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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

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Texas Senate may override SGA on gun issue


UH is standing strong against guns, but a bill in the Texas Senate may make that stance void.

In the Student Government Association, senators reaffirmed their opposition to allowing weapons on campus by passing a resolution with a vote of 16 to 3. However, in January, a bill was filed in the Texas Senate that would allow licensed owners to bring concealed handguns on university campuses. If passed, universities would not be allowed to prohibit carrying on campus.

“The intention of the bill before the Texas Senate is one thing, but the impact would be quite another. We could expect more small disputes to be resolved with guns rather than words or fists, as we saw in the recent Lone Star College shooting,” said Carol Ann Ross, a graduate student in the Graduate College of Social Work and the author of the bill.

“With our vote, the UH SGA has joined a number of other SGAs in Texas who have expressed similar opposition to allowing concealed weapons on their campuses. Student body President (Cedric) Bandoh was a sponsor of the resolution, so he will sign it and shepherd it through university channels on its way to the Texas state legislature.”

UH police chief Ceaser Moore spoke before voting took place at the senate meeting, offering any additional insight he could before SGA made their final decision.

“If you allow more handguns on campus you’re going to have situations where people mistake someone pulling out their handgun or situations where guns are lost, situations where people are involved in conflicts and those guns will escalate those conflicts,” Moore said.

Just before leaving for Spring Break, UH students and faculty faced a gun scare when a student mistook a barcode scanner for a weapon. Text alerts were sent out and people were advised to avoid the area until the situation had cleared.

“I think the underlying fear that universities are so unsafe that students must carry weapons for protection does not match the facts,” Ross said.

“Some students do feel unsafe on campus, particularly at night, but the reality is that crime is actually lower on the UH campus than in most of our own neighborhoods. The disconnect between perceived and actual risk of crime is really at the heart of the concealed weapons issue.”

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