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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Editorial: Shooting raises alarm, disarm campuses

 
 

Reports out of Austin regarding the shooting on the University of Texas campus raise significant alarm for campuses nationwide — especially in Texas.
In Texas we are adamant about gun rights and small government, but this comes at a cost. UT students would have paid this cataclysmic cost Tuesday morning if they were the targets of a sophomore math major armed with an AK-47 inside the campus library.
Colton Tooley, 19, fired a series of shots outside the library, before shooting inside and ultimately killing himself on the sixth floor. The most shocking part of the matter is, according to the National Rifle Association’s website and state law, Tooley did not violate any state laws until he discharged his weapon.
That’s right, calmly carrying a loaded assault rifle on a crowded college campus does not violate state law, until the weapon enters a campus building, fires in public or is “displayed in a manner calculated to alarm.”
Texas gun laws do not restrict where any firearm can be carried outside of buildings other than machine guns and handguns. Allowing rifles and shotguns on high school and college campuses and other venues that continually house large crowds is simply too much of a risk.
Yes, it is important to preserve personal rights, and law-abiding citizens should be able to defend themselves. However, this incident alone is a prime example of the risks associated with permitting the purchase, possession and carrying of rifles and shotguns with little to no restraint.
The balance of rewards simply does not come close to outweighing the risks. With a modern military grade weapon, such as Tooley’s Kalashnikov, he could have easily slain dozens in a matter of seconds.
A&M shouldn’t have to supersede state law to protect its students. Texas needs to join A&M and make it outright illegal to have firearms on any campus. There should be no question that an armed civilian on a college campus presents a danger and significant risk that needs to be addressed.
Violence should be prevented by the proper authorities, not armed, private citizens who can actually perpetuate the danger. It is far too easy for a real gunman to blend in and escape or continue their rampage and take advantage of vigilantes who are prone to mistakes and can make matters worse.
If we don’t do something, shooters like Tooley toting assault rifles around campuses will go unchecked, and someday, somewhere, the scale will tip again – and it will be devastating.
No campus is invulnerable, including ours.

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