DALLAS (CBS11) – Texas’ community colleges are now entering a new era of concealed carry on campus.
“It’s scary. Extremely scary,” said Learsi Baesha, a student at Dallas’ El Centro College.
The new rule is an expansion of the campus carry law that took effect at four year public colleges and universities last year. Dallas County Community College District leaders said they believe the number of those who opt to carry will be smaller than many fear.
Still, several El Centro students told CBS11 Tuesday that the campus has been too close recently to a situation where weapons wound up in the wrong hands.
“Officers were just killed on these streets,” says Learsi, gesturing toward the scene of last year’s police ambush.
The attack ended when the gunman was cornered and killed in an El Centro campus building. Patric Eckton said he left the campus just minutes earlier and believes guns on campus is a bad idea.
“If somebody’s packing a gun and they don’t agree with what you say? What happens? You have to fear that they’re going to pull out a gun on you.”
The right to carry, though, comes with restrictions. A concealed carry license is required, open carry is not permitted, and rifles are also banned. No weapons are allowed in restricted areas, such as childcare centers, healthcare centers and sporting events.
Ann Hatch, Dallas County Community College District, said their campuses will follow the law and that includes strictly enforcing those gun free zones.
“We generally feel that the percentage of students will be smaller than what most people anticipate,” says Hatch.
Still, without metal detectors, there is no way to be certain of exactly who is carrying and where.
One concealed carry supporter told CBS11, he didn’t secure a license to court trouble, but rather to be prepared if trouble found him.
Still, others say an invitation to be armed on campus, also invites anxiety.
“A lot of people don’t have the the common sense to not pull out a gun, just because they got upset,” says Eckton. “I just want to go to class and learn.”