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Students and faculty speak out against imminent gun legislation

On March 8, 2011


While many political experts believe that Texas will most likely pass legislation allowing students with concealed handgun licenses to carry their firearms into university buildings, groups representative of both the student and faculty body have expressed the same strong opinion on the subject.

The resolutions by Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association represent an effort by members of the A&M-Commerce community to voice their negative opinion on legislation that is considered by many to be imminent.

"Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate of Texas A&M University-Commerce hereby opposes any change to the laws of the state of Texas that would allow concealed handgun possession on college campuses by non-law enforcement professionals," the Faculty Senate resolution, which passed unanimously, read.

SGA expressed their distaste for the legislation in a similar language.

"The Student Government Association of Texas A&M University-Commerce hereby opposes any change to the laws of the state of Texas that would allow handgun possession on campuses of higher education by non-law enforcement professionals," read the SGA resolution that was passed last Wednesday.

President Dr. Dan Jones acknowledged the difficulty for lawmakers to legislate a decision one way or the other.

"It's a complex issue," he said. "Gun ownership is part of the culture in Texas and there have been decades of discussion over the second amendment. Various concerns have come up regarding the current legislation that need to be discussed."

While Jones did not state his personal opinion on the matter or give any indication as to the administration's official stance, he did communicate the concerns such legislation raises.

"There are a lot of public schools around our campus," he said. "They come here for camps over the summer. How do we ensure their safety? My job as president is to manage this institution within the boundaries of the legislation."

According to Jones, acknowledging the opinions of everyone affected by the legislation should be a high priority.

"My main concern is that there is not a summary decision made by the legislature before everyone has the opportunity to have their voices heard," he said.

While these resolutions unequivocally reject the proposed legislation, there are current bills up for vote that would require the university to allow guns in classrooms, regardless of the wishes of the individual universities.

The A&M-Commerce SGA and Faculty Senate are not alone in their opinion of the proposed legislation. University of Texas System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa sent a warning to Gov. Rick Perry earlier this month, as reported by the Dallas Morning News. "I would be remiss in my duties as chancellor of the state's largest university system if I did not convey my concerns regarding this issue," the chancellor wrote. "I must concur with all the concerns and apprehensions expressed to me that the presence of concealed weapons, on balance, will make campus a less safe environment."

Texas passed its concealed handgun law in 1995, allowing people 21 years old or older to carry concealed handguns if they pass a training course and a background check. On college campuses, guns are prohibited in buildings, dorms and certain grounds around them, although a student with a concealed handgun permit may carry his or her handgun on specific campus property already.

Have an opinion on the potential gun legislation? Comment on this story, read more about potential gun law legislation, or vote on this week's poll, all at

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