Senate Bill 11 goes into effect this semester allowing two-year colleges students and staff to carry concealed handguns.
The bill went into effect in August 2016 for four-year colleges to carry concealed handguns.
With guns being concealed on campus there are certain requirements for students and staff members that will carry the firearm. The gun owner must be at least 21 years of age and a legal resident of the state for six months before starting the application. The owner can’t be convicted of a felony or class A or B misdemeanor, and are qualified under federal and state law to purchase a handgun.
In addition to these requirements there are certain buildings on campus where guns will be prohibited.
Guns are not allowed in campus clinics such as the dental hygiene and physician clinics, but will be allowed in classrooms. Guns are also prohibited in testing centers and places where mental health counseling takes place.
As for student events, guns are not allowed in games but they are allowed in the gym after a game.
Campus Police Chief Randy Melton advises students to contact police immediately if they see a gun: “First we ask them ‘Do you think they have a gun? Do you see a bulge To be a violation it has to be intently or knowingly displayed, remember it is concealed not open carry,” said Melton. “The majority of TJC students are under 21 years of age so the concealed carry should not be a huge issue on campus. However, there are punishments if someone on campus violates the law. It’s a gun-free zone, if they go into that restricted area it depends its going to be case by case sometimes maybe a criminal charge or an administrative issue.”
Although the campus police have a positive outlook, the reaction among the students and staff is still mixed.
“I’m personally in favor of it as long as they are able to meet the Texas requirements and pass all obligations, that they need to pass
they should be able to carry handguns and concealed weaponry,” said biology major Godspower Nwachukwu.
Even some parents have shared some concerns about the law.
“Right now, at this time, I am against it, and the reason being I just think 21 is a bit too young to be able to despair when you use a weapon and not” said parent Sonja Hudson.
Despite the mixed opinions the campus police are confident the law will not produce any negative issues on or around campus grounds.
“We don’t think there is going to be any issues, we really think this is going to be a non-issue,” said Melton. “Again, twenty years’ worth of history here in Texas, those who have the license are not the ones causing the problem.”
There will be signs posted around campus informing students and staff where guns are prohibited.