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Law may allow guns on campus

There were frowns, confused expressions and shouts of protests from the students after they listened to Sharon Mowry, Texas government professor, tell one of her classes about Texas legislation considering a bill that would allow licensed concealed gun carriers to carry their weapons on to college campuses.

Some students were already familiar with the legislation when discussing it in class.

“Does anybody agree with making it legal for students to carry a concealed gun on campus,” Mowry asked while talking to her class.

The students unanimously disagreed, along with Mowry. She is not the only professor against the legislation.

“It’s really lunacy,” History Professor Gene Kirkpatrick said. “I think a faculty protest would gain recognition.”

Some professors fear that students carrying a gun are not trained enough to handle their emotions once an actual shooting breaks out.

“What I would be worried about is the lack of training these students may have when it comes to handling a gun. They do not know what to do in a panic situation and may start spraying innocent students,” said Dr. Madeleine Ross, philosophy and history professor.

Another area of concern is that TJC is an open campus and could be vulnerable to shootings from people who are not enrolled students.

Ross said that firearms are not allowed currently on campus; however, if the law passes, she hopes they would come up with funds to establish security points since “anybody can come onto campus.”

“A lot of the fights that broke out came from people that were not TJC students,” history professor Kahne Parsons said.

Though all of the students in Mowry’s class disagreed with the legislation, one student believes that they should allow licensed concealed guns on campus

Ryan Leroy, TJC student, said that people who break the rules are always going to find a way to get a gun and will hurt the people who are following the rules. He believes if legislation passes the bill, then people will be able to defend themselves.

“When you see a sign that says ‘no guns here,’ it doesn’t prove that it is a safe campus, because those who don’t follow the rules are going to bring a gun anyway and hurt all the ones who followed the sign,” Leroy said.

Seven states including Texas are considering the legislation. 70 out of 150 house members and 12 out of 31 senate members support the bill.

According to Lock & Load Indoor Shooting Range of Tyler, a person would have to take a one-day session, which includes the required ten hours of class time, photos, electronic fingerprinting and notarization of affidavits to be able to qualify on the range with a handgun.

These are some of the many requirements by law to receive a license: a person must be at least 21 years of age, have not been convicted of a felony or been diagnosed of needing psychiatric care.

Though background checks are required before issuing the permits for safety, the gunman of the Virginia Tech massacre had possession of the gun legally.

Campus Safety declined to give any comments on the legislation.

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