The campus carry law will soon be in effect on campus, but so will the task force intent on making sure campus safety remains a priority.

As mentioned in the first installment of this series, Campus Carry – a law allowing those with concealed carry permits to have their concealed weapons on a university campus – will take effect in Texas in August 2016.

Much controversy has stemmed from this law’s passing since much of UTSA, including its officials and student leaders, were very much against the law being passed.

President of the Student Government Association, Ileana Gonzalez, was one of the leaders in attempting to prevent the bill from being passed. She, along with 12 other Student Body Presidents from around the state, signed a letter expressing their opposition to the bill, then sent that letter to Texas senators. Following this, Gonzalez, along with the student body president from Rice University, authored a letter to Governor Greg Abbott.

Gonzalez states that in the letter they, “asked him (Abbott) to review the bill so that universities could have a say in their own university policies and have the right to decide, on their own, what was best for their specific campuses.”

The letter was then signed by 15 other student body presidents from universities across Texas and sent to the governor.

“Despite all of our efforts, the governor still signed the bill,” said Gonzalez.

SGA was not the only opposition to the bill on campus. The College Democrats were in opposition to the bill as well.

College Democrats President (and SGA Chief of Staff) Jeff Schilder said, “We are not excited about it. We really wish our efforts through SGA and other groups had succeeded in allowing us to have our (UTSA’s) choice [of whether or not to allow guns on campus].” Schilder added,”( last spring) SGA did a poll and our students overwhelmingly voted against bringing guns to campus, and we (College Democrats) agree with our students on that.”

Several attempts to contact the UTSA College Republicans were made in order to get another perspective on the new law, but the group could not be reached.

Regardless of student opposition, the law is coming to campus and campus leadership has transitioned to tackling the next major decision the university faces in regards to campus carry: the location of the university’s gun-free zones.

The power to designate an area as a gun-free zone is at the discretion of President Romo, but he is not tackling this decision on his own.

“There is a special workforce to decide which zones will be gun-free zones,” says SGA President Ileana Gonzalez. This workforce, along with Romo and other university officials, will be responsible for deciding which areas are going to be the gun-free zones.

“Areas have not been decided,” says Gonzalez. “They should be decided by December and will be communicated to the student body soon.”

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