Texas State pending concealed carry approval

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Students at Texas State University may become the first in the state to approve of legislative efforts to reverse Texas’ ban on concealed carry on state campuses pending approval from the student body president.

The Associated Student Government’s 24-10 vote supports a proposed bill by state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, that would allow licensed owners to carry concealed handguns while on any public or private college campus in the state. To obtain a state-issued handgun license, the licensee must undergo background checks, training and testing.

Texas State student body President Melanie Ferrari will make a decision today whether to pass or veto the resolution, said student body Vice President Colter Ray. The assembly’s approval came two weeks after they hosted an open forum to gather the opinions of students and faculty.

“Overall, I am pleased to hear that legislation supporting so-called ‘gun-free zones’ has failed to pass in the student legislature in Texas State,” said Jeff Shi, president of UT Students for Concealed Carry. “However, at this point, it is too early to tell how decisions on campus carry made by student legislatures from various universities in Texas will affect the bill that will be a huge presence next semester in the state legislative body.”

Licensed concealed carry is currently allowed at 71 universities outside Texas, according to a statement on Students for Concealed Carry on Campus’s website.

The vote at Texas State is a step forward, but should not be considered a victory, said Kory Zipperer, vice president of UT Students for Concealed Carry.

“I don’t like banking on university government resolutions,” he said. “Each school is different and will have a different idea on how to go about the issue. If anything, their vote helps disprove the common theory put forth by the opposition that college students are overwhelming against the idea of concealed carry on campus.”

UT Student Government recently passed a resolution supporting the existing handgun ban on college campuses.

“I don’t agree that more guns are the answer to safety problems,” said UT SG President Scott Parks. “We need to be much more thoughtful to the needs of our campus, and concealed carry will not help. More guns in civilian hands will only complicate things.”

Parks said SG will lobby against concealed carry in the upcoming legislative session, which starts on Jan. 11.

The higher suicide rates among college students is an important issue when discussing the possibility of concealed carry on campus, he said.

“Compared to society at large, college campuses have a much higher cause for suicide,” Parks said. “Unfortunately, guns are very effective means for students to go about that. That’s one of the unique needs of college campuses that I hope will not be ignored. We should work to address the root of the problem and keep guns out of college students’ hands.”