NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - With open-carry now almost a full month in effect here in Texas, the next gun legislation to go into place will be the campus carry laws.
That will begin August 1st and universities are currently in the process in drawing up rules to govern concealed weapons on campus. Regents, committees, even the Texas voter may influence upcoming policies.
Stephen F. Austin State University Board of Regent Chair Dr. Scott Coleman is preparing to abide by the campus concealed carry law, a piece of legislation he says no one of authority at SFA ever favored.
"Nobody here on the administration or from a regents stand point or faculty staff were really in favor of that, but that's the will of the Legislature," Coleman said.
Certainly, it was the will of Representative Travis Clardy. The Second Amendment supporter fought for the guns on campus law despite requests not to from SFA leaders.
"If we are being intellectually honest, there are guns on campus right now, with or without permits," Clardy said. "Again, I wish it was all books and no guns, but when we go to a process to allow that legally I think it's going to be a good thing."
Yet the "Texas Tribune" reported on Tuesday in Austin, Texas that lawmakers had to urge educators not to single out students with guns after some professors asked if they could require students with guns to sit in the back of their classroom, or ban guns altogether.
"This is in many respects, much ado about nothing," Clardy said.
That isn't necessarily the case with a campus concealed-carry committee hard pressed to make policy recommendations before SFA regents and administrators in April.
They've invited Clardy and others to a public forum.
"We want to know how everyone thinks about this, how everyone feels, so that way we can write appropriate recommendations for Dr. Patillo and the board," said Tristen Harris, SFA's student government president.
Another resource of opinion is a referendum on the Democratic ballot asking if the legislature should allow public institutions of higher education to opt out of the ability to carry guns on campus, like private universities.
Coleman, whose daughter attends SFA, likes the idea as a father and a regent.
"When you get down to it, it would be great if you could as a public university have some of the options that private ones do," Coleman said. "I'm always a big fan of us trying to do what we feel is best for our community, in this case, the university itself."
Dr. Baker Patillo. SFA's president, has reminded everyone that no matter their opinion about guns on campus, SFA's future policy will and must follow the campus concealed gun law. It won't be a campus known for testing the laws of Texas.
The forum on the campus concealed gun law is Wednesday, February 10 from 6 to 7 p.m. It will be held in the movie theatre on the second floor of the Baker Patillo Student Center.