11 Mar, 2016

ammunition stores and minal’s project…

Sehba Sarwar
11 Mar, 2016

An ammunition store in Houston’s Oak Forest neighborhood

Since I’ve been back in Houston, Minal and three of her classmates have been working on an International Baccalaureate (IB) project called Guns Be Gone. The project is in response to a recently-passed Texas law that allows individuals to openly carry weapons in public spaces. The “open-carry” law was discussed in Houston’s independent School District, and weapons can now be carried into school parking lots right up to building entrances. Further, starting August 1, 2016, public universities will be required to allow “concealed carry” on their campuses.

While our family hasn’t seen any change in Houston’s public landscape since open-carry went into effect, we have certainly seen many signs in restaurants, shops and museums forbidding weapons on their premises (see below).

Sehba SarwarIn response to these new laws, Minal and her classmates visited the University of Houston campus for their IB project, where they interviewed faculty and staff members and passed out surveys; they also conducted surveys at their school.

Last week, alongside their fifth grade classmates, they presented their findings at a formal school presentation. Majority of the people they surveyed were opposed to “open-carry” as well as “concealed-carry” (phrases I’d never heard till this year), but according to their findings, university students were largely in support of weapons – both concealed and open.

After watching Minal’s team and other groups in action, I pondered over how – though I grew up in a politicized family – I was in college before I studied contemporary issues with the kind of focus and consciousness that Minal and her classmates displayed.

Sehba Sarwar
A scene from Karachi’s Zamzama Street – one not too different from ammunition stores visible around Texas

11 Mar 2016 · 12:12:30 PM