A new effort to allow students to carry firearms on Baylor University’s campus will be proposed Thursday night, according to a student senator.
Gannon McCahill, 20, a senior studying finance at Baylor, said the student senate will vote on a resolution about 6 p.m. Thursday to permit concealed carry on campus for students with concealed handgun licenses.
If the resolution passes, it will be sent to Baylor’s administration for approval. The university could reject the resolution or study the proposed change and send it to the board of regents for approval.
McCahill said he thinks the resolution has support from another 25 senators.
According to Baylor’s website, there are 37 student senators.
“I think, for me, it’s an issue of we have a right to bear arms and protect ourselves, and that’s something that’s currently not being given to us on campus,” McCahill said. “Legally, we’re entitled to self-defense, but currently that’s not being held true.”
To obtain a concealed handgun license in Texas, a person must be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal background check and take four to six hours of classroom training on handling a handgun, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
McCahill said he knows it might scare some people, but the resolution would extend the rights of people who already are licensed.
Baylor spokeswoman Lori Fogleman did not respond late Wednesday to questions about the resolution.
When the issue of concealed carry on campus has come up in the past, Fogleman has said allowing weapons on campus is not a good idea because it would introduce a new set of potential safety challenges.
This isn’t the first time Baylor students have voiced support for concealed carry on campus.
About 600 students signed a petition organized by the Baylor Young Conservatives of Texas in support of Senate Bill 182, which would have allowed CHL holders to carry weapons on public college and university campuses.
The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury.
Though a companion version garnered a majority of support from the state House, the state Senate bill was not granted a committee hearing before the legislative session ended and was not presented for a vote.
The bill did not apply to private universities and also would have allowed public colleges and universities to opt out.
More than 107 Baylor faculty members signed a petition opposing Birdwell’s legislation before it got bogged down in committee.
McCahill said he researched call response times for local law enforcement agencies, and he thinks a student would be safer in an emergency if he or she were able to carry their own weapon.
“[School shootings] should be a concern for every student. We’ve seen it all across the country,” he said, pointing to the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech that left 32 dead and 17 injured.
“You’re allowed to have your weapon in your car, but you’re not allowed to bring them to the classroom,” he continued. “Students are left completely unprotected.”
McCahill said other students have not yet voiced opposition to the resolution, but he thinks that is because the bill has not been presented.
Staff writer Regina Dennis contributed to this story.