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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Campus Carry: one step closer to law?

Photo by Graphic by Sydney Farris
Campus Carry

With notable amendments, the Texas House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 11 Tuesday, which would allow concealed carry licensees to legally carry firearms on college campuses including buildings.
One of the recent amendments to the bill would allow Texas A&M, with the approval of two-thirds of the Board of Regents, to restrict certain places on campus from Senate Bill 11, also known as “Campus Carry.” The amendment requires the Board of Regents to first consult with the students, faculty and staff before making a final decision.
Unless prohibited by this process, those with concealed carry licenses will be allowed to bring weapons into buildings.
If the amended bill is ratified by the Senate, it will be sent to Gov. Abbott’s desk to either be signed into law or vetoed.
SB 11 was introduced to the Texas Senate in January 2015, and moved on to the House after the Senate passed it on March 19.
During House floor debates, State Rep. John Zerwas proposed the amendment that would give universities the authority to restrict certain areas of campus from concealed carry.
 “I believe that the leadership of our state’s institutions know the public safety needs of their campuses best, and are better suited than the Legislature at making decisions that impact their students, faculty and visitors,” Zerwas said.
Last year, the Texas A&M Student Senate passed the Personal Protection Act, which called for school administrators and state legislators to allow students with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms on campus.
Aaron Mitchell, speaker of the Student Senate and economics senior, voted for the Personal Protection Act.
“One of our jobs [as the student senate] is to lobby the state Legislature on behalf of the students,” Mitchell said. “We feel that the students, very much so, support concealed carry on campus.”
Mitchell said SB 11 would decrease the likelihood of campus shootings at A&M.
“The main impact though will be that A&M will not be as big as a target for campus shootings, since shooters tend to target gun-free zones,” Mitchell said. “Additionally, students will have their rights restored  and be able to defend themselves, just like they would almost anywhere else in Texas.”
Amol Shalia, geophysics senior and president of Aggie Democrats, said he would not feel comfortable in an environment where guns were allowed.
“I never really grew up around guns, and never really was immersed into gun culture until I came to Texas A&M,” Shalia said. “Being in an environment that has more guns would make me feel more unsafe.”
Speaking on behalf of Aggie Democrats, Shalia said the group will oppose the legislation.
“If campus carry does ultimately pass, and universities are allowed to opt out [Aggie Democrats] will be advocating that Texas A&M opt out [of campus carry],” Shalia said.
Mitchell said the efforts of Aggie Democrats are unlikely to succeed.
“There would have to be a lot of people changing their minds in order to flip flop on that and I don’t think that will happen,” Mitchell said. “However, Senate always values student input and we have a good number of new senators this year who have not voted on the issue yet.”
“Like all other major pieces of legislation, I believe that this issue will continue to be a source of debate and compromise,” said Rep. Zerwas.
The State Senate has yet to set a date for a vote on the amended bill. SB 11 is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1, 2015.

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