Texas passes new campus carry law

Staff Writer

Last May, Texas celebrated a brand new holiday, and a holiday very much it’s own. Organized as a surge in the battle over Second Amendment rights, May 4, 2013 was the first ever “Gun Day.”

To celebrate, the Texas House passed 12 bills related to firearms, one of which allows students with concealed weapons permits to bring their guns on campus as long as the guns remain in cars at all times.

The bill provides two limitations on this right to bear arms; first, the owner must hold a concealed weapons permit, which can only be acquired by persons over 21. Second, all weapons on campus must be in a locked compartment in a locked car at all times.

Shelby Evans, an RA in the on-campus apartments, said the changes were “explained at great length” in her training. 

“It doesn’t change the job terribly. It’s just like any other policy where you have to be prepared to deal with cases that wouldn’t happen on a day-to-day basis, but you always have to be conscious,” Evans said.

University police captain, Dan Beck, said the bill will only affect the small percentage of students who have no other place to store their weapons. 

The law changes little, according to Beck. “I don’t know if you have a gun in your car right now. The only way I would know is if I have a legal right to be there.”

It was the lack of a school weapon registration that concerned freshman Ana Chavez. 

“If something happens, you want to know who here had a registered gun,” Chavez said.

The law passed 27-4 through the Senate, with 19 Republicans and eight Democrats in favor.  The vote makes Texas state 23 to allow firearms on college and university campuses. 

Sixteen other states have voted “no” on similar laws in the year since the Sandy Hook shooting. 

The prospect of students bringing guns on the St. Edwards campus has not concerned  authorities enough to increase security.“It’s kind of irrelevant, (but) they have the legal right,” Beck said. 

Overwhelmingly, Hilltop Views found students against the new gun laws. 

“I don’t think they should be on campus at all.” said Evans, whose job responsibility entails student safety.  “There’s no good reason I can think of for a student to use a gun.”

Despite efforts by Hilltop Views to find students in support of the bill, none questioned actively favored guns on campus.

This echoes a joint statement written in 2011 by the American College Personnel Association, which is made up of college students and professors.   

The “Gun Day” laws went into effect on Sept. 1, after being signed by Governor Perry on June 14. 

Perry vetoed only one of these laws, which provided for teachers to be trained to carry and use guns in cases of emergency.

However, he did sign one allowing staff with permits to become marshals similar to the air marshals.  These anonymous campus marshals would allow rural colleges to have more security.