Licensing course prepares people to handle guns with safety, skill

Victoria Pagan

As state legislators take up the issue of concealed carry on campus this session, 66 people are one step closer to receiving their concealed handgun licenses.

Michael Cargill, UT Students for Concealed Carry on Campus and a Department of Public Safety certified instructor, hosted a concealed handgun licensing course for the second consecutive year, said the group’s vice president Kory Zipperer.

The course consisted of two parts: an interactive shooting session at the gun range and a classroom course at UT, Cargill said. To receive a concealed handgun license, an individual must be 21 years old, pass mental health and criminal background checks, and attend an instructional course in which students must pass a shooting proficiency test and a written test with 70-percent accuracy.

Cargill said the courses are important for distributing accurate information about gun usage and for certifying people who intend to use guns.

”I listened to the different arguments going back and forth, and I noticed that people had information that was incorrect about the laws of the state of Texas,” he said. “I wanted people to get the facts straight.”

Cargill said he has heard people say they are concerned about students with guns being allowed into bars on campus. He said according to Texas law, permit holders are not allowed to carry in places where 51 percent of the revenue comes from alcohol sales.

Zipperer said he is glad the class size went up by 11 students from last year and that all students were able to pass both parts of the course.

“Guns are great when they are in the hands of sane people,” Zipperer said. “I mean that’s kind of the basic principle. Law abiding, really balanced people. And those are the people that are in this class right now.”

Zipperer said he feels Collin Goddard, a gunshot victim of a the Virginia Tech shooting, overestimates the role of the gun in shootings.

“We think he just goes about it wrong,” Zipperer said. “We think he blames the gun and not the perpetrators. I think that goes for a lot of people on the other side. They blame the gun and not the opponents.”

Earlier this month, Goddard lobbied at the Capitol against the proposed legislation.

“There need to be many other steps before we consider this legislation,” Goddard said. “Options, such as providing locks on the inside of doors to protect classrooms, is a good step toward making campuses safer places
for everyone.”

Pamela Neumann, a Latin American studies graduate student, said she does not support the bill aimed at allowing concealed weapons to be carried on campus.

“I believe this is an important issue, and students’ voices need to be heard by our legislators since this law puts our entire University community at greater risk,” Neumann said.