Editorial: Concealed Carry of Guns on Campus

Cartoon by Dionna Moore

By Anna Martino, Copy Editor —

In 2016, UTC enacted a law permitting full-time employees with a proper handgun permit and an approved notice of intent to carry a concealed handgun on the university’s property, with a few exceptions to this which can be found on UTC’s website.

The SGA Spring 2018 Special Referendum was used to take a poll of students’ opinions on whether or not to add a law enabling students (who are over the age of 21 and with a valid gun permit) to carry concealed weapons on campus as well. Although the results of this pole are used to pass recommendations to UTC’s administration and not be implemented immediately based off the student consensus, the staff of the Echo has a few thoughts about this new law even being considered upon taking into consideration the recent shootings across the country.

The overarching theme of the responses to this topic was an evoked sense of tension, fear and anxiousness if students were allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus. It was recognized that carrying guns does allow those carrying to have a sense of protection, but one member on the staff noted that one good person with a gun cannot always stop a shooter and that several people were armed during the Vegas shooting.

Most of the staff commented that with an increased number of guns on campus, there could also be an increased likelihood of an accident. It was agreed on by many that they do not feel comfortable with even professors being armed after the incident in Dalton—commenting that guns should not be able to be carried on campus at all, excluding the campus police.

In light of the recent school shootings, many members of staff agreed that teaching differs greatly than other professions who operate guns, while one individual on staff provided the argument the professors should be able to carry, in order to have the opportunity to protect their students and save lives if there was an active shooter on campus.

One solution provided for allowing the concealment of guns on UTC’s campus included requiring everyone (full-time employees and students) with a valid gun permit to complete a gun and safety training that would then authorize them to carry on campus.

Regardless of what law is passed, the threat of an active gunman will remain. However, if the decision is made for SGA to advocate for this new law allowing qualified to carry concealed weapons on campus, the results would be very mixed with part of the campus being very happy, but the ones that are unhappy are likely to be extremely vocal in their disagreement.

Overall, we see the validity in both sides regarding carrying a concealed weapon on campus, however, the law that is already established and the potential new law could decrease the feelings of safety and security on campus—except among those who own a gun and chose to conceal and carry. For as sensitive as a topic as this, though, the whole student population should be considered before SGA forms an opinion on which side to take because many students will choose not to participate in a survey sent via email.


Haley Doss

Haley Doss

Opinion Editor

I am a senior studying communications with a minor in political science. I love college, talking about politics and long walks around Target.

  1. An evil person that is intent on doing harm can already carry concealed on campus without your permission. All you are debating is whether you want to depend on the police to protect you or you want your self/coworker/fellow student to protect you in the event that the evil person takes evil actions. Eligible faculty and staff can and do already carry on campus with few issues so far. Granted, an unavoidable fact is that more guns increases the risk of an accident involving a gun just as more cars driving around UTC raises the possibility of a pedestrian getting hit with similar consequences (and both being quite avoidable).

    This article talks A LOT about “feelings” as a form of evidence toward the right solution. Let’s use our logic and judgement instead of what makes us “feel uncomfortable” as I can assure you that I am uncomfortable with more cars being driven around by individuals that are a lot younger than the age 21 requirement for concealed carrying.

  2. I think this is one of the more even-handed editorials I’ve read on the Echo, and I appreciate that. I am grateful that those at the Echo considered both sides. Thank you.

    I am in favor of allowing legal carry on campus. I currently live in Texas, and this law has existed here for a few years now. There have been no issues with it thus far. I understand that not all people are responsible with firearms, but I do believe (based on my personal experience) that those who choose to carry are very responsible and understand the weight of carrying a lethal weapon. It is a right that need come with great sobriety. Also, with the realization that you may actually have to use it. This is not for the faint of heart.

    Nevertheless, people are always safer when they are equipped to defend themselves. I always feel safer when I see people carrying. Many may feel intimidated by the presence of a gun, but I think this is almost entirely due to misinformation or a lack of understanding of gun operation. Something many fail to mention or do not know is that to obtain a concealed carry license you must go through safety training. Something to think about.

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