When I first came to A&M in August of 2008, I had plans to join a lot of different organizations to occupy my free time, but I never knew what organizations I would eventually settle into. While walking across A&M’s campus on April 16th I came across five students holding signs, protesting HB1893, which would allow concealed carry on campus. I was confused as to why anyone would be against such a logical bill that would essentially legalize self-defense on campus. I argued with the protesters for over an hour until they no longer wished to discuss the issue. I was amazed and appalled that they would choose the anniversary of the Virginia Tech Massacre for their protest and it was clear that those who supported the bill were respectful enough to not protest on this day. I was even more amazed at the illogical reasons I was given for these five to oppose concealed carry on campus.
I have seen lives saved through concealed carry and it’s a topic very dear to my heart. I was so impassioned and frustrated that day that I searched for a pro-concealed carry group on the internet until I came across a group called “Texas A&M Students for Concealed Carry on Campus” on facebook, run at that time by Derek Titus. I read over the page and messaged Derek, asking when they were handing out fliers again. He informed me of the empty holster protest on April 24th. I attended the group picture four days later on April 20th, 2009, strapped on my empty holster, and handed out fliers on April 24th, 2009, where we were interviewed by KBTX. At the time, the facebook group had 126 members and it was very loosely organized with a handful of people helping out.
I got together with Derek and started messaging those who I saw at the protest, asking if they would like to be officers in TAMU SCC. I was appointed Vice Chairman by Derek and both of us soon drew up an official structure for TAMU SCC with our five first officers. We started working together, planning out how to run TAMU SCC and how to get concealed carry on campus passed. We started posting flyers and began the process to become an official student organization. We became official in April of 2010. Our membership skyrocketed and donations started coming in soon after. By 2011 we had over 2,000 members, 6 officers, 10 assistant officers, and a decent amount of funds in our account.
I have to admit that it wasn’t easy, but it’s truly amazing what can be accomplished with a couple of dedicated leaders and some hard work.
Chase Jennings is the former Texas State Director for SCC. He currently serves as a senior advisor in Texas and as the Campus Leader for Texas A&M University.