By Megan Rule | Staff Writer
The Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) displayed its belief in the Second Amendment through a panel in Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation on Wednesday night, featuring speakers that strongly expressed their feelings about campus carry, which Baylor doesn’t have.
“I believe strongly in the second amendment,” said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara. “I believe in people having the right to protect themselves.”
The event featured McNamara, McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna and Baylor alumnus Zach Maxwell who currently works with Texas Legislature as a campaign manager for Republican State Representative Candidate Mike Lang.
The purpose of the panel was to learn the facts about gun violence and how it affects students, according to the event flyer. The speakers discussed the qualifications for concealed carry. McNamara said these qualifications include going through a class, being 21 years old, having a clean record with no felony conviction at all nor class A or B misdemeanors in the past five years.
“One of the biggest arguments that we get from campus officials is that this is a learning environment, and there are a lot of things we discuss that could get heated,” Maxwell said. “However, the Texas Capitol can get very heated, and there are a lot of representatives that carry on the House floor, and no one has ever gotten shot.”
Another big topic of discussion was the private versus public school rulings on concealed carry, because every private university in Texas opted out of open carry.
Reyna said signs that say concealed carry is not allowed provide a false sense of security. Maxwell suggested that if a university receives any type of government funding and government programs, such as Title IX, it may not be considered truly private and questioned its ability to opt out of government law.
“Part of the requirements of the carry include a provision that say you must be confident and strong in being able to carry that weapon in itself,” Reyna said when asked about the argument that students would sit and it would go off. “So that’s ridiculous; that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
The final big point discussed was the discussion of the age of citizens allowed to carry being lowered to 18. Reyna said the focus shouldn’t be on the age because individuals vary; all that is needed is to provide a level of displayed proficiency because of military people who are 18 and using more than just handguns. But, Reyna said they are being trained and have an ability to use those weapons.
“No one should have the right to say that we don’t have the right to protect ourselves,” McNamara said.
McKinney junior Jathan Young, chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas, said this panel is something that has been conducted in the past. Because of the shooter that was near campus about a month ago, Young said that the club members felt like this was something they really had to do. After getting in touch with the sheriff and district attorney, they decided to have a question-and-answer about campus carry. Young said the speakers were selected because they are big second amendment proponents, which goes along with a principle value of the Young Conservatives of Texas.
“I thought we really need to get the dialogue going here again,” Young said. He noted that even though Baylor opted out of campus carry, “we can still talk about it, and I think its really important to talk about still.”