Changes could be coming to safety on college campuses. In TN state congress, there is a bill being put forth that would allow college students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses.
The TN General Assembly website summarizes the bill as: “Education, Higher – As introduced, authorizes a registered student at a public institution of higher education to carry a handgun in a concealed manner on property owned, operated, or controlled by that institution if the student is a handgun carry permit holder and otherwise in compliance with state law. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13 and Title 49.”
Student opinion on the matter is sounding very similar.
“I don’t think there’s a point or need for students to carry guns on campus,” said Tito Urriola, a student at APSU. “Campus has never seemed like the type of environment where the need for a concealed weapon would be necessary.”
Safety is also a general concern when it comes to the possible passing of this bill.
“I wouldn’t feel safe,” Urriola said. “But I also wouldn’t feel comfortable, either.”
Students are questioning whether they would partake in owning a concealed weapon, if the bill was passed. Many, like Urriola, don’t see the point. They especially do not believe that the passing of this bill would even prompt them to purchase a concealed weapon.
“Personally, I wouldn’t [get a concealed gun]. I don’t really see the point in needing a weapon to come to campus for an education,” Urriola said. “It’s just not that serious.”
In 2016, a similar bill was passed that allowed faculty members on college campus to carry concealed weapons in TN.
This is a fact that not many students at APSU know.
“I didn’t know that, and for that reason,” Urriola said. “I don’t see it being a problem.”
Another student who was unaware of the now four-year-old bill was Alexandria Smith, another student at APSU.
“I didn’t know until my African-American studies teacher told us the other day. He was like, ‘y’all don’t know this,” Smith said.
To many, knowing is half the battle. Some students feel that just knowing about what is going on makes them feel more prepared.
“Having a better understanding of this information makes me feel more prepared for what’s to come, rather than feeling safe,” Urriola said.
According to state law, faculty members carrying concealed weapons on campus must first register their weapons with campus police.
“There are currently 48 people on the concealed carry list for the University as of today [March 2, 2020],” said Sammie Williams, chief of police for APSU.
APSU campus police was unable to comment on the bill itself, other than that they will support the law.
“I will support any laws or bills that are passed to the best of my ability,” said Williams.