[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Written by Tracy Fuller
Filmed by Wes Eng
Edited by Halie Davis
In August 2015, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 11, allowing individuals with a concealed handgun license to carry a handgun while on university campuses. ACC campuses have been mandated to implement this law, since the start of the 2017-2018 academic year.
This past October, the deadliest shooting in United States history took place in Las Vegas. A man carried 23 assault rifles to his room on the 32nd floor at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He began to open fire on an open crowd at a music festival. This lead to 58 deaths and over 500 injured.
One month later in Sutherland Springs, Texas there was another shooting incident. A man walked into a church service bearing a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle, taking the lives of 26 people and wounding 20. In response to this shooting Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “We are dealing with the largest mass shooting in our state’s history.”
In 2007, on the Virginia Tech campus, a 23-year-old college senior went on a massacre. This rampage began in the dormitories, leading him to the University. This is where he chained and locked all the main doors and continued to take the lives of others by storming room to room. The difference with this incident is that it occurred with a 9-millimeter handgun and a 22-caliber handgun, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The assault left 30 people dead and 17 injured. In all, 27 students and five staff members fell as a result of the actions of the shooter.
Many debate if having a Concealed Handgun License will cut down on these shootings.
“I am not comfortable around guns or with people that have guns,” says an anonymous student from the Riverside campus. “I do not know if that increases my safety in any measurable way. I feel if people go through the ropes to get [their CHL], I cannot judge them for that. It is a process, and most people are responsible with it.”
It may be too early to determine whether or not this law will play any role on ACC properties. Since the law passed in 2015, there is a lack of data showing whether firearm incidents and violent crimes have increased or decreased. However, according to a study done by DPS, those who have their License to Carry have a lower crime and conviction rate than those without one.
“I do not have a problem with trained personnel carrying a concealed handgun to protect themselves or the lives of someone else,” says student Rob Paul. “The problem is when you do not have the proper education, training, and the proper temperament. You become more of a liability. My personal opinion is that anyone carrying a handgun hoping to use, shouldn’t have it.”
ACC Police Chief Lynn Dixon suggests these tactics, if a situation ever arises:
Flee the area and avoid danger, if possible. Head to the closest, safest exit. If the armed subject is outside the building, move away from outside doors and windows. Call 911, to give them: the location and physical description of the shooter or armed individual, number of suspects and potential victims at the location, and number and type of weapons in the suspect(s) possession
Get behind a large heavy object or lock and barricade doors. Turn off all lights, get on the floor and out of the line of fire. For those who cannot get on the floor, create makeshift barricades to hide behind. Remain quiet and hidden. Silence your cell phone including the vibration setting.
Prepare to FIGHT.
Commit to a plan of action if the armed subject or active shooter enters your space. Be aggressive. Improvise weapons and create distractions. You have the legal right to defend yourself.
Remain in place until an official “ALL CLEAR” instruction is given from police authorities. Listen and comply with police commands.
More information on how to handle emergency situations can be found at austincc.edu/offices/emergency-management.
Pick this story up in the Spring 2018 Life4U magazine on campus.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/-nPw0gKC1gk”][/vc_column][/vc_row]