By Joshua Gonzales
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
The University of the Incarnate Word’s plans to opt out of the state’s “Campus Carry” bill that would have allowed people with licenses to carry concealed guns is apparently causing relief.
Unlike state schools that must allow campus carry beginning Aug. 1 except in declared gun-free zones, or private schools that don’t opt out, the UIW community won’t have that problem – at least on campus – since the state’s open-carry law went into effect Jan. 1.
Dr. Louis J. Agnese Jr., UIW’s longtime president, announced in December that UIW’s Board of Trustees had accepted the Executive Council’s recommendation to opt out. That recommendation came after surveying students, faculty and staff last October and November, Agnese said.
“The survey response overwhelmingly expressed that UIW should opt out and continue to ban concealed handguns from campus as permitted by the statute,” Agnese said.
That decision apparently was welcomed. No protests have taken place at UIW as have some at the University of Texas-Austin and others who oppose the state’s “Campus Carry” bill.
Paul Warner, an Air Force veteran majoring in communication arts, said he agreed with UIW’s opt-out.
“I am in agreement that concealed carry in classrooms should NOT be allowed,” Warner said. “I personally have completed the CHL (certified handgun license) training and even after serving 20plus years in active duty Air Force — being around weapons all that time — and growing up shooting weapons and hunting small game, I would not want weapons in the classroom.”
The likelihood of seeing firearms being carried more openly off campus might take some getting used to.
“I’ve live d in Texas for the greater portion of my life, and firearms are not new to me,” said Dr. Héctor Pérez, an associate professor of English. “I have heard the arguments about our right to bear arms. Frankly, I have never felt that our right to bear arms was being undermined by requiring permits and background checks.
“I think open carry only creates situations where there will be more guns and the likelihood of accidental shootings will only go up as the number of guns increases. I consider the number of accidental shootings by professional law enforcement agents. I can only grimace at the thought of students and others bringing guns onto campus and into classrooms. Other university campuses have rallied against this. What is the threat that armed students would be protecting themselves, or us, from? I am opposed to guns on campus.”