I spent much of today preparing for and participating in a panel discussion on Texas SB 11, the Campus Carry bill, that passed in the 2015 session. Hosted by NEW Leadership Texas, the panel discussion helped participants (women currently enrolled in college) get a better sense as to the pros and cons of SB 11, which they will be debating in a mock legislative format over the next few days.
Karl Rehn at KR Training asked me to represent his organization at the panel discussion. Although I didn't actively lobby the bill, I did follow it closely out of curiosity (and to help break the monotony of monitoring insurance legislation - sometimes it's fun to track on a non-insurance bill if for no other reason to remind you that there are other issues consuming the Legislature's time).
The participants were very engaged in the panel discussion, which featured myself, campus carry activist Antonia Okafor (a very impressive lady in her own right) of Students for Concealed Carry, along with opponents of campus carry (including a state legislator staffer and a University of Texas college professor) and a member of the media.
The audience leaned left of center, although there were at least two license to carry (LTC) holders in the group. They were very engaging and willing to listen to opposing viewpoints in a respectful way. Likewise, the panelists were respectful of each other despite the significant difference of opinion among us.
I wanted to share a few observations with you regarding my time on the panel:
Experiences like this - where we get out of our echo chamber and hear what the other side is thinking - are necessary if we're to advance a culture of preparedness. I fully encourage those in the preparedness community to get out and start talking about preparedness with those who may not be that excited about the subject. Building the culture will require such efforts.
Here's where I tell you what I think about things I think about.