Amarillo, TX - A controversial new gun policy is coming to area colleges.
The Texas Association of Community Colleges went to battle for Amarillo College and others across the state to stop the 'campus carry' bill. However, their efforts failed and Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law. This means students with a concealed handgun licence can soon bring their guns onto campus.
Although AC was not rooting for campus carry to pass, now that it is law school officials are figuring out how they will comply with the required change.
"We always considered at the community college level that we were a safe haven and we really didn't expect for people to carry guns on our campus," said Ellen Robertson Green, AC's vice president of communications and marketing. "But now that they will be able to, we'll have to do a lot of training and just look at our own facilities and see how we can deal with that."
A provision of the bill allows colleges to create "gun free" zones but they cannot designate the entire campus as "gun free."
AC now has until 2017 to determine where those gun free zones will be. "The lawmakers have given us two years to figure this out and we are grateful for that time," said Robertson Green.
The college will use that time to work with the Texas Association of Community Colleges and the Higher Education Coordinating Board to create a plan. "They are going to write some guidelines and some polices and we'll certainly look toward them," said Robertson Green. "I'm sure we'll be getting with other community colleges to see what their guidelines and what their polices will be."
Students at AC shared mixed feelings about the future of guns on campus. "Some people may try to abuse the use of carrying firearms. They may try to use it when it is not necessary," said David Soundara.
Deedee Leal disagrees. "I feel like we should have a right to carry. It's just how crazy this world is getting. You can't go to your car by yourself even in the daytime. It's pretty scary so I do think we should have a right to be able to take care of ourselves."
Not all college students will be able to carry on campus. You still must be 21-years-old to obtain a concealed handgun license.