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EPCC to consider ‘Gun Free Zones’ for when Campus Carry takes effect

Beginning August 1, 2017, Texas Senate Bill 11 (“Campus Carry”) will allow individuals who hold a concealed handgun license to carry a concealed handgun on Texas public community college campuses.

El Paso Community College will hold a series of public forums prior the the implementation of the law to provide information and answer questions from the community.

EPCC is also considering designating certain areas “Gun Free Zones”. It will be taking suggestions from the community about which areas that should be given that designation.

“Right now, we’re looking at the areas where the early college high schools are because different laws apply,” said Jose Ramirez, Chief of Police at EPCC. “We’re also thinking about some of the classrooms that contain chemicals.”

EPCC said other considerations are daycares, art classrooms because of chemical materials and appliances, and culinary art rooms because of all the ovens and appliances.

Ramirez said the college has established a 14-person gun task force that will be reviewing all the input given at meetings. He said the task force will then put together a report where it will compare and analyze along with the law. The report will then be presented to the EPPC President and the Board of Trustees.

From there, the college will decide which locations will be designated a “Gun Free Zone”.

Ramirez told ABC-7 it will be hard to predict just how many licensed faculty and students will be carrying a gun once the law goes into effect. He reminded that only licensed gun carriers will be allowed to conceal carry on campus.

Georgina Borrego, with the Center for Students with Disabilities, is planning to attend a public forum. “I think it (“Campus Carry”) will be dangerous to the students because you don’t know how they (gun carriers) will react to situations,” Borrego told ABC-7.

Maria Gomez, a faculty member at EPCC, said the new law also causes her concern. Gomez said the new law limits faculty from being free to discuss certain topics in class.

“Faculty are concerned about bringing up controversial issues that could arouse the anger of someone to the point that they will reveal that they are armed,” said Gomez.

She added, “I do believe in the second amendment and I do believe that people that have their weapons are law abiding citizens. But I’m concerned about another person who might not be carrying a weapon but is aware of the presence of a weapon and can have access to it in our campus. And I’m worried about that person…not about the one that is a law abiding, responsible gun carrier”.

If you are interested in attending and giving your input, EPCC will be holding future public forums at:

Mission del Paso (A-134) 4/5/2016 10 a.m – 12 p.m.
Mission del Paso (A-134)) 4/6/2016 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Northwest (Library) 4/7/2016 10 a.m – 12 p.m.
Northwest (Library) 4/8/2016 11 a.m. – 1 p.m

Rio Grande (A-119) 4/12/2016 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Rio Grande (A-119) 4/13/2016 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

ASC (Boardroom) – Livestreamed Session 4/12/2016 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
ASC (Boardroom) 4/25/2016 11 a.m. – 1 p.m

Valle Verde (Annex) 4/19/2016 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Valle Verde (Annex) 4/20/2016 11 a.m. – 1 p.m

Transmountain (1307) 4/26/2016 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Transmountain (1307) 4/27/2016 11 a.m. – 1 p.m

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