ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Senate is on its way to approving a bill allowing guns on college campuses. The vote came despite opposition from a number of universities. But how do students feel?
As soon as you walk onto the University of Texas at Arlington campus, Texas law says you can no longer carry a gun. That would change if Senate Bill 11 bill passes, and some students don’t like the idea.
While Jessica Connelo grew up around guns, she doesn’t want them on her college campus. “I always had guns in my family,” she said plainly. “On any college campus, there are parties. It’s never a good idea to have guns and alcohol with 20-year-olds who don’t know what they’re doing.”
On the other hand Nick Bewley said he would feel safer if he could carry a weapon at school. “I like the idea,” he said.
But Bewley also thinks universities should be able to decide whether or not the move is right for their campus. Even just a year or two of having campuses choose… after a year, I think some campuses will see that maybe their crime rate go down, or maybe people will take a liking to it after a year.”
Even as members of the Texas Senate debated the bill, that will allow those with concealed handgun licenses to carry concealed guns on public university campuses, CBS 11 News found students at the University of Texas at Arlington divided.
Most students were very clear. One said, “I think it’d be a great idea.” Another student gave the quick response, “I don’t really like that idea.”
But it was clear; most people who spoke to the news crew opposed allowing guns on campus. There were comments like, “Not everyone feels safe with handguns around.”
University of Texas System Chancellor and retired Admiral William McCraven wrote state leaders expressing his concern that guns “would contribute to a less-safe environment.”
Dimitra Smith, an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University, hopes her campus and other schools remain gun-free. “It’s a little unnerving,” she said. “Campus for some students is a home away from home. So it’s kind of like having strangers in your home — with guns.”
With a baby on the way, Smith understands parents will be most concerned about safety. “Parents choose universities and colleges based on that too,” she said.
The debate in the state Senate went on for nearly five hours. Ultimately, lawmakers preliminarily approved the measure that will repeal existing state law prohibiting CHL holders from carrying weapons on college campuses.
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