Texas State University’s Campus Carry Task Force hosted their final forum to offer students, faculty, staff, and other community members an opportunity to voice their opinions on concealed open-carry.
The task force says they have met every week in order to provide reasonable rules and regulations for the campus. Through their meetings they have come up with five immediate recommendations as gun-free zones, including places providing service to minor children, counseling and health services, disciplinary and legal compliance, NCAA sporting and UIL events, and residence or official events.
A common concern among speakers was if these zones will be enough. Many faculty members who have to break bad news to students within their offices or classrooms would like those to be safe zones as well. Students believe the Fighting Stallions, where many controversial subjects are expressed, should also be considered gun-free zones.
However, students such as Amber Sevart believe those zones imply that those are the only places where students dealing with mental or health issues go. She also stated that she believes certain administrators are being favored more, and that the task force is implying that those administrators matter more than students.
Faculty member Ben Ried also counter argued that the majority of those living on campus have most likely endured psychological distress once in their life, and are technically not fully adults. He also discussed the rising suicide rates within college students, and how campus carry could affect that.
Although the majority of speakers made comments against concealed carry, the forum had a few pro-gun commentators.
A common concern among those that are pro-gun, was the involvement of the University Police Department. There have been alleged comments that UPD says the implementation of campus carry will make their job harder. Pro-gun speakers wanted not only more police officers on campus, but also additional training for officers.
A former veteran says that Texas State University fear control when it comes to the topic of concealed carry. He argued that “we are alienating those with concealed hand-gun licenses” by creating gun-free zones around campus.
Vicki Britain, the chair of Texas State University campus carry task force highlights the goal of the forums is to listen and use comments made for future task force meetings, saying “I am going to take back every comment to campus carry task force, so we now have had three forums. Our job is to listen to each one of these forums, I have been listening, I have taken notes. We are going to compile all of the comments and we are taking them all back. Everybody’s voice is really important. We are going to respect every single person’s opinion, value it, and we are going to talk about it. ”
The campus carry task force is always taking comments on the Texas State website, where any additional opinions can be shared. The task force will reconvene in December.