Speakers and students gathered at a Texas Christian University forum on October 22 for an open debate on whether to allow concealed firearms on campus, reports The Texas Tribune:

The session was hosted by TCU’s College Republicans as part of conservative women leaders group Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute’s Texas Women’s Summit and featured speakers state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Fort Worth, and sexual assault survivor Amanda Collins.

"Guns are thought of as scary," said Lydia Longoria, TCU College Republicans treasurer and a concealed handgun license holder. "It's a tool women can use to protect themselves. I've learned what it means to own a gun, have a gun and the respect that comes with having it."

The event came as TCU is deciding whether to opt out of Senate Bill 11, the campus carry law passed this spring that requires public colleges and universities to allow people with handgun licenses to carry their weapons at school starting Aug. 1. The administration is soliciting feedback from the community until the end of the month, after which the school’s board of trustees is expected to make a decision.

Women comprise a majority on TCU’s campus, and TCU had eleven reported sexual assaults on campus last year. Longoria, an organizer of the forum, invited CBLPI speaker Amanda Collins to share her experience on a gun-free campus.

Eight years ago Thursday, Collins was sexually assaulted in a campus parking garage, she said. A graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, she detailed her sexual assault at the hands of a gunman on her campus. Collins said had she had her gun — which she had left at home because the campus was a gun-free zone — she might have stopped her attacker and prevented future attacks.

Collins said a college campus should not be seen as a place with easy targets nor a place where the Second Amendment is denied.

"How does rendering me defenseless protect you?" Collins said she asks supporters of opting out of the campus carry law.

Many private college campuses in Texas are currently “weighing the decision of whether to opt out” of SB 11.

Leaders from Trinity University in San Antonio, Austin College in Sherman and Paul Quinn College in Dallas said during the Texas Tribune Festival that their campuses likely will opt out next year. Rice University President David Leebron said discussion is still happening at his school.

At TCU, students, faculty and staff governmental bodies have offered opinions, the university has held forums and debates and an email account for comments has been set up. Which way the campus will go is still unknown, a representative for the university said.