Monday marked the first day of classes for Texas Tech University. It was also the first day of classes for Texas Tech with the statewide campus carry law in effect. The law, which which went into effect August 1 at public universities across Texas, allows licensed students, faculty, and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus.
As of Monday afternoon, Texas Tech Police said that the new law posed no problems on campus. In fact Cpl. Amy Ivey with the Texas Tech Police explained that since the law took effect, there has not been a single incident involving campus carry or guns on campus.
But there are still plenty of questions about the law.
“I’m very busy with the campus carry presentations and lots of handouts going out about the rules and the laws and where they can and cannot carry,” Ivey said. She explained that Tech Police have received many questions about campus carry, in particular about “exclusionary zones” the places where even licensed individuals are not permitted to bring guns on campus.
Eric Ochoa said that he has taken the time to learn about where the exclusionary zones are on campus.
Ochoa is the State Secretary for Texas Federation of College Republicans as well as a student at Texas Tech. He took his license to carry course several weeks ago and is waiting to receive his license in the mail before he begins carrying on campus.
“I did all my paper work, they finger print you, I did my background check,” Ochoa explained of the process of getting an LTC.
He explained that for licensed students who carry guns there are many heavy considerations to take on before bringing a gun to campus.
Besides considering what you would do in a dangerous situation, it’s also important to think about the legal and financial costs of firing a gun on campus, Ochoa said.
Ochoa explained that he’s heard of students carrying concealed guns on campus even before the law went into effect.
“There weren’t any problems then, so for it to be the law now, I don’t really see much of an issue,” Ochoa said.
He said that in an active shooter situation on campus, he would be willing to intervene using a concealed weapon.
“For me, I never want to do anybody any harm but I know there are people out there who want to do me harm,” he said. “I want to be out there to protect myself and protect my community in that way.”
For Ochoa, exercising his Second Amendment right it important, and with his LTC training, he feels prepared to handle himself responsibly if he ever needed to use a weapon on campus.
“If you want to protect yourself I recommend you get yourself a firearm, and make sure you are concealed carrying, and following the law,” he said.
But not every student wants to carry a firearm. Aaron Jackson said that he has no desire to carry a weapon on campus, but respects that his classmates have a right to carry should they choose to.
Jackson added that he would feel a little uncomfortable knowing that a classmate was carrying a weapon.
“But if it’s truly concealed and put away, then I feel like it shouldn’t be an issue and I wouldn’t know that they were a concealed carrier, but if it was exposed, I would feel slightly uncomfortable,” he explained.
Jackson said that hearing about reckless acts of gun violence in the news has made him more nervous about going into large lecture halls, or even movie theaters.
With the new law in mind, Jackson said he is more aware of what’s going on in his surroundings on campus. He knows the law is here to stay but he hopes that students who do choose to carry realize the responsibility that comes with carrying a firearm.
“I just hope that you choose to use it wisely and think about not only your safety but for other people’s safety as well,” he said. “Because as we know with other events in the media whether between civilians, or civilians and police, many have fallen victim. I just hope that no matter where some body stands on gun laws, whether you believe in the Second Amendment or not, that you use wisdom when trying to purchase guns.”
Texas Tech Police added that the campus carry policy at Texas Tech may be subject to change in the future, all potential changes will be taken up with the TTU Campus Carry Committee.