As community colleges prepare to allow students to carry concealed weapons on campus, many at Del Mar are split on the issue.
Veronica Vasquez, a public relations and advertising major, said she believes “having guns will make people safer” and is for them on campus. However, she added that more should be done to make sure that the wrong people don’t have guns, such as more background checks.
Allison Dozier, a junior at Collegiate High School, believes having more guns on campus will make things more dangerous and harder for students.
“I don’t agree with having guns in the classroom,” Dozier said, “and when I heard that guns were now allowed on college campuses, I was upset and then I was a little scared.”
Ever since the enactment of Senate Bill 11 in 2015, Texas colleges are now required to allow concealed handguns on their campuses. Starting in fall 2017, the law will go into effect for Del Mar students and they will be able to bring concealed weapons on campus (in certain places) if they are licensed concealed carry permit holders.
The law allows each college to designate certain gun-free zones, including areas with possibly dangerous equipment and classes exclusively used by high school students, among other areas.
While guns will not be allowed in certain places, the law also ensures that concealed weapons cannot be banned entirely from campuses.
While some are afraid of the implications of what guns on campuses could mean, the law has already been in place at all public four-year universities in Texas since fall 2016.
According to Arlene Dominguez, a nursing major at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, “not much has happened concerning the law or guns.” She added that there haven’t been any major problems that she’s aware of.
“I’m still scared of people having them,” Dominguez said. “They’re dangerous weapons that college kids might not fully be able to grasp having them on themselves.”
Major protests at colleges around Texas from students and teachers began almost immediately after the law went into place. A Protest at the University of Texas in August gained national attention due to the large amount of outcry and anger. The protest, which involved thousands of sex toys, was to bring attention to the law and the dangers it could bring with it. Many other officials and students have come out against the bill since.
At Del Mar, the issue hasn’t made much of stir yet, with many students claiming to not even know about the law. However, Del Mar officials have announced that they are making safety precautions and seeking student feedback on the Del Mar website.
The so-called campus carry law has not caused many incidents over the past year. The first problem after the law was enacted was an accidental misfire at Tarleton University by a student licensed to carry a weapon in a dorm room. While no one was hurt, this does show how even an accident can have deadly consequences.
Many Del Mar students are still fearful of guns being in the classroom, with the history of school shootings and overall gun violence in America weighing heavy on some people’s minds. Many, like Dozier, say guns in the classroom will bring up a lot of questions and emotion.
“I know that every time I would go to that class I would be uncomfortable,” Dozier said, ”and there would always be that thought in the back of my head that a fellow peer has a gun.”