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UTEP holds protest against new campus carry law

10.19.15 "Guns free UTEP"

EL PASO, TX. - A group of UTEP students and professors held a rally to protest the new campus carry law in Texas.

The new law would allow students with concealed handgun permits to take their weapon into the classroom starting next August at 4-year colleges.

State Senator Jose Rodriguez was also at the rally. Students and professors say that knowing some students may be armed will lead to a stressful atmosphere.

"I really don't want to get up in front of my students and have to worry about what their intentions are when reaching inside their backpacks, said Corine Ramos, a psychology professor. "I just want to come to school and teach and learn and I just don't want to teach in fear."

Ramos was one of about 40 students who gathered in Leech Grove at the center of the campus carrying signs opposing the new law.

Protesters told ABC-7 they believe the change will increase fear and anxiety at the university. With universities already being full of stress, some students said they do not need that anxiety to be increased by firearms.

Not just anyone can apply for a concealed weapons permit. Those applying have to undergo a rigorous criminal and financial background checks by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The Texas Medical Review Board also checks to see if applicants are on medication that might affect their basic daily activities.

Proponents argue the threat of armed students on campus would discourage would-be campus shooters and at the same time, allow responsible gun owners a chance to defend themselves.

The law allows colleges to designate gun-free zones within the campus, which can include daycare centers and certain labs.

The protest comes on the eve of a town hall meeting of UTEP's Campus Concealed Carry Task Force. Here are the scheduled meetings:

Tuesday, October 20 at 1:30 p.m. in the Union Cinema, Union East Building
Wednesday, October 21 at noon in the Union Cinema, Union East Building
Wednesday, October 28 at 5:30 p.m. in the Tomás Rivera Conference Center, Union East Building

For more information,  (link) www.utep.edu/campuscarry


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