Concealed Carry Open Forum Brings Mixed Opinions

Kasandra Garza
News Reporter

Forum Photo

Texas State University’s Concealed Carry Task Force hosted their second open-forum tonight, allowing students to voice their opinions and comments regarding concealed open carry on campus.

The first open-forum occurred on the Texas State University Round Rock campus.

Wednesday’s forum took place in the LBJ Sudent Center Teaching Theater, where more than 15 people spoke before members of the Task Force to discuss where they feel guns should be allowed and other concerns.

A common concern among speakers was the safety of the board of regents compared to the safety of students.

By law, the board of regents conducts meetings in gun-free zones because they discuss “controversial issues.” Multiple speakers pointed out that many places on campus are areas where controversial topics are discussed, such as the Fighting Stallions statue, however, those areas are not protected.

Another speaker asked the Task Force to exempt all dorm halls, classrooms and dining halls and make them gun-free zones because “guns and young people is a recipe for disaster.”

A representative of the Meadows Center was present at tonight’s forum, asking the Task Force to consider making the Meadows Center a gun-free zone as well because “more than 30,000 students for school field trips attend the Meadows Center each year.”

Though most speakers spoke against concealed carry, there were a few pro-gun speakers in the audience.

Naomi Narvaiz, San Marcos resident and president of San Marcos Area Republican Texans Group, said she felt unsafe in a room where guns were not allowed. Narvaiz added she would not know how to protect herself from a shooter if she was unable to carry a gun. Therefore, teaching theaters should not be gun-free zones.

Narvaiz added that students needed to be taught tolerance, asking, “What are students being taught that they are afraid of someone bursting in with a gun?”

A Texas State University student spoke about his rights to carry a firearm, stating because someone fears guns should not mean he shouldn’t be allowed to carry a handgun.

Also supporting concealed campus carry was a Texas State University biology professor who said most mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones.”

Nicholas Laughlin, president of College Democrats, said a few of his members were speakers at the open-forum. He said he hopes more education will be presented for students, faculty and staff.

“To have a forum where students can speak about this issue is great,” Laughlin said. “I’m hoping the Task Force takes these comments seriously and puts what students want to see in their revised bill.”

Laughlin said though he is against campus carry, he enjoys seeing both sides being represented at the forums.

The last open forum for concealed carry will be Thursday at the Alkek Teaching Theater at 7 p.m. After the forums have ended, the Concealed Carry Task Force will consider the suggestions and opinions received and plan more open forums for Feb. 2016.  

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