COLLEGE STATION -- “We couldn’t even request that the students not carry guns," said John Ellison. "That even that request would be met with discipline. That borders on First Amendment problems.”
John Ellison has taught at Texas A&M for more than three decades, but when talk of a campus carry bill was mentioned in state legislature in 2011, he knew his final day on campus might come.
“I think if you object to something," said Ellison, "it’s your patriotic duty to object to it, in a reasonable way. I don’t have any other ways of objecting”
The genetics professor’s last day at the university is August 3. Ellison says he never wanted to walk away from the department, but will hold true to his beliefs.
“A gun is simply not a necessity in a classroom," said Ellison. "It’s not even a benefit in a classroom.”
But not all students see it Ellison’s way.
“We’d be able to have a law abiding citizen react much faster than campus police or just any other regular police force would be able to react," said Texas A&M distribution industries major Charlie Moore.
The university stresses the campus carry law is strictly for concealed weapons.
“If people see weapons on campus, we’re asking them to dial 911, let university police respond and handle the situation appropriately," said Texas A&M Vice President for Safety and Security Chris Meyer.
But that’s still not enough for Dr. Ellison.
“All that has to happen is one incident on the campus," said Ellison, "and I think you’re going to see a whole bunch of people upset.”