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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Gun bill packs heat – Texas Senate to argue campus carry

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Photo by: Katelyn Townsend/ The Collegian
Photo by: Katelyn Townsend/ The Collegian

By Hope Sandusky/nw news editor

Texas’ state Legislature currently has a bill that, if passed, will allow concealed handgun license holders to carry their weapons on public college and university campuses in Texas.

It has left some students and faculty at TCC in a panic.

“That’s why there is law enforcement in schools,” South Campus student Emanuel Villegas said. “If everyone carried a gun, they’re going to have in the back of their mind that they might have to use it, maybe even in unnecessary situations.”

NE sociology supplemental instructor Rebecca Reyes seconded this concern, saying it is up to security and police officers to keep students and faculty safe, not the general public.

“It makes me incredibly nervous,” she said. “I think if on campus we have adequate policing and security, that the necessity for faculty and students to have to carry arms doesn’t seem to be there.”

Reyes was recently in Austin to voice her disapproval of the legislation as well.

“I would say the representatives would listen to us,” she said. “But they said they would still vote for legislation that was in favor for the right to carry on campus. So I didn’t really feel like I got to them, but I understand they already have their own political agenda.”

Filed by state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, Senate Bill 11 is identical to a previous bill that didn’t pass in the 2013 legislative session. This bill has more support with 19 senators backing it, which, under a new rule change made by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, is all the support a bill needs to pass.

To be a concealed handgun license holder in Texas, a person must be 21, pass a criminal background check and take a four- to six-hour class on proper gun handling.

Currently seven states (Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin) allow guns on campus, 23 allow each school to decide and 20 (including Texas) ban guns on campus.

Some schools have discussed that, if the law passed, they would require students with their license to train with campus police as well before allowing them to carry their guns onto campus.

“If there is no system set up to hold license carriers accountable, then by the time anyone realizes someone has a gun on campus, it might be too late,” NW student Noah Reid said.

Some students feel that if passed, the chance of a Virginia Tech incident would only increase.

“I think that’s just an accident waiting to happen,” TR student Sarah Weems said. “People wouldn’t feel free to be honest in class out of fear. Maybe because I’m a veteran, I don’t see why anyone needs to be carrying guns onto campus.”

SE student Anthony Wells believes that with guns on campus, small situations could easily escalate.

“Some people don’t have the emotional capacity to handle a gun with caution,” he said. “They get agitated over the smallest things. I’m just worried that someone will get shot over a stupid thing.”

Up to this point, concealed handgun license holders can only store their weapons in their vehicles on campus. If this bill passes, guns could be allowed on campuses as soon as next semester.

While some students are not completely against the idea, there is still some doubt about the law’s effectiveness.

“It wouldn’t bother me at all,” NE student Dillon Rice said. “I’ve grown up around guns with parents and uncles that go hunting, so I’m comfortable with it at all. I could see where people who have very little experience with them could be scared, and there’s always that potential for that bad egg.”

An Army veteran, TR student Michael Williams thinks that while people should know how to handle weapons, bringing them onto campus might not be the best idea.

“I wouldn’t carry a firearm to class,” he said. “If someone needs to carry a gun to class, they might have bigger problems than school.”

NE academic supply services coordinator Jeanette Jacobs said she is still unsure of the bill.

“I guess I have a lot of questions,” she said. “I understand it is your constitutional right to carry a firearm, but at the same time, there would need to be training and regulations.”

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