Panel explains guns on campus

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District general counsel Ross Laughead presents to facutly and staff members Aug. 23 in the nursing allied health building. The panel discussion was on campus carry that went into effect Aug. 1. Faculty and staff members were put into groups to write down questions and scenarios that could arise with this new law. Photo by J. Del Valle

Campus carry legislation became effective at two-year institutions of higher education Aug. 1.

By J. Del Valle

jdelvalle1@student.alamo.edu

District general counsel Ross Laughead told about 40 faculty and staff the campus carry law implemented at this college Aug. 1 does not allow anyone to openly carry firearms.

He spoke on a panel Aug. 23 during Convocation Week in the nursing and allied health complex.

“You have to be licensed to carry a firearm. It is not open carry,” Laughead said.

Other panelists were Mike Legg, director of enterprise risk management; Linda Boyer-Owens, associate vice chancellor of human resources and organizational development; and Sgt. Cliff Grumbles of the district department of public safety.

Sec. 411.2031 of Senate Bill 11 reads, “A license holder may carry a concealed handgun on or about the license holder’s person while the license holder is on the campus of an institution of higher education or private or independent institution of higher education in this state.”

He also presented a list of barred facilities that will not allow guns and signage that will be posted throughout the campus for students to be aware of the limitations of campus carry.

Guns will be prohibited at Scobee Planetarium; Candler Physical Education Center; empowerment center; early childhood studies center; the nursing and allied health complex; testing and assessment centers in Rooms 103, 112 and 113 of Fletcher Administration Center; Rooms 236C and 242 of Nail Technical Center; Rooms 339 and 354 of Chance Academic Center; and the science annex in Room 104 and Rooms 010C, 011A, 115 and Room 213 of the chemistry and geology building.

After his presentation, a staff member passed out index cards and had faculty and staff members get into groups and write questions for the panel to answer.

One group asked, “Can faculty and staff members ask for proof of a concealed firearm license?”

Boyer-Owens’ answered, “No, you cannot ask for their license.”

Another group asked, “If you know that somebody does not have their concealed firearm license and they’re carrying, what is the protocol?”

She responded, “Call the (district) police department. They will handle the situation.”

Another group asked, “Who has authority to ask for a concealed firearm license?”

Sgt. Grumbles answered, “Police officers can ask if an individual has a firearm license.

“Majority of the ones I have dealt with are law-abiding citizens. They do not want to jeopardize their license,” he continued. “They have gone through the process, such as a concealed handgun license class, a background check, fingerprints.”

The student success center will have gun-free areas if instructors and students need to meet for academic purposes and if they feel unsafe in their classroom.

The student success center is a support service that provides assistance for students. It is located in Room 309 of Fletcher Administration Center. Instructors will need to contact the student success center at 210-486-0930 to arrange it.

The district will be adding software that will be used as “the panic button.” It will be accessible on computers of faculty and staff members.

It will alert the district police department with a click of a mouse if faculty and staff members are unable to contact district police via phone when an emergency arises in a classroom.

An English and Mexican-American Studies instructor said after the panel, “It’s an unnecessary situation to have weapons on campus, and there are volatile situations between faculty and students and between students that can become dangerous.

For questions about campus carry, call Janae Johnson, coordinator of college risk management, at 210-486-0902 or visit www.armedcampuses.org/texas.

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