By Tiffany Pelt - email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Nearly 100 Texas Tech students and faculty hit the shooting range as part of one of the biggest classes ever held in Texas by the grassroots group Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.
With proposed legislation before lawmakers in Austin, their wish to carry on campus could become a reality. Members of the Texas Tech Concealed Carry on Campus took an extensive ten hour course that includes background checks, courses on laws and safety, and a proficiency test at the shooting range. It's just one way the students are trying to raise awareness about the right to bear arms on campus.
"We're not just giving a license out to anybody. These are people who are genuinely worried about the protection of themselves or even their fellow students," said Ryan Grady, a firearms instructor at the Rustic Range.
This heated topic isn't anything new. So far 71 campuses nationwide have allowed concealed carry on campus. "35 of those have allowed it for more than five years, and none of them have had an incident regarding any kind of firearm accident or crime," said Drew Paxton, the legal officer of Texas Tech's Concealed Carry on Campus. "With a CHL you're allowed to carry in churches, shopping malls, restaurant, movie theaters, even the capital. So we feel why campus should be treated any differently than those locations."
While issues are deeply debated among students, legislators will take up the issue and two others regarding concealed hand guns this coming up legislative cycle. State Representative Charles Perry supports the concealed carry on campus program and is hopeful it will pass the House and Senate votes.
"The reality is if someone wants to have a gun they're going to get a gun, and if their motive is not pure and are meant to be evil or harmful to other people they're still going to get those guns," said Perry. "All the CHL program does in my opinion gives those people that are responsible the ability to react in those situations."
Besides the concealed carry on campus bill that will be debated, lawmakers will also look at bills concerning employees being allowed to leave their guns in their vehicles at work, and school board members being able to carry during their meetings.
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