A Texas court fight is highlighting the issue of whether people ages 18-20 should be able to carry concealed weapons in public.
Specifically, the practical question is: Should college students under 21 be able to pack guns on campus? Campus gun-toting in general is a long-running controversy. It has been brought into renewed focus this year after a shooting at the University of Texas.
Texas and 35 other states require concealed-carry permit holders to be at least 21, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The National Rifle Association has filed suit seeking to overturn the prohibition in Texas. The Brady group is going to court trying to preserve the law.
Utah has a reputation for being among the country’s most liberal regulators of concealed weapons. In fact, the NRA side holds up Utah’s allowance of concealed weapons on campuses as a model for the nation. But on the age limit, Utah is on par with Texas: No concealed carry until 21.
If the NRA prevails in its Texas suit, odds are that Utah would be one of the next battlegrounds for extending concealed carry to our 18-year-olds.
I’m eternally torn on gun issues. The campus furor hits home, because I have two children at Weber State. The Ogden university had a shooting in 1994 in which a student opened fire in a classroom. The student was shot to death by a university police officer.
It was fortunate the officer was there and acted heroically to stop the shooter. It’s also interesting to wonder how that case may have ended up if an officer had not been nearby and, instead, two or three concealed-carry students had drawn their weapons and fired at the shooter.
Would the students have coolly planted shooting-range target groups in the assailant’s heart? Probably not. How many shots might have gone wide, possibly wounding bystanders? We’ll never know.
If my kids were in that room, I’d be praying that the hero cop would show up to kill the crazy guy. But if no cops were around and self-defense pistoleers were the only other option? I’d want them to act. And I’d pray they were good shots and there would be no friendly-fire tragedies.