Students start petition against concealed-gun bill

Opposition to a gun bill allowing licensed people to carry handguns on college campuses grows as students from the university and the University of Texas take to the streets with a petition to be presented in committee in the hopes of keeping the bill on the floor.

Jordan Adair, a sophomore communications major, and Jackie Mintz, a sophomore at UT, said they circulated the petition around both campuses.

Adair said she got four pages of signatures with about 30 signatures per sheet. She said she found few students who supported the bill, or who had no opinion.

Mintz said she caught wind of the bill at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, where she works as an intern. She said she also attended student government meetings where she watched the student government pass a university-wide resolution opposing the bill.

But, she said, at UT the student government has the stigma of being a vocal minority, so its opinions are often overlooked by politicians who claim it has it easier than other student governments because of its close proximity to the capitol.

Mintz said getting a petition signed will give her something to put in front of the committee before it votes. And, she said, getting TCU involved will help the petition carry more weight.

“I feel like our only chance of stopping this bill is to keep it in committee,” Mintz said. “As long as the committee votes to keep it on the floor, it will not be presented to the entire body.”

Adair said she got involved in the petition because the idea of guns on campus is scary.

“I’ve never been one to believe that you fight guns and violence with more guns and violence,” Adair said. “Adding more weapons or more dangerous things to the equation just seems to me that it would have the opposite effect.”

Mintz said she started talking to students most would consider politically apathetic to get a feel for the number of students who knew about the bill. She said several students she talked to knew nothing about the bill and wanted proof that it was actually moving through the legislature.

Adair said she was also surprised by the number of students who didn’t know about the bill, and though her intention is to stop the bill, she said she’s also just trying to raise awareness.

“It just seems like a very big issue for so few people to know about it,” Adair said.

Mintz said the only sort of gun support she ran into was from students who believed they should be allowed to carry guns, but not on campus.

Mintz said she has no problem with people carrying guns as long as she has the choice to avoid places where they are allowed, something that would not be the case on a college campus.

“I don’t have a choice,” she said. “I have to sit in my English class if I want to pass the class and graduate.”