As of Aug.1, a new state law now gives college students with concealed carry licenses permission to walk onto most Texas college campuses with their firearms.
The ‘Campus Carry‘ law spearheaded by Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican party allows 21-year-old students with concealed gun licenses onto all public colleges and universities. Private schools and two-year community colleges will have those same privileges next year.
The law covers only handguns, which includes a pistol and revolver. Rifles and shotguns are banned on campuses.
There are some restricted areas where students with concealed weapons will not be allowed to carry their firearms. The concealed carry of handguns is prohibited in sports facilities, patient-care areas as well as research laboratories.
Today’s date marks a violent history for the Texan community. It was 50 years ago to the date when a student by name of Charles Whitman took cover on the clock tower deck at the University of Texas at Austin and opened fire on students and staff. The 25-year old Marine and engineering student shot 49 people in total, 16 fatally.
In April, three University of Texas professors sued the school and state, calling for a federal judge to block the implementation of the law.
Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter felt that as professors who teach sensitive and controversial topics, the allowance of guns into the classroom will hinder free and open class discussions—a violation of the First Amendment right.
“Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom,” the lawsuit read.
Though University of Texas President Gregory Fenves was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, he’s spoken publicly about his opposition to guns on college campuses.
“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” Fenves said in a statement. “I empathize with the many faculty members, staffers, students and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms.”
Fenves added, “As a professor, I understand the deep concerns raised by so many. However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law.”
There’s been a string of mass shootings, including some on college campuses across the nation. The most recent occurred in June when Mainak Sarkar stormed a UCLA building and fatally shot William Klug. Sarkar intended to gun down another professor, but wasn’t on campus. Sarkar committed suicide.