With the arrival of the new campus carry law and the announcement that classrooms would not be gun-free zones, some students on campus were upset and demanded action be taken. That action has arrived in the formation of a new group on campus. This group, yet to be named, will become an official campus organization next semester. In the meantime, it is welcoming new members and has already made its presence known, most notably by holding a gun-free rally last week protesting guns in an academic setting.

One of the founders of the new group Kevin Hernandez explains the group’s mission stating, “We are concerned mainly about allowing guns in classrooms and faculty offices; we don’t feel they need to be there.”

Another group founder, senior political science major Lorenzo Garcia claims that the free exchange of ideas and controversial conversations might suffer if guns are allowed on campus.

Garcia stated, “When you invite guns into that situation (the free exchange of ideas and controversial conversations), there will be less conversation because people will be worried about possibly being injured.”

Garcia continued, saying fear is, “not something we would like students and faculty to worry about.”

The group is hard at work planning its next event to bring awareness to their cause, and will be hosting a rally this Wednesday at the downtown campus. The rally will be held in the Bill Miller Plaza at 12 p.m. and will be conducted similarly to the last rally, as the group strives to educate students on the new law.

Hernandez says the event will be a peaceful rally, stating, “We just want to get the information out there; we will have our laptops and tablets just like last time in case anyone wants to sign the petition (against guns in classrooms, offices, labs and dormitories).”

The rally is not their last planned event, though.

“We are attempting to schedule a debate that would be moderated by the Graduate Political Science Association, but there is nothing official yet,” Hernandez said.

The group is hoping to schedule the debate for some time in November.

They believe a discussion with those who have different beliefs would be beneficial for all parties. They also believe that the students deserve more time than the task force is allowing to discuss the issue and voice their opinions to the task force.

Garcia has, “Unlike UTSA, been telling students, faculty, and staff, there is no strict deadline on when recommendations need to be made to Romo.”

“In fact,” Garcia continued, “UTSA doesn’t have to send formalized recommendations on what should be done for the University until early February.”

Garcia points out, “The University itself is sending recommendations a whole two months early on December 18th, so there is a lot room between early February and December 18th where continued discussion could occur.”

The group feels that allowing the students to discuss the issue and voice their opinions should be a top priority for the university.

“At this time,” Garcia stated, “we (supporters and opponents of gun free classrooms) are both still fighting for the right to just have a discussion about it (the issue of gun-free classrooms).”

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