Singer songwriter Ray LaMontagne has cancelled an appearance at the University of Texas, Austin, in protest of the state-wide campus concealed carry handgun law. Signed by the state’s governor in June, the law permits people aged 21 and older with the proper licensure to conceal carry handguns on college campuses throughout the state.
Many find it ironic that the bill became law on the 50th anniversary of a mass murder in which 50 students died on a Texas University campus, while others, who support the bill, believe it will make campuses safer places in the long run.
LaMontagne is very much against the law, but the law has strong support in Texas. According to LaMontagne, America doesn’t need any more guns. And many echo his sentiments, despite the majority view, including some officials in Texas government. Nonetheless, despite strong minority sentiment, many in Texas feel that the better access to guns will save lives. They believe it’s the best way to stop gun violence on campuses and other places. By encouraging law-abiding citizens to arm themselves, they believe that mass murderers and terrorists will be met with violent opposition before they have the opportunity to inflict mass casualties.
Alternatively, realists point out that the chances of young students getting into serious trouble with guns is quite high, and a much greater threat than the potential threat of mass murder. Young, hot-tempered college students, who haven’t quite completed their emotional development, often immersed in the atmosphere of heavy drinking found on many college campuses, would be at greater risk for crimes of passion, and suicide attempts, with guns easily accessible and permitted at Universities.
For better or worse Texas Universities have become a laboratory for the safety of University students, faculty and staff, across the state. Will the conceal carry law that LaMontagne protests afford the universities some measure of protection against violent criminals, or merely increase safety risks? What ever your heart felt opinion, at least there will be hard data to analyze in the coming years. And when those numbers are in, we must analyze them properly, and act without hesitation in the best interests of the people.