The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

SGA forum to weigh student opinion on concealed carry

By James Ratcliff/@JamesR5767

The Student Government Association at Texas A&M-San Antonio will host a concealed carry forum 6 p.m. March 19 at the Main Campus Auditorium.

SGA President Andres Holliday said the forum provides students and other community members the opportunity to learn more about concealed carry on university campuses.

The Mesquite reported Feb. 4 that SGA plans to use the forum to gauge the university community’s positions on Senate Bill 11.

The last time a concealed carry forum was held at this university was in March 2011 organized and hosted by the Political Science Club. Also student led, the forum was advertised across campus as a neutral forum to help students learn about proposed House Bill 86 and Senate Bill 354.

SB 11, filed Jan. 26 during the 84th Legislative session, relates to the carrying of handguns on institutions of higher education.

“If Senate Bill 11 passes, we’re going to be looking at more … firearms accessible to students,” Holliday said. “You’re looking at a whole different campus, and not just for safety concerns. Not every student knows the cost that goes into it.”

The forum is sponsored by the university, the Alamo Pachyderm Club, and Americans for Prosperity.

The Alamo Pachyderm Club is Republican group with programs centered around government and politics.

“The Alamo Pachyderm Club will provide pamphlets concerning the Senate Bill and about what concealed carry is,” Holliday said. “Americans for Prosperity will look at the fiscal side of the issue and provide some beverages.”

Holliday said the moderator includes either the president of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, or a professor from the political science department.

Holliday said neither moderators nor speakers have been confirmed as of March 5.

The Student Senate at Texas A&M-College Station passed a measure allowing for concealed carry. However, the measure cannot be enforced on any private or public educational institution until the passage of SB 11.

The bill passed the Senate panel on Feb. 12, alongside SB 17, an open carry measure. However, as of March 3, neither bill is up for discussion on the Senate floor.

In a March 5 email University spokeswoman Marilu Reyna said the university’s official position is that “Texas A&M-San Antonio will implement and enforce any law that is passed by the State Legislature regarding this matter.”

“The Texas A&M University System has taken strides into this,” Holliday said. “I find it vital for students to talk about it and allow all the A&M System members to Skype in and watch the forum.”

The forum will consist of a set of questions and facts, with pros and cons for each side, Holliday said. He also said that questions will be taken from a moderator as well as the audience.

The forum is free and open to the public. For more information, email or call (210) 784-1333.

Updated 2:19 p.m. March 18:   SGA President Andres Holliday said Al Arreola Jr., president and CEO of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, will serve as moderator. Holliday also said state representative Mike Villarreal tentatively will make an appearance at the forum to speak in opposition of the concealed carry measure. The Americans for Prosperity dropped sponsorship for the event.

About the Author

James Ratcliff
James Ratcliff is a senior reporter for The Mesquite. James is a communications major and an English minor. He wrote previously for The Pulse at Palo Alto College. He also has experience covering high school football for different publications. In addition to his work, James is an avid gamer and sports fan.

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