Article by Alexa
Photo Courtesy of Occasional Planet
The controversy over gun restrictions in the United States just had a curveball thrown at it: On Aug. 1, Texas passed a law allowing firearms in the classrooms. This decision comes on the cusp of national debate over the safety of students in our public institutions.
Since 2013, there have been 197 firearms shot in schools across the nation, with results ranging from property destruction to death.
School districts throughout the U.S. are subtly implementing this new law, as fear for child safety rises. The independent school district of Medina, TX has placed a sign in front of their schools that says:
“Attention: Please be aware that the staff at Medina ISD may be armed and will use whatever force necessary to protect our students.” The community around the area supports the new arms in classrooms and feels that the children are safer at school with this new level
Other reactions are not quite as positive, however. As students started classes at the University of Texas at Austin, a movement began to protest firearms in the classrooms. The protest is called “Cocks not Glocks” and involves students handing out a variety of sex toys across campus, primarily dildos. The inspiration for this movement came from students who realized there was a law against publically displaying sex toys on campus and yet it is now entirely legal to have a weapon. Student Rosie Zander told the Washington
“If you’re uncomfortable with my dildo, you can imagine how uncomfortable I am with your gun.” The campaign started on the campus in the location where Charles Whitman opened fire in a shooting spree on campus in 1966.
Roanoke College students have mixed reactions to this new law in Texas. The school is nowhere near implementing something as drastic as the districts in Texas, however, students cannot help but wonder what that type of environment would be like at their very own institution.
“Overall, I think it’s a bad idea, whether it’s open or closed carry,” said senior Cassandra Balosos. “A college campus is very unstable. You have kids under the influence at all hours of the day. If this were to happen on our campus I would feel very unsafe and so would my parents.”
While it doesn’t look as if the situation that is occurring in Texas will come to Virginia anytime soon, it is making students think about what the future holds for our public institutions of learning. In 2004 Utah was the first state to allow firearms on campus and now there are nine states in total that have followed suit.
These laws are appearing more and more often not because of public demand, but instead due to the growing pressure on politicians from the National Rifle Association (NRA) to create looser gun laws. The NRA claims that schools without access to firearms will attract more violent people and that stricter gun laws would put American lives at an even greater list, especially the nation’s students.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, the nation has seen a steep rise in school shootings. This leaves our students in a state of fear and discomfort that twenty or thirty years ago would not have been associated with education. Our institutions are no longer able to create the feeling of a safe environment but some schools feel as if falling to firearms in the classroom is a drastic solution.
The University of Texas recently experienced active shooters on campus as a result of this law. However, the university estimates that only about one percent of the student body carries concealed firearms on campus which means that approximately 500 students on campus have a gun on them at any given moment. This law was implemented to help create a sense of security but instead seems to be causing more unease in an already difficult situation.