Diverse range of opinions displayed at campus carry open forum

Diverse range of opinions displayed at campus carry open forum

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Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff Photographer
President of San Marcos GOP, Naomi Narvaiz, voiced her opinion at the open forum on Nov. 18 for cmapus-carry.

Members of the public had a chance to voice their opinions Wednesday evening on recommendations for the implementation of Senate Bill 11 at an event created by Texas State’s Campus Carry Task Force.

Students, faculty and community members attended the public forum to discuss their opinions on the draft recommendations for implementation of the legislation that were released last week. .

The purpose of the event was for the task force to hear the community’s feedback on the draft.

The final recommendations will eventually be shown to President Denise Trauth and then be submitted to the Texas State University Board of Regents for approval or denial.

There were approximately 65 individuals present at the open forum, and less than 18 speakers. The speakers included Texas State students, faculty and city residents.

 Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff PhotographerDepartment Chair of Accounting, Ann Watkins, voices her opinions on the campus-carry reform at the open-forum Nov. 18 at the LBJ teaching theater.
Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff Photographer
Department Chair of Accounting, Ann Watkins, voices her opinions on the campus-carry reform at the open-forum Nov. 18 at the LBJ teaching theater.

Most of the faculty members who spoke said they had concerns about classrooms not being included in the carve-out zones—areas where guns will not be permitted—when SB 11 goes into effect next fall.

“We shouldn’t be afraid to come to class, and staff and faculty shouldn’t be afraid to come to work,” said David Eisenberg, communication studies junior.

He said campus carry could pressure students and faculty to feel censored by the knowledge that individuals in their classroom may have guns-.

The meeting space of the Board of Regents is recommended to be a carve-out zone. Margaret Menninger, associate history professor, said this is because the board members sometimes make controversial decisions, such as tuition increases.

“I find that to be a very disappointing statement about what is valued and what is not valued,” Menninger said.

Menninger was not the only faculty member to express similar concerns.

“There are many of us on this campus that make similar decisions that upset people,” said Ann Watkins, chair of the Department of Accounting. “And guns aren’t appropriate.”

The Board of Regents is already protected by the Texas penal code, Watkins said.

“I resent that we really haven’t had a voice or a say,” Watkins said. “We’ve been told that this is what’s going to happen.”

C.J. Grisham, president and founder of Open Carry Texas, said the task force should reconsider making the regent’s meeting area a gun-free zone. Grisham said he has attended state legislative sessions as a licensed concealed gun holder.

“If it’s good enough for our legislature and it’s good enough for city councils all over the country, then it’s good enough for the regents to trust concealed license handgun holders,” Grisham said.

Some individuals said they support stronger regulations and the expansion of gun-free zones.

 Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff PhotographerProgram specialist at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Sonja Mlenar, voices her opinion on Nov. 18 at the Campus Carry Task Force open-forum.
Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff Photographer
Program specialist at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Sonja Mlenar, voices her opinion on Nov. 18 at the Campus Carry Task Force open-forum.

Sonja Mlenar, instructional programs coordinator with the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, said the center should be recommended as a carve-out zone because children often visit on field trips.

Allowing guns in residence halls can lead to an increase in suicides, said Emma Brockway, English sophomore.

“All the draft recommendations to SB 11 are crucial, but we need more restrictions to ensure the safety of this campus,” Brockway said.

Board members were seated among audience to observe the open forum and some community members said they are concerned about the safety of gun-free zones.

David Huffman, biology professor, said the majority of mass shootings in the country occur in gun-free zones.

“We have an illusion that making gun-free zones is going to mean that there’s no guns allowed,” Huffman said. “It just means there are no legal guns allowed.”

The lack of licensed individuals with guns means people will be unprotected in the case of an incident, said Naomi Narvaiz, president of the San Marcos Area Republicans Texans Group.

“It bothers me a lot to know that there are some places that are going to be carved out and are going to be gun-free,” Narvaiz said. “Those people there aren’t going to have the safety they need.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. As someone commented in the article, the majority of shootings occur in gun free zones. That isnt by accident folks. They want to shoot people, for whatever reason making their statement, but not be shot till they’re done. Where do you go to be safe while you’re killing people? A gun free zone, because only law breakers and killers will have guns there. Sad but true.

    What amazes me is, in the case of scools, why wouldnt you want a permitted person or three in your class, halls, or outside areas to increase the chances that you dont wind up injured or dead if some crazy person starts shooting everyone? Its a touch of insanity NOT to accept possible help!

    I think the real problem is either fear and/or ignorance of firearms in general or fear and/or ignorance of the mentality of the average licensed carrier.

    I carry concealed everywhere I go where its allowed. To work, the grocery store, shopping, the gas station, getting icecream at the corner store, everywhere. Carrying my firearm is just a part of getting dressed and you dont think about it once its done, its like subconsciously knowing you have your keys in your pants or your phone in your shirt pocket. You dont even think to use them until the specific reason their needed comes up. I certainly dont think about my firearm when I get in a discussion that isnt going my way, or when I get cut off in traffic or even when some loser jumps me in line at The store. I didnt even think about it when the last place I work laid a bunch of us off.

    Fear the crazy people out there not those of us abiding by the law that went to the effort to get licensed. We’re already around you every day, you just don’t realize it.

    I wish there were a lot of places that would offer free classes for people that just want to familiarize and educate themselves with firearms, to remove that fear and/or ignorance of the unknown. Thats one of the real problems. Most of the reasons you hear are what people contrive as sounding reasonable to cover up their real reason. Sad but true, and I do understand it.

  2. The increased presence of guns breeds a greater culture of violence. The normalization of weaponry, as if a gun is just another accessory, develops a mindset that danger is everywhere we look. Those hoping for a chance to be Rambo will be looking for an opportunity to fire at the least provocation, making any offense potentially punishable by death. The desire to be a “hero” must be a powerful motivator — I can think of no other reason for carrying a gun around at all times.

    The money that this university will have to spend to accommodate those who feel they must carry a gun with them to campus could be spent in so many more positive ways. What a waste — not only of money and a sense of real security, and ultimately of human life, because campus carry will lead to some tragedy. Why can’t America look elsewhere to see how other countries have handled the problem of gun violence? It is a dilemma that can be solved with a less frightening solution than more guns, more guns, and more guns.

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