The Wichitan

15 students discuss guns on campus at forum

Jacob Smith

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Laura Fidelie, criminal justice associate professor, opens the Campus Carry Public Forum discussion where concerned citizens could speak about what they thought on the topic, it was held in Dillard 100, Nov. 2. Photo by Bradley Wilson

Laura Fidelie, criminal justice associate professor, opens the Campus Carry Public Forum discussion where concerned citizens could speak about what they thought on the topic, it was held in Dillard 100, Nov. 2. Photo by Bradley Wilson

The Campus Carry Task Force held its first, and only, public forum Nov. 2 to discuss plans for the Campus Carry Law passed in the last Texas legislative session.

Laura Fidelie, chair of the task force, led the forum presenting an informative case about the task force’s plans for enforcing the law and answering questions for the 46 people, including 15 students and a handful of reporters, faculty and others, who attended. Others could view the meeting through a live stream.

Only three individuals, all students, signed up to speak, raising questions and expressing thoughts on SB11 that takes effect Aug. 1, 2016.

“Our goal was to give the public an opportunity to be heard,” Fidelie said. “We wanted them to provide a varied response and to leave with more information than they had when they came in.”

The three students who stepped up to the microphone, Laramie Walton, Sam Sutton, and Kara McIntyre, spoke, as Walton said, on how “gun-free zones simply creates a magnet for criminals to intentionally break the law,” and that, as McIntyre said, “campus-wide access to guns was important and necessary.” Sutton simply asked how campus officials would react to a school shooting.

Other attendants to the forum including Stan Thomas, an MSU alumnus, shared their opinions, challenging opponents of the bill and stating that mass shootings do not end until the shooters are stopped by force. It takes a considerable amount of time for law enforcement to respond, he said.

He posed the question “How do we want to stop these criminals?”

Fidelie said, “All questions here are legitimate. They give us a good place to start from as we are developing these recommendations.”

A few students expressed concern about their perceived lack of communication about the forum and asked Fidelie and other task force members present to better publicize these events to gain more student input.

“This is a huge issue that has enormous ramifications,” said Christopher Duhan, a junior in mechanical engineering. “The task force needs to be accessing more students. For instance, this was the first time that I had ever heard about there even being a task force, so this was a baseline for me. I had hoped the task force would be further along in establishing their position at this point.”

Fidelie said, “It’s always a big mystery when dealing with how to inform students. Our public information department is fantastic, and we are always doing our best to reach students.”

She reminded the crowd that students and others can fill out a survey to give task force members more information until Nov. 6.

The next step for the task force is to establish which areas are more prominent in the public’s opinion, such as gun-free zones, residence halls, and healthcare buildings, and to provide recommendations to present to the university president, who is charged with making policy, and to the Board of Regents who ultimately have to approve the policy.

STAFF EDITORIAL: Guns should be allowed everywhere on campus

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About the Photographer
Bradley Wilson, Adviser
Bradley Wilson is the adviser for The Wichitan. An associate professor of mass communication, he also teaches the media reporting and writing class and advanced reporting class. He got his start in Austin, working as a photographer for what was then a family-owned, local newspaper, the Westlake Picayune, that published a weekly newspaper of 60...
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15 students discuss guns on campus at forum