Campus Carry is Scary but Not Dangerous

I get that, to many of my fellow Longhorns, Texas's new campus carry law is scary. Most UT
students can't even buy a handgun, much less carry one. For those who were lucky enough to grow up
in safe neighborhoods, their main exposure to guns was probably Michael Bay films or firing .22 rifles at
summer camp. Those who grew up in less-safe neighborhoods may harbor even less-positive
associations with firearms. When students hear that some of their peers will soon be allowed to carry
guns on campus, they foresee a never-ending cavalcade of assaults, accidents, suicides, and threats.
However, based on all available evidence, those predictions are wrong.
Currently, more than 150 U.S. college campuses allow the licensed concealed carry of handguns
(no, Oregon's Umpqua Community College isn't one of them). After allowing campus carry for a
combined total of more than 1,500 semesters (an average of more than five years), not one of those
colleges has seen a single resulting assault, suicide attempt, or fatal accident. Campus carry hasn't led to
even a weapon being brandished in anger, much less a death.
For the better part of two decades, Texas law has allowed licensed concealed carry in locations
such as movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, restaurants, grocery stores, banks, public museums,
public libraries, and even the Texas Capitol. Concealed carry is already allowed in the parking garages
and public outdoor areas of campus, and, since 2013, Texas colleges have been required to let licensed
students, faculty, and staff keep handguns in locked cars parked on campus. After nearly twenty years,
Texas still hasn't devolved into a bloody, lawless wasteland.
You likely never think about concealed carry when you're shopping on The Drag or getting
dinner in West Campus, even though license holders are allowed to carry guns there. You have no
reason to think about it because the people legally carrying guns in those places pose virtually no threat
to you. Statistically, Texas concealed handgun license (CHL) holders commit violent crimes at

approximately 1/5 the rate of the general population. You're significantly more likely to be struck by
lightning than to be murdered or negligently killed by a CHL holder.
If you believe that gun owners need to compromise, you should embrace CHLs as the ultimate
compromise. In exchange for undergoing a licensing process that includes training, testing, and
extensive state (DPS) and federal (FBI) background/fingerprint checks, CHL holders are afforded the right
to carry guns in public. That's a true compromise--the kind in which both sides give a little and both
sides get a little.
There is a big difference between owning a gun and having a concealed handgun license.
Nobody can deny that gun violence is a major problem in America, but CHL holders aren't the source of
that problem. Protest the new law all you want, but understand that--as is currently the case in Utah,
Colorado, Mississippi, and Idaho--campus carry will be a total non-issue in the Lone Star State.

Allison Peregory, a pre-law junior, serves as UT-Austin campus leader for Students for Concealed
Carry.