The Student Government Association will debate two resolutions about concealed handguns on April 16. One resolution, written by Laura Carr, presents an argument against allowing concealed handguns on campus. The other resolution, authored by Chris Kuta, discusses the positive results of allowing concealed handguns.

When one bill is chosen by a majority vote, representatives from UTSA will deliver the resolution to Austin legislators.

“That bill will be the voice of 28,000 UTSA students,” Carr said.

SGA President Matt DeLeon believes that the house and senate bills (HB 1893 and SB 1164) are the most important legislation he has ever seen.

“Therefore, this will be the most important decision the SGA has ever had to make,” DeLeon said.

SGA Vice President Derek Trimm says that the SGA will conduct its own objective survey to determine if the majority of UTSA students are for or against concealed handguns on campus.

“We are also hoping to have a debate that involves a panel of speakers that represent both sides of the issue,” Trimm said.

Kuta wrote his resolution because of the increase in school shootings around the country, and he felt many UTSA students were concerned for their own safety. Kuta believes if events can happen at an apartment near UTSA it is a possible the event could cross the street.

Carr wrote her resolution because only one side of the issue was being represented.

“I’m a senior so the bill probably won’t affect me, but I had to write for those opposed to concealed guns,” Carr said.

Carr thinks that the decision made by the SGA will best represent student’s interests.

“We want the opinions of the UTSA students that we are representing; we don’t want to make this decision blind,” Carr said.

Carr also believes that legislators should not be influenced by fear.

“Don’t rush into things in an attempt to prevent a tragedy like Virginia Tech,” Carr said.

She urges legislators to explore other avenues, such as increasing funding to police forces, better training for security personnel and installing additional cameras.

Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Mathematics and Secretary of the General Faculty, Sandy Norman explained that there is a possibility that numerous people on campus could end up carrying handguns.

“In my opinion the university should be planning now to develop mandatory and extensive training for all students, faculty and staff on how to deal with the variety of situations in which the addition of firearms could prove to be problematic,” Norman said.

When UTSAPD was asked about additional training or resources allocated in relation to concealed handguns, Chief David Hernandez said, “The UTSA Police Department will not comment on this bill or any security measures that will be taken should the bill pass.”

Norman does not believe that the bill(s) will improve the safety of the campus community.

“It is ironic that the legislature would require for a (generally unwilling) campus community that which it doesn’t require for itself. If supporters of the bill really believe that public safety will be enhanced by such a bill, then such reasoning should apply to courthouses, hospitals, churches, stadiums and places where groups of citizens can be found, including halls and rooms of the capitol building where our state legislators meet,” Norman said.

Norman jokingly said that he might not object to the bills if they were amended to allow licensed concealed carry in courthouses and the capitol building.

“After all, much more so than on a college campus, those are places one is more likely to encounter criminals and lunatics,” Norman said.

“If anyone wants to use a gun there is no way to stop ‘those nutcases,’ as Wentworth calls them, have made up their mind to die anyway,” Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, chair of the department of political science and geography, said.

El-Kikhia implores students to understand that more guns will not solve anything.

“College is supposed to be about using more our brains and less our brawn,” El-Kikhia said.

El-Kikhia says that Texas isn’t a frontier state anymore. “Legislators that live that frontier mentality have to realize this is a new age and they will be held accountable to the people for their decisions,” El-Kikhia said.

Norman states most of the UT campuses, faculty senates and student government bodies have passed resolutions opposing the concealed carry in campus buildings.

The Daily Texan reported on Jan. 28 that after a 30 minute debate the University of Texas student government passed a resolution against allowing concealed handguns on campus.

El-Kikhia urges students, especially the UTSA SGA, to wake up.

“Don’t let foolish politicians make decisions that will affect you, don’t let them take away your sanctuary of thought, peace, and love,” El-Kikhia said. “Only in the absence of violence can we be free to learn,” El-Kikhia said.

SGA’s Web site is http://www.utsasga.org.

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