Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of campus carry at Texas public universities. It was also the first day of campus carry at community colleges in the state. That means that license holders aged 21 and up are allowed to carry concealed handguns at places like San Antonio College.
S.B. 11, the legislation that makes ‘campus carry’ possible, gives colleges and universities some leeway in regulating handguns. They can make changes based on the nature of their student population and campus environment, and they can decide how handguns should be stored in dorms and other residential facilities.
The students at San Antonio College seem, for the most part, used to the reality of concealed carry in Texas.
Antonio Martinez is a second-year student at San Antonio College. He believes that campus carry hinges on the mindset of gun owners.
“It’s not all that much of a danger as long as the respective gun owners are, well.. responsible.”
Martinez says he’s used to a certain level of risk. But he doesn’t carry a gun.
“For me, I lived on the west side of San Antonio and safety’s always been a top priority for me. If you see in the back of me, there’s a bike. And I always ride that everywhere I go, even at night," Martinez says. "I know that there are people who could very well put my life in danger. I’ve already come across that myself several times.”
Elisabeth-Anne Ruiz says campus carry hasn’t made her feel any less safe, in part because of Texas’ standards for issuing concealed carry licenses.
“Although I do consider myself an American progressive, I fully believe in the second amendment. I feel like, because of the concealed carry laws that are already in effect in Texas, you are generally around people who have weapons at any given time. At any given time! And they have been found eligible to have them.”
Jonah Asvestas, on the other hand, feels that the state’s requirements for concealed carry are too lax.
“I think it’s already too easy to get or to have a gun. You just have to take a test. It’s.. anyone on pills can get a gun. Anyone on antidepressants. It makes me unsafe.”
Asvestas thinks that the presence of handguns might change the atmosphere on campus.
“It just makes you not want to mess with people, just ‘cause anyone could be carrying.”