College Students, Officials Sound Off On Guns in Classrooms Bill

College Students, Officials Sound Off On Guns in Classrooms Bill

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - Students and officials are sounding off about a proposed bill that would allow those with a concealed handgun license to bring a gun into college classrooms.

The bill just passed in the Texas house over the weekend.

"I live in the dorms here on campus and anything could happen in there," Midland College student, Dane Wilkins, said. "If someone walks in with a gun, there's no one that could stop them."

That's the scenario Texas House lawmakers are trying to prevent from happening.

House Bill 972 or the "Campus Carry" bill would allow anyone with a concealed handgun license, who is also 21 years or older, to bring a gun into college buildings.

That includes places like classrooms, dorms and sporting arenas on campus.

But Midland College Police Chief Richard McKee said he has serious concerns if this bill is signed into law.

"If you did have a school shooting and you had someone with a concealed handgun license who was pursuing a perceived bad guy and law enforcement encounters that individual, what's their reaction going to be?" Chief McKee said. "The police are going to come in, they're looking for the person with a gun."

McKee said the training required to get a CHL isn't enough for the average person to react in a stressful situation.

"As soon as someone pulls a weapon, there's gonna be chaos in that classroom," Chief McKee said. "One thing people have to realize when they have a concealed weapon is you're responsible for that weapon and the action you take with it. If you take a shot and you miss and you hit somebody, whether you intended for that to happen or not, you're still responsible."

The bill is making some buzz around the Midland College campus.

"I think that's an excellent idea," Wilkins said. "I would feel much safer if I had something to protect myself."

"If an individual is carrying a handgun and I'm sitting next to them in class, no, I wouldn't feel comfortable," student Ron Meredyth, said.

If it becomes law, colleges could opt out if they'd like, but Geology student Scott Laing said that's a bad move.

"I think they actually set themselves up as targets because there's no one there with guns to defend themselves," Laing said.

Laing believes the bill could deter a shooter from an attack.

"I wouldn't feel like that other guy would be dumb enough to pull out a gun and do anything," Laing said.

But not everyone is on board with the idea.

"Having everyone toting guns on campus, that wouldn't be so good," Meredyth said. "You never know what the next individual is thinking."

Biology Professor Cindy Cochran agrees.

"If we need more security then we need to hire more security but it shouldn't be up to the teachers and the students," Cochran said.

The bill is now headed for the Senate.