Community college seeks input on campus carry

Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 12, 2016
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:25-04

McLennan Community College is asking for input in preparation of campus carry going into effect on August 1, 2017.

In 2015, Senate Bill 11 was signed into law by Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott after it passed the Texas legislature. The campus carry law allows license holders to conceal carry a handgun on the grounds and buildings of public universities and colleges.

The law went into effect at four-year colleges a month ago and will become law at community colleges, such as McLennan Community College, next August.

“There are a lot of opinions on both sides. It’s not for us to judge if it's a good law or not. The time has passed for that. Our focus is on implementing the law and being in compliance by the date that has been set,” McLennan Community College Emergency Manager Robert Page said.

MCC officials are asking for students, faculty, staff and members of the community to share their thoughts about reasonable rules and regulations that should be enacted with concealed carry on campus.

According to Page, it is very important for MCC to have input from community members, including students' parents.

"Community colleges are about community and we have a lot of community people who come on the campus and off all time,” Page said.

An online survey and forums for students, faculty and community members will allow community members to tell officials which areas should be designated as gun-free zones. Those areas would have signs in Spanish and English allowing those at that location they can’t carry weapons with them.

MCC Theater student Erika Clark said she would prefer if the cafeteria, athletics department area and campus theaters are gun-free zones.

"Being on stage, knowing that someone has a gun can make you a little bit more nervous than anything else because accidents do happen on stage and I think if someone were to fall or something like that that could go as good as it should,” Clark said.

However, other MCC students like Camisha Smith said license holders carrying concealed handguns will make her feel safer.

"If something happens, they could easily protect that area until we get help or call for police,” Smith.

Smith added she would hope there would be a limited number of people who have concealed carry weapons on campus.

The online survey indicates under the current law concealed carry is not allowed in areas where a sporting event is taking place, on the premises of a health center and meetings of a governmental entity, such as the Board of Regents.

A committee will take the input into account and the guidelines four-year-schools followed when they implemented campus carry and present a report to the president of MCC. The Board of Regents will vote on the rules during the spring semester and send it to the state next summer.

To provide your input on the online survey, click here. The community forum will take place on Oct. 4 from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in the Lecture Hall building on the MCC Campus.

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