Back to the Old West

By Carla Torres

In June 2015, the Texas legislature passed a bill allowing the open carry of weapons. This new law took effect on January 1, 2016. Texans with a concealed handgun license or permit will be allowed to openly carry a weapon in public.

Citizens carrying a firearm must also pass a background check and wear a visible retention holster.

In addition, students can carry concealed weapons in campus and buildings as of August 1, 2016 at public universities. The subject has been the focus of many news reports. It has been reported that Texas is the 8th state to allow students to carry guns on campus and the 45th state to allow to open carry weapon in public (Costa-Roberts, 2015).

Interestingly enough, both supporters and opponents of gun laws cite previous tragedies Virginia Tech in 2007, Sandy Hook elementary in 2012, Aurora Theater in 2012, Boston Marathon in 2013, Isla Vista in 2014, and Orlando shooting this past June, as their reasons to support or protest these new laws. Some believe guns on campus will only increase the risk of violence; on the other hand, some feel safer knowing that there is someone who can intervene in a dangerous situation.

This issue has been a hot topic on college campuses. Students at The University of Texas at Austin have been protesting concealed carry on their campus by carrying dildos. Two professors wanted to ban the open carry in the classroom but their request was denied, since the university cannot override state law.
However, open and concealed carry a business can prohibit guns on their premises with an approval sign. Other locations also ban guns; currently, guns are banned from court buildings, jails, and hospitals.Nevertheless, Texas has approved the new law and other states are fighting to continue passing open and concealed carry laws. There is no reason to ask ourselves that gun violence already exists.

Only time will tell if things get better or worse. Carrying a weapon is a serious responsibility and owners must understand the privilege they are being given. The state legislature has wanted to legalize open carry for years now, and perhaps this new beginning might, at the very least, help people feel more secure or more aware of their surroundings.


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