The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students sport holsters in campus protest

By Shelly Williams/editor-in-chief

After winning a federal court case against the college earlier this year, two students, Clayton Smith and John Schwertz Jr., joined others across TCC campuses in an empty gun holster protest last week.

TCC at first denied the students rights to hold the protest last year, but Smith and Schwertz filed a lawsuit last fall against the school, saying this violated their First Amendment rights.

A judge ruled in their favor, and now students are allowed to wear empty holsters anywhere on campuses, including classrooms and hallways.

“We’re pretty happy with it,” Smith said. “There are more members participating this year than last. Getting out there in November helped reach other prospective members.”

Vice chancellor of administration Bill Lace said students were allowed to protest, but that there were minimal restrictions set for the students.

“They may not, however, distribute literature in classrooms or adjacent hallways, although they may do so elsewhere as long as they do not disrupt the functioning of the college,” he said.

Yet NE student Rachel Crosby, studying to become a paralegal, said she passed out flyers for anyone looking for more information about the Student for Concealed Carry On Campus organization or the protest itself.

“I wanted to protest last year, but I didn’t,” she said. “This year, I decided to just because I’m a little more informed about it and I knew there were some issues with last year. I just thought that I’d express my belief that, as a holder of a concealed gun license, I have the right to carry it in most other places. I can go to much more populated areas, like malls, but I can’t go to school carrying it.

“I feel much less safe on a college campus than I do in a mall or movie theater.”

Crosby carried her own gun holster on Monday, but after most people asked if the holster was a back brace, she decided to sport her father’s holster instead.

“Mostly, in class they ask, ‘Is that your gun?’ and I say, ‘Yeah, I’m doing this protest against the ban on students who conceal carry,’” she said. “I choose to carry license because I am a young woman and I’m not very strong. That would be my primary reason.

“I’ve really only had two people say ‘Well, I respect your opinion, but I have to disagree.’”

She said she was glad Smith and Schwertz won their case because students should have the right to free speech.

“I don’t think it’s a threat to anybody. It’s a symbolic gesture,” she said.

“I would like to add, though, that I don’t think that just any student should conceal. I think they should be the licensed ones that have the concealed handgun license. That’s what I’m for.

“I don’t think just any old person can come up here, but definitely someone whose had that training. They’ve gone through that class and have their license.”

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