Panelists discuss concerns regarding open carry policy


Amarillo College’s Legal Society sponsored an open carry/campus carry discussion on the Downtown Campus April 22.The discussion included four panelists: Jim Bodkin, a state licensed LTC instructor; Sgt. Brent Barbee, a 37-year veteran of the Amarillo Police Department; David Kemp, first assistant county attorney for Potter County and an instructor at AC as well as at Wayland Baptist University; and Mike Warner, an attorney who has represented citizens and corporations throughout the Texas Panhandle of Texas and the city of Amarillo for the past 26 years.

The discussion covered topics concerning open carry laws that have changed recently in Texas as well as concerns about campus carry regarding the new laws. Each panelist shared his thoughts concerning the new laws and discussed how things will change as well as where students might see guns on campus. With that being said, the panelists addressed their beliefs that not much will change with the new laws.
Bodkin explained that in order for someone to open-carry in Texas, the person will have to obtain a CHL/TLC license.

It is a license for which the state “licenses individuals to carry handguns within Texas and evaluates the eligibility of applicants through criminal history, background checks and monitors those currently licensed to ensure their continued eligibility,” according to Along with that, an eligible applicant would need to be at least 21 years old.

All four of the panelists explained that although the state did make the legislative decision to allow open carry, it is up to the college as well as the college board to make the executive decision to allow guns on campus.

Barbee and Bodkin explained that in order for the school to indicate where the guns are not permitted, signs would have to be posted correctly in accordance with the new laws.

Kemp said he was upset that state officials felt they knew what is best for students when in fact, he believes the colleges know what is best for their students.

AC has yet to make a decision on where to allow guns on campus. The school has until Aug. 1, 2017, to make the decision of whether to have a gun-free campus or to have gun- free zones. Either way, administrators will have to take the necessary actions regarding correct signs to carry out the policy.

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