WICHITA FALLS, TX - In just about four months, the new campus carry law will go into effect at universities across the state. Many schools have already released new guidelines for campus carry including designated gun-free zones.
Midwestern State University is finally joining that conversation after releasing a new list of recommendations and proposed policies. A campus carry task force was formed last year, and since then the 18-member group has finalized their recommendations and submitted them to MSU President Dr. Suzanne Shipley, according to Laura Fidelie, Associate Professor at MSU and leader of the current Campus Carry Task Force.
"It could help in terms of relieving some of the anxiety on campus," said Damian Desilva, a student at Midwestern State University. "That's a good thing."
Proposed recommendations of gun-free zones include:
-Areas used primarily for sporting events, UIL events, and the Redwine Wellness Center
- Vinson Health Center
- Gaines Dental Hygiene Clinic
- MSU Counseling Center
- West College of Education Counseling Center
- MSU Psychology Clinic
- Locations used for Pre-K through 12th grade activities, Camps on MSU Campus
- SAT/ACT Testing center
-MSU Testing Center
-Science Laboratory Area
- Onstage Areas in University Theatres
Many students said gun-free zones across campus may help ease fears of campus carry, especially at places like sporting events.
"It kind of makes sense simply because more people who are not students or faculty will be more likely to show up to these events and because people can get riled up at these events and emotions run a little high," said Desilva.
The recommendation proposal shows in most classes and residence halls, campus carry would be allowed for MSU students.
"To me, it makes sense that they would have campus carry in the residence hall because you know some people don't have cars, and where are they going to put the gun otherwise," said Aaron Stewart, an MSU student. "They have to bring it home sometimes."
While no gun storage will be provided to students living in a campus facility, students will have the opportunity to rent storage safes, according to Dr. Shipley in a letter released Monday. The document goes on to read that any student assigned to a residence hall room where a firearm is stored, may request to transfer rooms.
However, other students said they disagree with the new law regardless.
"I don't really agree very much with people being able to carry guns with them," said MSU student Pablo Soriano.
Soriano said the problem comes with monitoring the gun-free zones.
"There are areas where they are allowed to have them, so they are not going to say 'well I got to go to my car,' and you know, put it in there," he said.
Since those carrying the guns will be over the age of 21 and licensed to carry, monitoring those areas will be based on the honor system, according to MSU Police Chief Patrick Coggins.
Doctor Suzanne Shipley plans on appointing a small Campus Carry Implementation Task Force to implement the final policy, according to an email Shipley sent out Monday. On top of those gun-free zones, campus officials will work with the MSU Police Department to organize educational training for the campus community.
The recommendations above are not finalized. Doctor Shipley will soon meet with the faculty senate, staff senate, and student senate to gather feedback on those proposed changes. The final recommendation will be presented to the board of regents in May.