Texas is supposed to be one of the hubs of freedom in the nation, an example for the rest of the United States — yet discrepancies make it difficult for certain adults to lawfully defend themselves. In Texas, citizens are unable to get their license to carry a handgun until they fulfill several onerous state requirements; first and foremost, being 21 years of age.

In Texas, an 18-year-old is able to own and purchase a long gun. While you have to be 21 to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer, it is legal to buy from a private seller or be gifted one as long as the individual is over 18 years of age. If it is legal for someone 18 and older to own a long gun/handgun, why is there such a discrepancy between the age to own and the LTC age?

From a young age, children are taught they must be vigilant to ensure their safety: look both ways before crossing the street, “feet on the floor” or you might fall, and the age-old “stranger danger.”

As they grow up, this responsibility continues to expand. Children become adults and, eventually, they’re on their own college campus. From day one, students — especially women — are made aware of the resources universities provide to keep them safe, as well as defensive items they should have with them for those “just in case” moments: pepper spray, rape whistles, even knives.

If that’s the case, why is there a class of adults who aren’t allowed to carry one of the essential tools that allow them to defend themselves?

Passing campus carry has been a step in the right direction for Texas college students. However, in order to carry on campus, an LTC is required. This leaves a large portion of adults in Texas, those over 18 years of age but under 21, unable to fully exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Most college students aren’t able to get their LTC until their junior year. That means the majority will go through five full semesters — over two — with limited options to defend themselves. This means an average-aged college freshman may not have adequate protection during the most vulnerable time in their college career — when their surroundings are unfamiliar.

Texas needs to do better. Instead of making it complicated for a large pool of adults to protect themselves, we need to uphold the principles that we are known for. Our right to bear arms exists for a reason, and it is imperative that adults are able to fully exercise this right.

This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to the Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to submission@empowertexans.com.

Keeley Dorman

Keeley Dorman is a Sophomore at Texas State University in San Marcos studying Political Science. She is an active member and leader in the Conservative movement at Texas State, holding positions in both Young Conservatives of Texas and Turning Point USA. Keeley served as an Intern/ Legislative Aide in the Texas House during the 85th Legislative session and interned with a conservative political consulting firm before the Primaries. Keeley enjoys camping, road trips and hiking with her dog, Sully.