. One person who asked not to be identified said, “UT police need to put their big girl panties on and hire more officers.” Then he went on to support the idea of handguns on campus.
As I was interviewing people, 55 percent of them were for handguns on school property, but the person had to have a handgun carrying permit. Another lady who also wanted to be unnamed went on to say, “I want people to carry, but the gun safety course is a must. My sons went through the course and it gave them a new-found respect for firearms.”
Then there was the other 45 percent that I interviewed who very bluntly said they were against handguns on campus. Yet, as I talked to them, I began to realize that they were lacking in things to back up why they felt so strongly about handguns on school property. There was another guy who actually got really offended and actually only said, “Guns should never be part of school.”
This close-minded way of thinking towards guns on the school campus leaves students unable to defend themselves if they felt the need or desire to carry. The idea of this letter is to invoke a change of mindset and to get people to question why they fear guns.
It’s not the guns that are dangerous; it’s the person holding it. With a handgun carrying permit, this is addressed by teaching the gun owner the proper respect needed to handle a gun in a public setting. Along with this training, they do a 90-day federal background check on that person’s history, checking for mental illness or crimes.
My handgun carrying permit instructor pointed out something very eye-catching and that is the fact that a person is less likely to go to a place where he knows someone else has a gun. By not being able to carry on the campus with a permit, the campus then becomes a prime place to attack someone, because those people who are going to do the crime obviously do not follow the campus guidelines for guns.
So I would just like to ask people who read this to question why they are for or against guns on campus and to ask themselves how they would feel if their friend or family member had a permit and couldn’t carry and then got robbed, shot or killed.
Johnathan Haley Lynch
Sophomore in finance