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Should handguns be allowed at schools?
February 21, 2011 - Jim Smith
There's a movement heading for a vote in the Texas Legislature to permit students and professors to carry handguns on campus.
Supporters of the bill cite the slayings in 2007 at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois in 2009 as justification to permit students and faculty the ability to defend themselves from armed assailants.
The Texas Senate passed such a bill in 2009 and the Texas House is expected to follow suit this time. The Texas governor, a Republican who sometimes carries a handgun while jogging, supports the bill.
Texas, one of the largest university systems in the nation with 38 public institutions and more than 500,000 students, would become the second state to permit concealed weapons on campus. Utah permits concealed carry on campus and Colorado leaves the decision to the individual college.
About a dozen other states have seen proposals to permit concealed carry on campuses, but opposition has prevented passage. In Oklahoma the presidents of all 25 public college opposed a campus concealed carry bill.
As the concealed carry law exists in West Virginia and Ohio, weapons are not permitted by civilians or non-sworn personnel on school grounds.
The argument comes down to whether one is safer having an armed concealed carry permit holder on school grounds or having it illegal for any civilian to have a weapon there. Do faculty and students feel safer knowing there could be an armed fellow student or teacher in the classroom or not?
Would an armed assailant think twice about entering a classroom to shoot students and teachers if he/she knew someone in the classroom might be armed and potentially able and willing to return fire? Do parents want their children to attend classes where other students and/or teachers could be armed? Do parents support the concept that armed students and/or teachers might be better able to protect their children in the classroom?
Like Texas, West Virginia society in general supports guns and the right to keep and bear arms. Would West Virginia consider permitting conceal carry permit holders to be armed on school campuses or should such a wide-ranging issue be put to the voters for their decision?
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