According to the Battalion, the Personal Protection Act was passed Wednesday with a vote of 39 for, 12 against and six abstaining. It states that those with a valid concealed carry license should be able to carry a handgun in buildings on campus for self defense.
The act does not change Texas A&M policy or state law, which bars concealed handguns in buildings on college campuses. It does, however, call on campus administrators and state lawmakers to act on behalf of the Student Government Association, the Battalion noted.
“I have gone from being against the issue and of the position of vetoing the bill to now signing it and being in favor of concealed carry on campus,” Kelly said. “Part of that is because what I have learned through the process that I didn’t know — I am a student, I am an engineer, I am not a politician. I love Texas A&M and so I was not an expert on this complicated issue, but from what I have learned about it I do think that it would be a great thing from a rights — but most importantly public safety — standpoint.”
Bolstering personal protection and safety for students on campus was the impetus behind the passage of this act, Kelly said.
“Texas A&M is one of the safest campuses in the country,” Kelly said. “What we are dealing with are limitations of timing in most scenarios where there is no time to respond if they are not immediately at the scene. This is no discredit to [law enforcement] and the job that they do. It is a safe campus and they do a phenomenal job. This is just something where we feel like it would be safer if those rights we have in the general public were consistent on campus.”
As the Battalion reports, the act is simply designed to continue the conversation about concealed carry on campus. Texas A&M, and indeed, Texas in general, is still a ways off from legally allowing concealed carry handguns inside campus buildings.
“More than anything I just want to continue discussion, in the coming days I am open to meeting and talking and can be contacted through email,” Kelly said. “Understanding of the issue and how it directly pertains to Texas A&M is important, and I would encourage people to do their own research.”