(Background: On August 1, the State of Texas Campus Carry law goes into affect for four-year colleges and universities. The law allows persons over 21 who have received training and gained a concealed carry permit to carry concealed handguns at most places on state campuses. Universities are allowed to set a minimum number of gun-free zones on campus. Open carry of handguns is not permitted.)
The System Regents at the University of Texas at Austin have decided to give faculty and staff at their 14 campuses the option of banning guns from their individual private offices when the state’s campus carry law goes into effect. The regents, however, voted down a proposal from UT-Austin President Greg Fenves that would have banned handguns with a loaded chamber. Fenves argued that the “chambered-round” provision, which would have prohibited people carrying on campus from keeping a bullet in their gun chambers, was needed to prevent guns from accidentally discharging. However, the Texas State Rifle Association, argued in testimony that the provision would contribute to more confusion and hence, less safety among licensees.”
Last week, three professors filed a suit against the university and the state claiming the new campus carry law is forcing schools to impose “dangerously-experimental gun policies” that violate the First and Second Amendments. The professors — Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter, say they teach courses that deal with emotional issues and guns in the classroom could stifle discussion, which they claim is a violation of their First Amendment rights and academic freedom.
The group “Students for Concealed Carry” called the arguments raised in the suit “absurd.” A spokesperson for the group said that the suit’s claim that the law is “dangerously experimental” is “on its face, laughable,” citing the fact that campus carry is now allowed on more than 100 college campuses nationwide.