Love it or hate it, campus carry is on the way, and leaders at the University of North Texas hope to be prepared.
On Tuesday night, students at UNT’s Denton campus attended the first of several public forums hosted by the university’s Campus Carry Task Force.
The task force is made up of about 23 members including students, faculty, staff members, police representatives and others selected by university leadership.
Headed by criminal justice professor and chair Dr. Eric Fritsch, the group is charged with hearing from the campus population about their thoughts on the new state law, helping to better educate on the topic and ultimately helping to develop UNT’s specific rules and ways of implementing the law when it goes into effect next August.
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"It's critically important because campus carry is a sensitive topic,” said Fritsch.
So far, members of the task force have created a website and began taking some comment from colleagues and others across UNT’s main campus and Discovery Park.
"I think most of what I'm hearing is anxiety from people,” said Fritsch. “We'll have to deal with the fear and I think that's part of what this committee's doing with the town halls."
Fritsch said they are stressing the safety measures in place, as well as the statistics showing the safety of concealed license holders and the successful implementation of similar laws in other states.
Student Government President Adam Alattry said there are strong emotions on both sides of the issue across campus and they want to see that this is handled with a level head.
"Ensure that our students, faculty and staff are all safe and we're still abiding by the law,” said Alattry.
Last year, UNT’s student government joined leadership organizations from other Texas colleges in opposing the campus carry bill and asking for more discretion by individual schools on what will be allowed.
Alattry said with the law’s passage, the campus will still have some local options, including the implementation of limited gun-free zones.
The group has several more public forums scheduled throughout October.
For a list and more information, they ask people go to campuscarry.unt.edu.