At Baylor, Concealed Carry Debate Heats Up

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

WACO (February 27, 2013)--A bill recently authored by Texas Senator Brian Birdwell, is causing some controversy on Baylor's campus.

In late January, Senate Bill 182 was filed in the Texas Legislature. If passed, it would allow CHL holders to conceal and carry firearms on a majority of college campuses in Texas.

Yet, when tenured Baylor Professor Blake Burleson read the bill, he cried foul.

"When it came up, me and another professor felt like we had to say something," Burleson said.

A week after the bill was filed, Burleson and 120 Baylor professors signed a petition opposing the bill, and hand delivered it to Senator Birdwell's office.

The bill has since gathered over 150 signatures.

"We haven't asked for this bill, we don't think it's a good idea, and we don't think Senator Birdwell is listening to us," Burleson added.

Under the bill's language, Baylor would have the option of allowing or prohibiting the right to conceal and carry on its campus.

NRA Pistol Instructor and Baylor student Steven Dowell feels students should have the right to carry on campus.

Dowell lives near campus, and in December of 2013 his house was burglarized.

"I make a commute to campus that goes through neighborhoods where there are crimes that happen every day," Dowell said.

"As a CHL holder, I'm using my 1st amendment right as well. Except I'm supporting the 2nd amendment as it stands," Dowell said.

A similar bill allowing conceal and carry on campuses died in the Texas Legislature in 2011.

If SB 182 passes, Burleson hopes Baylor will choose not to partake. "We don't want our classroom interrupted in the sense of having somebody afraid of someone else, or God forbid for something that happened with a firearm," Burleson said.

Dowell, on the other hand, hopes for a different outcome.

"They are putting up a sign that says 'we are the only gun free campus,'" Dowell said. "Criminals are going to notice that."

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