So far, no issues reported with controversial campus carry law

Published on October 13, 2016 in print and online at the North Texas Daily. Republished online in the Denton Record Chronicle.

 

Editor’s Note: Some sources in this story are anonymous due to the contentious nature of the campus carry law and for their own protection.

As midterms are approaching, students are in the thick of the semester. But this semester is not like previous ones.

Texas joined seven other states on Aug. 1 in allowing concealed handguns onto their university campuses. And despite the heated debate from faculty, staff and students on the campus carry policy, so far UNT seems pretty quiet.

A criminal justice graduate student received their license to carry in May and has been carrying a hand gun on campus since August.

“I guess the only difference now is that I now have peace of mind if something was to go awry,” the criminal justice student said.

Though the graduate student participates in campus carry, they would only pull out their gun as a last resort and would rely on verbal communication and stunning techniques first.

“Even if there was a situation where I needed to draw my weapon, I don’t keep a bullet in the chamber,” the student said. “So as a last defense mechanism, I would chamber my bullet so my aggressor understands the situation they’ve put themselves into.”

UNT chief of police Ed Reynolds said that the day-to-day operations of the university have not changed because of the law and so far there have not been any reported violations.

“We have not experienced any issues since the law became effective,” Reynolds said.

But this change has not been welcomed by all. Associate professor in the Mayborn School of Journalism, Tracy Everbach, a leading opponent of campus carry, thinks the law could keep students from sharing in classes because they’re intimidated. She even has a section in her class syllabus stating students should report if they see a classmate violating the law by not concealing their weapon.

“It’s not conducive to a learning environment,” Everbach said.

English professor Deborah Armintor has voiced similar opinions in the past over campus carry. Like Everbach, she changed her syllabus to oppose the law inside the classroom, something that garnered some controversy this summer.

Chair of the political science department Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha doesn’t see the added value in having campus carry at UNT.

“A good rule of thumb is the status quo should change if there is a problem,” Eshbaugh-Soha said. “I didn’t see a problem.”

Not all faculty share the same beliefs though. Other staff members have joined with students and begun bringing their handguns onto campus as well.

“I think it really hasn’t made any notable difference,” said a staff member in the political science department. “There’s a few states where it’s been in place for a while. I know some people who teach at these institutions and nothing has really changed for them they say.”

Though the professor was against campus carry at first because of the effects it could have in an educational environment, they so far have not seen hesitation on classroom discussions.

“Campus carry is something I opposed in principle but I can also see the reasons in favor,” the political science professor said. “So for those reasons, as long as it’s legal, I participate.”

 


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