Prospect of Allowing Concealed Weapons on College Campuses Makes Students Uncomfortable

As the Texas Legislature considers a bill allowing college students and staff the right to carry concealed weapons on campus, a new report from SHSU suggests many students are uncomfortable with the prospect of allowing concealed weapons on campus.

The research, which consisted of surveying students from Texas and Washington, concluded student opinion was against a policy change which would allow for concealed weapons to be carried within college facilities. In light of the shootings at Virginia Tech, Northen Illinois University and the University of Texas, the results are hardly surprising.

College students surveyed on guns on campus
Research includes Texas and Washington universities

Students from two university campuses in Texas and Washington recently were surveyed on allowing concealed handguns on campus.

According to research led by Dr. Jeffrey Bouffard at Sam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice, more students were uncomfortable with concealed weapons on campus than those at ease with guns on college grounds. The study will be presented at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Meeting in Toronto this month.

“To date, little effort has been made to assess students’ opinions about whether concealed handgun carrying should be allowed on college and university campuses,” according to the study. “While the current study examines only two universities (albeit in different parts of the country), the results are strikingly similar in that college student opinion seems to be against a policy change that would allow the carrying of concealed weapons on campus.”

The Texas Legislature is considering a bill to allow college students and employees to carry concealed weapons on college campuses in the state, except during collegiate sporting events. Senate Bill 354, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, is before the Senate and would apply to all public colleges and universities in Texas, but private institutions would be able to opt out after consulting with its students, staff, and faculty.

Under current Texas law, it is a felony to go on the premises of schools or educational institutions with a weapon.

Guns on campus are part of a national debate on the issue in several states, including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington, following shootings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University and, most recently, the University of Texas.

The SHSU research, which also was conducted by Dr. Matt Nobles and William Wells as well as Ph.D. student Michael Cavanaugh, included a representative sample of 1,317 students at Sam Houston State University and 375 students at a Washington university. The students responded to opinion items using a 0 to 100 scale, with 0 indicating not comfortable. Among the key findings were:

Texas

  • The average student reported a 39 percent comfort level with the idea of concealed weapons on the campus. (0% = Not Comfortable at All; 100% = Very Comfortable)
  • 23 percent of students indicated they were “not comfortable at all” with the idea.
  • 10 percent of students reported they were “very comfortable” with allowing concealed handguns on campus.

Washington

  • The average student reported a 33 percent comfort level with the idea of concealed weapons on the campus. (0% = Not Comfortable at All; 100% = Very Comfortable)
  • 27 percent of students were “not comfortable at all” with concealed weapons on campus.
  • 8 percent of students said they were “very comfortable” with guns on campus.

According to the research, the Texas sample of students were more comfortable with concealed weapons in the community, with the average reported comfort level at 49 percent on a 100 point scale, compared to 39 percent on campus.

“It also appears from a comparison of opinions related to guns on campus versus opinions about concealed handguns in the wider community that these students perceived the university as a unique setting, in that they were notably less comfortable with the idea of allowing concealed handguns in that setting than in the community at large,” the study found.

Contact: Beth Kuhles
Source: Sam Houston State University

Prospect of law change to allow concealed weapons on college campuses makes students uncomfortable.

Prospect of law change to allow concealed weapons on college campuses makes students uncomfortable. Image: travelling.steve, Flickr

2 Responses to Prospect of Allowing Concealed Weapons on College Campuses Makes Students Uncomfortable

  1. someothername March 3, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Statistics are like bikinis, they hide more important things than they reveal.

    Motor Vehicle crimes have steadily increased on all campuses.
    Current policy requires that Licensees can carry their gun all over Campus, but must store it in their car while in a class or Library or building.

    It is 100% more likely that my car would be broken into and my gun stolen, than someone reaching into my pants inside a classroom to steal a concealed gun they didn’t even know was there which is safely holstered and retained by a reinforced belt. (Sadly, I can’t even remember the last time anyone in a classroom reached into my pants to try to grab anything concealed in there)
    Current policy gives criminals easier access to guns.

    “It also appears from a comparison of opinions related to guns on campus versus opinions about concealed handguns in the wider community that these students perceived the university as a unique setting”

    It is a unique setting. EVERY mass shooting in Texas occurred in a “gun-free” zone. There are very FEW “gun-free zones” any more, so it is unique.

    On FRIDAY the 13th, of April 2007, everyone vat Virginia Tech “FELT SAFE” in a gun-free zone. Monday the 16th was another story, so they kept the system which failed them. That doesn’t make sense.

    Emotional tactics used by the Brady campaign still shouldn’t be used to deprive a girl the right to defend herself walking to her car at night and being kidnapped or raped, or carjacked, occurrences which aren’t as rare as mass shootings, and occurred on Texas campuses within the last two weeks.

    If you want to “feel” safe, wear a rabbit’s foot. If you want to “be” safe, wear a .45

    “Under current Texas law, it is a felony to go on the premises of schools or educational institutions with a weapon”

    Sec. 46.035
    f) In this section:
    (3) “Premises” means a building or a portion of a building. The term does not include any public or private driveway, street, sidewalk or walkway, parking lot, parking garage, or other parking area.

    Guns are allowed on Campuses already and always have been. It’s only inside the buildings that they are prohibited.

    Campus Police officer point of view:

    Licensees can be armed in city libraries, but on campus we prefer to create a situation of giving easy access to guns to criminals? That doesn’t make sense.

    If you were a campus police officer on a call to a burglary of a vehicle in progress, would you prefer to walk up to a burglar holding a bunch of CDs and an I-Pad, or holding a gun a Licensee had to store in his car while he runs into the library?

    Let the Licensee who carries daily in a secured concealed holster keep his or her weapon secured and concealed, not in a car for a criminal to take.

    Passing the campus carry bills will aid in keeping guns out of the wrong (criminals’) hands.

    Now, licensees can carry their concealed gun all over campus except into the library or classrooms, so they have to store them in cars which get burglarized when they are going into a building.

    I can’t even recall the last time anyone reached into my pants in a classroom. However I have had my car broken into and contents stolen,

    Vehicle burglaries are on the rise at all campuses, this is where you currently have to store your gun, allowing easier access to criminals. Criminals who will use your gun to commit other crimes. 70% of gun crimes are committed with stolen guns.

    This bill needs to pass, it’s just common sense.

  2. clinicallypsych March 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for your input Someothername. You make some great points to consider. Being in Texas, I hope to hear a lot of opinions on this bill being discussed here.

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