North Texas Daily

SGA debates possibility of campus carry bill

SGA debates possibility of campus carry bill

April 22
23:23 2015

Rhiannon Saegert / News Editor

The Student Government Association discussed signing an open letter declaring disapproval of House Bill 937, known as the campus carry bill.

The open letter, created by the University of Texas at Austin’s SGA, led to an open forum at Wednesday’s SGA meeting, allowing senators to discuss their views on the bill and the pros and cons of campus carry, which would allow anyone with a concealed handgun license to bring their guns on campus.

SGA president elect Adam Alattry said he is in favor of signing the letter.

“Technically we can sign as elected leaders of the student body, but we’ve decided to go this route and propose it to the senate and getting their approval,” Alattry said.

Under the bill, private universities could opt out of campus carry, but public universities would not have the same option. The letter proposes an amendment to the bill allowing public universities to opt out of the policy as well.

UNT’s current policy and state law allow those with a CHL to have firearms in locked cars in university parking lots. Under campus carry, concealed handguns would be allowed everywhere except residence halls, which would be left to the discretion of the university.

Political science junior and SGA senator Billy Poer argued in favor of signing the letter, citing Texas’ dense population and the possibility of more violence.

“I think it’s important that we show our opinion and as much as I want it to be against these bills that are going through the legislature, I would support any kind of opinion that we send because in years past, we haven’t done anything like this,” Poer said. “So the more we do it, the better. As long as we can show our representative voice.”

Mechanical and energy engineering senior Ariel Jackson argued in favor of campus carry, citing second amendment rights and the possibility violence would be prevented.

“We’re at a university acting on 36,000 people and we’re trying to keep it hushed in the senate and not put it out to the student body,” Jackson said. “People have open access to guns. You don’t have to get a CHL, you don’t have to go through a certified seller to have a gun. If we have responsible people, we can have a safer environment at the end of the day.”

Despite supporting the bill, Jackson does not support open carry, which would allow people to legally carry their guns out in the open.

“There have been many occasions where people have had their open carries and they’ve been attacked in Wal-Mart parking lots because someone saw they had a gun and thought they should apprehend them,” Jackson said. “With conceal carry, if you can’t see it and someone acts irrational, I can get to it faster than you can pick up and call 911.”

SGA plans to create a Twitter hashtag to ask students what they think about the issue.

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