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

Shootings forcing states to investigate guns on campus

By Cory Armstrong/reporter

College campuses across the nation are debating the rights of students to carry guns on campus. Arizona is the latest of states to present legislation to protect these rights.

Currently, all states except Utah do not allow students or faculty to carry guns on college premises. However, 15 states, including Arizona, have tried or are trying to pass laws that will protect that right. Texas is not one of them.

Arizona State Sen. Karen S. Johnson has proposed bill 1214 that would allow students with a concealed weapons permit to carry on campus.

Doris J. Jones, associate professor and department chair of government and economics on NE campus, said even in a place like Arizona “I don’t think it will pass.” Jones does not support guns on campus.

States are reconsidering gun laws because of the recent string of campus shootings. In addition to the high-profile shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois, five others have occurred over the past year.

However, campus shootings date back to 1966 when Charles Whitman murdered 14 people and injured 31 others from the clock tower at the University of Texas in Austin.

Dr. Van Parker, vice president of student development and educational services on NE campus, was present at the shootings.

“You feel helpless,” he said. “It was a very traumatic experience to go through.”

In a debate held by the Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, Marsha McCartney, co-president of the Dallas chapter of the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence, said, “We know the next thing coming our way is guns on campus.”

The Brady Campaign has begun putting together literature to help further its cause.

Meanwhile other organizations, such as Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, encourage students to become active on campus, supporting legislation that would allow guns on campus.

NE student Femi Oludipe said it does not matter what the law is.

“Anybody on campus could have a gun right now if they wanted to bring it to school,” he said.

Chief of Police for Tarrant Country College Frank Buchanan stressed the amount of training police officers must complete that conceal and carry permits do not require.

“Police go through 800 to 900 hours of training, including psychological training [for these situations],” he said. “It can bring about confusion for officers responding.”

Would such a law ever pass in Texas?

“I hope not,” Buchanan said. “[They need to take a] good solid look before they do.”

Casey St. John, a TCC student said, “Anything can happen. You are not more or less safe [at school] than you are anywhere else.”

Emergency response times have been an issue of concern.

“A lot can happen in a matter of minutes,” said John Portugal, a TCC student who does not agree with allowing guns on campus. “You can unload it pretty fast. But you can prevent the likelihood of it happening.”

Oludipe expressed concern about guns on campus.

“Guns are not something to play around with,” he said. “Not all students are mature enough to know when to use and when not to use them.”

In Arizona, bill 1214 has passed through the Arizona State Judiciary Committee and must now pass in the state legislature.

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