Valley Residents Divided In Gun Debate

Tim Goral's picture

A recent poll found more South Texas College students are against concealed handguns on campus than support the idea, but it remains to be seen whether packing heat on campus will become a reality.

For the last few legislative sessions, Texas lawmakers have filed bills that would allow concealed handguns on college or university campuses. Two such pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 182 and House Bill 972, remain in committee.

The survey, conducted by the college’s Student Government Association in direct response to House Bill 972, found 65 percent of students oppose allowing concealed handguns on campus. Of the college’s 30,000 students, 558 participated in the survey.

Meanwhile, the McAllen/Hidalgo County Tea Party Association hosted the Texas school superintendent this past week who created the “Guardian Plan” — a policy that has allowed some teachers to carry weapons at the rural Harrold school district since 2007.

“The general consensus is that students would feel unsafe, and many worry that it would affect their everyday life on campus,” said Denisse Carreon, president of the college’s student government at the Mid-Valley campus, according to a statement about the poll released Monday. “Of course, there are those that are for concealed handguns on campus, but they are in the minority.”

The college was the site of a fatal shooting more than a decade ago said Paul Varville, the college’s director of safety and security. In 1998, two people believed to be in the country illegally targeted cashiers as they accepted tuition money, he said. The men shot and killed an armed security guard after he drew his weapon. Varville said the suspects fled to Mexico and have not been caught.

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