In 2015, a Gallup poll claimed 56 percent of Americans would feel safer if more people (who had cleared a criminal background check) carried concealed carry firearms. In 2005, only one out of every four Americans agreed with this statement.
Over the years, more and more legislators have questioned whether gun laws should be tightened to counteract campus shootings.
Nationally, there has been an upswing in pro-gun policies. One of the most controversial cases is in Texas, where legislation now allows concealed firearms on four-year college campuses. The Texas law states that individuals who have a concealed handgun license may carry loaded firearms in some campus buildings.
Certain campus areas and buildings may be deemed sensitive by administration and continue to prohibit concealed carry. A similar law for two-year campuses will go into effect this August.
Eight states now allow concealed carry on public postsecondary college campuses. These eight are Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, Oregon, Wisconsin and Utah.
Not all these states’ gun laws are the same. In Wisconsin, no public college campuses allow firearms to be carried in campus buildings, and no private universities allow them anywhere on campus grounds.
In 2016, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, let a bill pass that would allow public university teachers to carry concealed firearms, granted they had the correct training and permits.
“I have long stated a preference for systems and institutions to be able to make their own decisions regarding security issues on campus, and I again expressed this concern throughout the legislative process this year,” he stated at the time.
“Although SB 2376 does not go as far as I would like in retaining campus control, the final version of the bill included input from higher education and was shaped to accommodate some of their concerns.”
Oklahoma legislation is among the strictest in the nation. The law states that no person in possession of a gun license may carry a firearm into or on to any university, college or technology center school property. Licensed owners must leave their guns in a lawful location or in a locked car, if necessary. Nine other states have similar legislation. Serious criminal charges await anyone who breaks these laws.
In response to questions regarding firearm safety on the University of Tulsa campus, director of Campus Security Joe Timmons said “it is rare to find someone in possession of firearms on campus. In the past two years, there have been two criminal arrests for this offense. Both were non-students. Also, four students were referred for student conduct/housing violations for having a firearm in their on-campus residences.”
He also said that there has been no pressure or movement to allow conceal carry firearms on the TU campus, by students, teachers or otherwise.