Survey shows campus carry conflict at Tarleton

By Christine Humphreys—

Special to Texan News

Additional reporting by Katie Armstrong, Phillip Mullen, Kaitlyn Shaw, Mark Smith, Rachel Tuggle and Renee Warner. The number of total respondents varies on each question, because not all people chose to answer every question.

Slightly more than half of the respondents in a poll of more than a thousand people who work, study or teach at Tarleton State University say they would feel safer if people were allowed to carry concealed firearms on campus.

Of the 1,076 people who responded, 57 percent said that they would trust their peers with a concealed weapon on campus while 43 percent said that they would not.

The poll was conducted using Survey Monkey online between Nov. 3 and Nov. 17 and was sent to about 14,000 students, faculty, staff and other workers on campus. The survey had a response rate of about seven percent.

A little over 42 percent said they would carry their weapon on campus while the other 40 percent said they would not. The remaining 18 percent said that the question did not apply to them.

One respondent said, “More [safe]. My reason for carrying on campus isn’t actually because I feel unsafe on campus. I feel unsafe while walking home from class, after I leave.”

Another also said, “I do not trust my students to have guns. Research shows that young adults are more likely to develop mental disabilities when they are living away from home for the first time and have additional pressure from being a student.”

The campus carry law was passed by the Texas Legislature, approved by the State Senate and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott early June of 2015. It takes effect to Tarleton’s campus on Aug. 1, 2016. While public universities cannot opt out of the carry law, private universities can. Texas Christian University just recently opted out of the law early November.

“I believe campus carry would make any campus more safe. In fact, I would feel better if more people carried a concealed handgun rather than no one be allowed to at all,” one respondent said.

Another respondent said, “It would make it less safe. The student age group are notoriously hormonally and emotionally driven and are not always prone to making the best decisions or thinking through the appropriate course of action.”

Of the 1,089 people who responded to the question about whether they had a CHL, 24 percent said yes while 76 percent said no.

Respondents who had CHL’s were closely divided about whether they would carry a handgun to campus when the new law takes effect. Of the 927 people who answered the question about whether they would carry a gun to campus, 42 percent said they would while 40 percent said they would not. The remaining 18 percent of respondents said that the question did not apply to them.

One respondent said opponents of the new campus carry policy are primarily motivated by fear and that this law “is long overdue. The pushback against the infringement must continue. Finally, the only objection is based either in fear, the feeling your question seeks to invoke, or the rejection of the free society the founders clearly constructed. By the way, whether I have a CHL and whether I intend to carry is none of TSU’s concern, but thanks for asking.”

Below are all the written responses to question No. 5 in the survey that states, “How do you feel that having concealed handguns on campus would make Tarleton more or less safe?”

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Below are all the responses from questions 1-6 in the survey.

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