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Campus carry open forum produces moderate turnout

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Vicki Brittain, head of the Campus Carry Task Force, addresses that the reccomendations from past forums have been taken into account.
Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff Photographer
Vicki Brittain, head of the Campus Carry Task Force, addresses that the reccomendations from past forums have been taken into account.

Although Senate Bill 11 has attracted controversy since it was passed in June 2015, a series of open forums hosted by the Texas State Campus Carry Task Force have seen moderate turnouts.

Only five people took the microphone Wednesday evening to provide feedback on the force’s newly revised draft recommendations regarding how the campus carry legislation should be implemented on campus next fall.

The task force members will take the commentary from the open forums into consideration as they revise the draft recommendations before mid-February, when it’s sent to President Denise Trauth.

After Trauth approves the final recommendations, they will be presented to the Texas State University System Board of Regents for final review. The Board of Regents will review the rules and regulations in May, and can decided with 2/3 votes to amend them.

Approximately 40 people attended the forum, but only five decided to provide feedback.

Caleb Dischler, criminal justice junior, said he agrees with most of the task force’s recommendations.

The task force’s revised recommendations do not include a gun storage facility on campus. According to the recommendations, the campus’ size would require multiple storage facilities, which is too costly to establish and maintain.

The recommendations include carve-out zones, areas where firearms are prohibited, on campus, including the fifth floor of the LBJ Student Center and the Child Development Center.

The carve-out zones also include the President’s House and the Student Health Center. In the revised draft, the Board of Regents’ meeting area was removed as a recommended carve-out zone.

The task force members also recommend that officers with the University Police Department provide voluntary concealed handgun license training.

“I think it (would) be a good idea to train CHL holders who want to carry on campus,” Dischler said.

He said training to get a license focuses more on self-defense, not mass shooting situations.

 Photo by:  Madison Morriss | Staff PhotographerBlanca Sanchez-Nacarro, Supervising Counselor at the Counseling Center, asked that the Counseling Center be a carve out zone due to the mental health services held there.
Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff Photographer
Blanca Sanchez-Nacarro, Supervising Counselor at the Counseling Center, asked that the Counseling Center be a carve out zone due to the mental health services held there.

Blanca Sanchez-Navarro, supervising counselor at Texas State, said the counseling center should be included as a carve-out zone under provisions for counseling and health services.

The counseling center is already included under provisions for disciplinary and legal compliance along with other offices on the fifth floor of LBJSC.

 Photo by:  Madison Morriss | Staff PhotographerRuth B. Welborn, Dean of College of Health Professions, addresses the Campus Carry Task Force about being able to protect the vulnerable people in specific carve out areas.
Photo by: Madison Morriss | Staff Photographer
Ruth B. Welborn, Dean of College of Health Professions, addresses the Campus Carry Task Force about being able to protect the vulnerable people in specific carve out areas.

Ruth Welborn, dean of the College of Health Professions, said she supports the carve-out zones intended to protect “vulnerable” individuals, but wonders how these people will be protected.

Kent Grimes, public administration senior, said the revised draft is an improvement upon the original recommendations, but some of the wording still shows bias against campus carry.

“This is not the end of the task force process,” said Vicki Brittain, head of the task force and assistant to the president. “We are still very much in the drafting and listening stages. We are seeking your input about our most recent revised recommendations.”

Task force members will receive additional input from faculty and students at two upcoming open forums on Jan. 28 in LBJSC and Feb. 2 at the Round Rock campus.

After receiving public input, task force members will reconvene in February to finalize the recommendations, Brittain said.