To say that university faculty members in Texas are “concerned” about a new state law allowing permit holders to carry concealed weapons on college campuses would be an understatement. Many private universities are opting out of the law. At the University of Texas, online commenters expressed fear about handgun carriers “going on rampages.”
And as Time reported, one professor suggested at a meeting of the Texas Council of Faculty Senates that professors change their curricula to avoid being shot:
One slide of [his] presentation stated that professors might want to “be careful discussing sensitive topics,” “drop certain topics from your curriculum,” “not ‘go there’ if you sense anger” and “limit student access off hours.”
Amid all the clamor, it was refreshing to see one professor, Erik Gilbert of Arkansas State University, share a more reasoned approach in the Chronicle of Higher Education today. Gilbert’s article, entitled “Stop Worrying About Guns in the Classroom. They’re Already Here.” argues that the new law will have very little effect on campuses. He explains:
Given these incidents and what I know about the prevailing regional attitudes toward guns, I have to assume that significant numbers of students, and possibly faculty, bring guns on campus regularly. Some of these probably do so intentionally, having calculated that the perceived benefit of having a firearm available should they need it outweighs the very small risk of being caught with an illegal gun.
It’s nice to see a reasoned argument on what has been a very controversial topic. The article is available here.