Along with the booklists and backpacks to be readied for the fall 2016 semester, a recently passed Texas law has introduced a new item: beginning in August, licensed holders will be permitted to bring concealed handguns onto college campuses in Texas.
In view of the changes that the Texas Campus Concealed Carry Law will bring to Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the staff of The South Texan met to discuss concerns, and what can be counted with thankfulness in this situation. Collectively, we would like to submit that while the bill itself is not satisfactory in our view, the ways in which the Texas A&M System—and specifically TAMUK—has responded should be commended.
Raul Altamirano, chief reporter for The South Texan, articulates the concern that we have felt in connection with the new law. “The fear of a situation escalating where a certain individual decides to exude an overflowing sense of machismo still lingers in the back of my mind. I’m hoping for the best, but the thought of an incident occurring where someone decides to pull out their gun and use it just for the sake of using it feels inevitable,” he noted.
It is a worry that arises not out of contempt for the Second Amendment, but from the possibility of a weapon misplaced or mishandled. Samuel Galindo, reporter for The South Texan, explains why we have been wary on the matter. “In regards to the Texas Campus Carry Law, I cannot help but become plagued with mixed feelings for this rather bold move. However, it does not surprise me. Texas has been and most likely always will be a state that will ‘cling to its guns.’”
“However, with so many disastrous campus shooting taking place on campuses throughout the country, I believe this law should be closely monitored…because the small number of bad ones can do a great deal of damage to Texas college students.”
Yet, as Altamirano observes, through its SB-11 Committee, TAMUK has done much to assuage fears in its handling of the law. This is due, in part, to the university’s willingness to receive feedback from the campus community, as well as their transparency throughout the process.
“It is evident by how many revisions and drafts are available online via TAMUK’s homepage that real time and consideration has been warranted by our university to make sure the real concerns of students and staff are considered before any policies are set in stone,” Altamirano explained.
Part of TAMUK’s strength on this subject has also come through its specificity, Altamirano holds. “While the constraints on other universities within the A&M system seem to have general guidelines for where concealed firearms would not be permitted, TAMUK has provided its campus with a litany of areas, specifically named, where said firearms would absolutely not be allowed. A few of those places include where flammables are located as well as wherever minors are present.”
Angela Garza, editorial editor for The South Texan, in summing her concerns, is sure to offer thanks where due. “I may not feel safe with this new state law that has been passed, but A&M has calmed my overwhelming anxiety and paranoia at least a tad by laying out strict rules about where firearms may be permitted. All I can say is, thank you to the hardworking people of Texas A&M-Kingsville who have worked tirelessly to make this campus a safer place.”
Together, we as the staff of The Staff Texan offer our thanks to those at Texas A&M University-Kingsville who have offered an example of excellence, and thought, in ensuring that the safety of the TAMUK community remains at the forefront.
Follow The South Texan on Twitter: @thesouthtexan