SMU Debate, Student Senate host forum on campus carry

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SMU Debate, in conjunction with Student Senate, hosted a public forum on campus carry Monday night.

During the last Texas legislative session, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 11, commonly known as the “campus carry” law. The law allows anyone with a concealed handgun license to carry their weapon on public university campuses. Private universities can choose to opt-out of the law, which fully goes into effect Aug. 1, 2016.

Recently, both TCU and Rice universities have opted-out of the campus carry law. SMU is still in the process of gathering opinions from students, faculty and staff.

This week, Student Senate dispersed its own survey on the issue in a campus-wide email. Last month, SMU President R. Gerald Turner asked for opinions on campus carry from the campus community.

The forum began with opening statements from two SMU debate team members: Hallie Hovey-Murray arguing in favor of campus carry, and Noshin Kuraishi arguing against it. Both sides stressed safety on campus.

“We are all at risk to be victims of a campus shooting or to be victims of a violent crime,” Hovey-Murray said.

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Kuraishi argued that in the event of an active shooter on campus, it may be difficult for the police to determine who the initial perpetrator is.

“You provide the perpetrator an easy way out,” she said. “How will the police determine who shot first? Guns are not the way to make things safer.”

Then, audience members were asked to offer their opinions.

“The only place I think I might need a gun is to walk home,” senior Ashly Brown said. “It won’t help on campus. I wouldn’t have time to pull it out should something happen. It’s 100 percent unnecessary.”

Students against campus carry also argued that opting-in to the law might dissuade out-of-state students from applying to SMU.

“Everywhere else in Texas I can carry a gun,” senior Clifford Loomis countered. “You got too many places that allow me to have a gun. Why should that be any different on a college campus?”

Those in support of the law raised an issue against the idea that self-defense classes can offer an alternative to campus carry. Several students stated that a gun would dispose of a potential shooter much faster and more safely than a physical attack would.

Students can still submit their opinions on campus carry through the end of the semester. Student Senate’s survey will be available online until midnight on Dec. 14. SMU’s comment form is also still available to students, faculty and staff. The deadline for opting out of campus carry is Aug. 1, 2016.

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