WT students discuss concealed carry

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

The idea of concealed carry on a university campus is not a new one, but it has instigated an actively new organization on the WTAMU campus called Buffs for Concealed Carry.

Travis Brown, sophomore Plant and Soil Science major, has founded the organization on campus and has been working with campus officials and the police department on the issue.

“We’ve discussed a lot of the issues and concerns everyone has for it,” Brown said. “The biggest thing is that we all need to work together. We all want safety on campus. We are very concerned with working with the police and the campus so that no one feels threatened with concealed carry on campus.”

A bill has been filed with the Texas legislature to allow concealed gun carry on all campuses. If the legislation passes, campuses will be required to allow concealed carriers to have their firearms with them.  If the legislation doesn’t pass, then each university will be able to make their own call on whether to allow it or not. WT students will be able to vote on the issues and express their concerns or support.

“If the legislation goes through then we won’t have to work with anybody,” Brown said. “The other route is to work with your campus. It goes through student government, the board of regency, and the faculty government.”

Students across campus have differing opinions on the issues, but all will play a key role in getting it executed on campus.

“My greatest concern with the ability to carry a concealed weapon on campus is whether or not students or faculty would undergo extensive and recurring psychological testing before WTAMU would allow such,” Shae Crawford, senior English major, said. “The most frightening aspect is the unknown. Since we live and go to school in the panhandle of Texas, in a fairly conservative region of the country, ownership of guns is common.”

There are many issues that the university and campus police department will have to address and implement safety procedures on campus.

“The gun threat is very real. Several shootings have occurred in the last year, and so it’s reasonable to imagine implementing such laws to allow for concealed carry on campus,” Crawford said.  “But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t frightening to imagine walking through the JBK (Jack B. Kelly Student Center) amongst a crowd of people you don’t know who could or could not have a gun packed and strapped to them, and whether or not their mental health is pristine enough to carry such a weapon amongst a sea of strangers.”

To obtain a license, there is a class and application that must be completed beforehand. The application fee is $140. The fee is nonrefundable and is not in addition to what will need to be paid for the class.

“Go online and apply with the Texas Department of Public safety,” Cody Wilhelm, lead instructor at Modus Operandi, LLC, said. “You can do that before or after you take a class. A lot of people will wait and do the class first because they like the direction that we give them filling out the application. The DPS requires a class that is a minimum of ten hours. You have to meet the minimum proficiency on both the written test and shooting test.”

The class focuses on four fundamental topics that are required by the law. If you meet all of the requirements a license will be mailed to you in roughly 60 days.