Dallas community colleges prepare for campus carry

Two-year community colleges in Texas are now preparing to draft rules and regulations as concealed carry becomes a reality for the campuses later this year.

Concealed carry was implemented last August for all public four-year colleges and universities in the state.

The Dallas County Community College District is gathering input from everyone affiliated with its seven campuses.

During an open forum Tuesday at the Mountain View College, students and staff discussed the differences between two and four-year colleges and universities when it comes to concealed carry.

One of the requirements to have a license to carry is people must be 21 years old. Many students in four-year universities are not even old enough to have an LTC compared to a community college, where the average age is 26.

While community colleges are smaller, they could potentially have more concealed carry students on campus.

Forums like the one at Mountain View College are taking place at all seven DCCCD community college campuses in Dallas County. The goal is to get input from students, faculty and staff members on how to establish reasonable rules and regulations for campus carry.

"We haven't developed the rules and regulations,” said DCCCD General Counsel Rob Wendland. “We don't have a preconceived notion about what they are."

It's an exchange of ideas, information and concerns from everyone involved.

"I think it's not a good idea carrying a gun on campus,” said student Mishan Devkot.

Good idea or not, concealed carry will become a reality on two-year colleges across the state in August. Some students want to know who will be carrying.

"Like people who aren't allowed to conceal can still do it,” said student Brenda Perales. “And there's no way of knowing who's allowed to because there's no registry. Nobody's keeping count."

"The law does not permit us to identify who has a concealed handgun license or a license to carry,” said Wendland.

Gun-free zones are part of the debate. Some want them in teacher lounges, libraries or even cafeterias.

Student Chris Medina opposes gun-free zones.

"Personally, I wouldn't because that's a pretty easy target for people who want to do harm to those around them,” he said.

While there will be disagreements, Wendland says the participation is an important part of finding the right balance of safety and gun rights.

"We are getting very much input,” he said. “And we certainly value every bit of input that we get because that's going to form the foundation for our rules and regulations."

Forums on each of the campuses will continue for the next two weeks. The district is also mailing out a survey to all the students, faculty and staff before drafting the rules and regulations.

A formal vote is expected in June. The law takes effect August 1.

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