Colleges not taking stance on gun proposals...yet

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Forget 4.0. Try .22 caliber. Bills have already been filed in the Texas House which would allow licensed concealed handgun carriers to carry guns on college campuses.

The Texas House Public Safety Committee held a public hearing on the issue, and even on East Texas campuses, opinions are mixed.

Along with UT Tyler, officials at TJC, and at Kilgore College say their universities haven't really taken a stance, right now, because the proposed bills are just that proposals. The goal behind these bills is to prevent tragedies like the Virginia Tech shootings back in 2007 where more than 30 people were killed, including the gunman who opened fire on campus. At Northern Illinois University, five people were killed and 18 were wounded. But, some say there is not much students and administrators can do.

"People that do that are very motivated, and they're going to do it, regardless, at any cost," said Aisha Cooper, a sociology major and senior.

"There really isn't anyway that you can prevent a tragedy like that from happening...especially by legislating more guns on campus," said Neal Smith, the father of a college student.

"A teachers or students with handguns? It's not a good idea," said Kasey Calbow, a college freshman.

"I just think it's opening a can of worms that shouldn't be opened," said Meleah Humphrey, a UT Tyler student.

Now, a representative with Kilgore College did say one concern they would have would be just how much control the campus would have should any of the bills become law. There is an on-campus child care center at Kilgore College, and the university would not want to expose children to guns seen or unseen. Bills have been sponsored in both the state House and Senate.

Similar bills have been filed in nearly 20 other states since last year, but all of those failed.