Students ‘open fire’ on controversial legislation
By Jessica Parton—
Updated 3/19/15 at 1:03 p.m.
On March 18, students attended a joint House and Senate Student Government Association (SGA) meeting to vote on resolution S-07-15 that would allow the concealed carry of firearms on the Tarleton campus. The passing of this bill would allow students 21 and over that have their Concealed Handgun License (CHL) the option to carry their firearm with them.
SGA senators Jamee Bell, Jessica Eastman, Logan McCombs, and John Rose constructed the bill with the common goal in mind for Tarleton students: the right to self-defense.
As the discussion opened, many House and Senate members voiced their opinions about the pros and cons of having firearms on campus.
An ROTC representative argued that a firearm is not to be used in defense but rather deter from crime altogether. Another member of the House mentioned that CHL carriers are some of the most law-abiding citizens in the U.S. and must pass extensive tests, including mental evaluations, and undergo training to be approved to carry.
As the meeting went on, there were many students who strongly opposed the bill, who voiced their beliefs that this bill would cause bigger problems than the problem it is trying to solve.
Student body president Jay Johnson was among those that were against open carry. Johnson read statistics stating that students aged 18-24 are least likely to seek mental health help as they make their college transitions, which could lead to unnecessary suicides. Another member of the House mentioned that alcohol on campus could also bring unintentional firearm accidents.
After over an hour of discussion back and forth, both for and against the bill, the House and Senate members put the bill to a vote. 43 members of the House voted for the passing of the bill, and only 11 were against. The Senate vote was a much tighter count as 12 members voted for and 9 against, ultimately passing the resolution.
The bill will now be sent to the SGA president to be signed into effect, and at this time there has not been any discussion as to when changes will be brought to campus.