By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

They're small, hidden, pack a powerful punch, and permit holders can carry them most places in Texas. However, when it comes to handguns, a college campus isn't one of those places.

"That's in my opinion, a big problem," said Matthew Rogers. Rogers started Texas A&M's chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus.

"All we're asking is that you allow us to make that choice. If I can legally carry somewhere else, allow me to make the decision whether or not I want to carry here on campus," said Rogers.

At least one person in the Texas Legislature agrees. State Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, an Aggie himself, has promised to propose a bill that would allow those with a permit to pack heat on campus.

However, not everyone on campus thinks that's a good idea.

"I don't believe that we should be putting firearms in the midst of students who are going through trauma and stress and situations that can push students to the limits," said Texas A&M senior, Darrin Barton.

Supporters say the bill wouldn't change current requirements, like age; license holders would still be at least 21 years old.

"I don't see that there's going to be a big behavior change from when I can carry at home and when I can carry here," said Rogers.

Although some students said they supported gun rights, they said they would feel uncomfortable with guns in a college classroom.

"When was the last time you ran into a student that said they were uncomfortable off campus because of all the people around them carrying concealed handguns?" said Rogers. "The fact is they don't know. It's concealed, that's the point."

"It's not about whether you can see it at the time they have it concealed, its about when they use it," said Barton. "At any point when is that going to become an option for someone to use?"

It's a debate that will continue in Austin, in January, when Texas' 81st Legislature convenes.

Officials at Texas A&M declined to comment, saying administrators will wait until the bill is filed before taking a position.

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