By Amber Esparza
Pulse Staff Reporter
Palo Alto College students and staff expressed mixed feelings about Texas’ Campus Carry Law.
Some students, such as Computer Science major Justin Uriegas, are not convinced that Campus Carry is an effective policy.
“I don’t think I can handle holding a gun nor do I think I could pull the trigger,” said Uriegas.
Since Aug. 1, 2017, the Alamo Colleges District, including Palo Alto College, has implemented the Licensed Concealed Campus Carry policy as sanctioned by the state of Texas. Campus Carry entitles persons with a License to Carry (LTC) to bear handguns on college campuses, provided that the firearms remain concealed.
Dalia Montes, a student and work-study employee at PAC, believes that the law is both frightening and unnecessary.
“It’s scary to have guns around,” said Montes.
PAC Bookstore Sales Associate, Terri Cavazos, agreed that the law is inessential.
“I’ve never felt that I needed [to carry a gun],” she said.
The requirements to obtain an LTC are easy: The applicant must be 21 years of age or older, must not have any serious criminal or mental issues and must complete an official training with a certified instructor from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Some students do not think these requirements are enough, while other students are satisfied with the current state of the law.
Uriegas believes that a lengthy and meticulous screening process should be in place before someone can acquire an LTC and be allowed to carry a gun on campus.
Business Management student, Defranco Sarabia, believes that the law is, “OK where it is right now.”
While the law requires people to have the ability to carry a concealed weapon on campus, the law does not apply to certain designated areas on campus. Prohibited areas may vary by campus, but some examples for all campuses include science labs, mental health care facilities and areas where minors congregate, such as Early College High School buildings.
Sarabia said he would mostly feel safe on campus if he knew that the people carrying concealed handguns were thoroughly educated, trained and experienced. He also said that he would not feel safe if he knew the person carrying a weapon had a short temper or anger issues.
Since the law requires that all persons carrying handguns, with the exception of safety officers, conceal the weapon, anyone openly carrying a handgun could simply be unaware of the law or even possibly be an active shooter.
In the case of an active shooter situation, Montes believes that there are other ways to defend herself in this scenario.
“I don’t have to carry a gun. I can use pepper spray or a pocket knife,” she said.
Cavazos believes that the decision to take out an active shooter, by shooting back, should be left up to law enforcement officers.
The Licensed Concealed Campus Carry Law is not the same as Open Carry. If you see someone carrying a visible handgun, that person may be breaking the law or be an active shooter. You should contact Palo Alto College Campus Police right away at (210) 485-0911.