Texas anti-gunners go full Chicken Little over campus carry

(Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

Campus carry has been the law of the land in the Lone Star State since 2016, and despite the prediction of opponents at the time, the measure has not led to a mass exodus of students and staff or classroom debates turning into shootouts. In fact, it’s really been a non-issue, but the gun control-loving editors at the Dallas Morning News are once again trotting out these stale talking points in the wake of a federal judge’s decision striking down the state’s ban on concealed carry for adults younger than 21; a decision that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton won’t appeal.


As a result, adults between the ages of 18 and 20 who possess a valid concealed carry license will soon be able to exercise their right to bear arms in self-defense on college and university campuses, and while the DMN notes that only about 100 under-21s have applied for their licenses, they see the sky is falling all over again.

Study after study continues to show declining mental health among college students. The American College Health Association reported in 2021 that nearly 3 in 4 students suffered from moderate or severe psychological distress.
That’s just one of the many reasons why a recent report by our newsroom colleague Allie Morris that the Texas Department of Public Safety has begun issuing licenses to publicly carry handguns to 18-to-20-year-olds is so alarming.
What a terrible combination — guns and depression.
Stopping young adults from protecting themselves against violent criminals in order to protect them from themselves isn’t the answer to dealing with the mental health crisis in this country, and there was nothing preventing under-21s from purchasing a firearm before U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman shot down the state’s prohibition on young adults bearing arms. There’s simply no evidence to suggest that allowing under-21s access to their right to bear arms, not just keep them, is going to increase suicides in that age group, despite the editors’ handwringing. But that’s not their only argument against young adults exercising their Second Amendment rights.
In addition to the declining mental health of college kids, let’s not forget the reality that people at this age haven’t fully developed their maturity. That’s to say nothing of the unique safety issues on college campuses.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University said in a 2016 study that “increasing gun availability in campus environments could make far more common acts of aggression, recklessness or self-harm more deadly.”
Their report, “Firearms on College Campuses: Research Evidence and Policy Implications,” noted that young adults, their brains still developing, often engage in risky behaviors like binge drinking and drug use. Such things “can compromise emotional and behavioral regulation, impulse control, and judgment — all of which are essential for avoiding the circumstances in which firearm access leads to tragedy,” the study said.
That’s a fancy way of saying guns, immaturity and frat parties don’t mix. Add to that the rising rates of depression, and we can’t imagine how this is good for Texas.
We support the Second Amendment and the right to well-regulated, responsible gun ownership. It’s a shame Texas officials refused to fight a dangerous court ruling, which cast out one of the few commonsense firearm restrictions remaining in the state.
You can’t support the Second Amendment if you can’t acknowledge what it actually says; the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That doesn’t mean “shall not be infringed unless you’re older than 21”. It doesn’t mean “shall not be infringed unless you belong to an age group we think is irresponsible or is prone to depression.”
Seven years ago we were told that campus carry was going to be the worst thing to happen to Texas since the Alamo fell, but none of the apocalyptic predictions from anti-gun activists have come to pass. I’m gonna go out on a limb and make a couple of predictions of my own. First, the under-21s who apply for and receive a concealed carry license are going to be just as responsible and law-abiding as their older counterparts, both on and off-campus. Second, the editors of the Dallas Morning News will never own up to the fact that the reality of campus carry doesn’t match their overheated rhetoric, even when it becomes readily apparent that their fearmongering has once again proven to be a fiction.

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