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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Students weigh in at Campus Carry open forum

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The Campus Carry Task Force held a public forum on Nov. 14 in the LBJ Student Center room 3.10.1 with faculty, staff and students to discuss the Campus Carry law and possible changes to the policy.
The Campus Carry legislation, passed by the Texas Legislature in 2015, allows licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on public university campuses in Texas. On Aug. 1, 2016, the law went into effect.
Vicki Brittain, special assistant to the president, addressed the progress of the bill’s application at the forum as well as the measures taken to improve it so far.
Brittain leads the Campus Carry Task Force composed of one student and 24 faculty and staff.
The task force reconvened at the end of the first full year of implementation to do a full review of the Campus Carry law’s affect on students, faculty and staff. During this review, the task force considered two proposed changes to the Campus Carry rules, both involving the creation of gun-free locations on campuses.
The first recommendation proposed that accredited testing locations should be considered gun-free areas. Accredited testing involves national and state tests that require accredited test administrators. These tests also require that they be taken in gun-free locations, which were not established in the laws original rules. These locations will only be gun-free during the time in which the test is administered.
The second recommendation proposed that private non-suite employee offices should have the option to become designated gun-free zones. After much deliberation, the task force decided not to fulfill this recommendation given that it would create an unnecessary burden on licensed carriers wishing to interact with multiple locations on campus, and that it would cause further confusion for the university’s public.
Brittain opened to forum to community speakers to gather further questions and recommendations. Of the five speakers, four of them openly opposed the establishment of gun-free zones. A student who requested anonymity weighed in on the topic as a licensed carrier.
“My recommendation to the university is that, if we are going to implement a gun-free zone, we completely cover that entire gun-free area with police officers,” the student said. “If I can’t protect myself, I’m going to want someone to protect me.”
Three of the speakers opposed to gun-free zones revealed that they own a license to carry. Weston Jenkins, finance senior, gave his input on why he disagrees with gun-free zones.
“I don’t believe in gun-free zones,” Jenkins said. “That is just putting a target on law-abiding citizens. If someone finds out where the gun-free zones are, that’s going to be the first place they’ll go.”
Student Body President Connor Clegg, is the only student on the task force. He helps analyze the data collected by the university’s Campus Carry surveys, which received 1,231 comments out of almost 40,000 students.
“In every level of the university, we need to increase involvement,” Clegg said. “It’s hard to say that (1,231) is a representative number, but what we can flesh out from those results is that the people who responded are the people who care the most. It may not be a proportional representation, but it is a fair subsection of the university that provides good insight into what we should do.”
In the most recent survey’s data, most student responses were opposed to gun-free zones while most of the faculty and staff responses remained in favor. Clegg expressed the need for more student involvement in this issue to generate a more accurate understanding of the student opinion of Campus Carry.

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