Press release fromMadison D. Welch, Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC):
AUSTIN, TX – Retired Navy SEAL turned University of Texas Chancellor William H. McRaven may be an expert on the use of firearms in combat, but he has repeatedly demonstrated that Texas’s concealed carry laws fall outside that area of expertise. According to the UT-Texas student newspaper The Daily Texan, Admiral McRaven—speaking at a March 31 conference—criticized pending legislation to legalize the licensed concealed carry of handguns on Texas college campuses, stating . . .
“I think what will happen over time [is] we will begin to have a little bit of a barricade mentality … because, frankly, we’ll have to make sure that students carrying those weapons — well you’re going to have to check your gun at certain areas where you’re not allowed to carry those.”
The suggestion that students would need to be screened for weapons or that concealed handgun license (CHL) holders would need to check their handguns demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of not only how concealed carry laws are implemented throughout the rest of Texas but also of what those laws currently say . . .
Throughout Texas, there are shopping malls and retail centers where licensed concealed carry is allowed in most businesses but prohibited (either by statute or by choice) in a few. A bar where concealed carry is statutorily prohibited or a jewelry store where the owner has made the choice to prohibit concealed carry isn’t required to screen patrons for or provide safe storage for handguns.
As would be the case at prohibited locations on college campuses, those businesses are simply required to post signs informing patrons that licensed concealed carry is not allowed on the premises. As with most concealed carry laws, the burden of compliances is borne by the license holder.
If Admiral McRaven is so concerned about making sure students don’t carry guns into gun-free-zones, why does the entire University of Texas System currently operate on an honor-system-based gun-free policy? Given that licensed concealed carry is currently legal on most of UT-Austin’s forty acres—including in any parking lot, parking garage, walkway, sidewalk, street, or other publicly accessible outdoor area—shouldn’t the UT System already have weapons checks at the entrances to campus buildings? Because Texas colleges cannot prohibit licensed students from keeping handguns in their private vehicles parked on campus, doesn’t Admiral McRaven’s logic dictate that students should be searched as soon as they step out of their cars?
University buildings located outside the main campus are sometimes not readily identifiable as being owned or operated by an institution of higher education, yet Admiral McRaven and the state’s other university administrators apparently believe that CHL holders follow the law at those locations. Therefore, doesn’t it stand to reason that CHL holders would follow the law at the handful of on-campus locations that, under the proposed law, would be easily identified by the required signage?
Madison Welch, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “Why does Admiral McRaven feel that an honor-system-based gun-free policy is sufficient if it covers all campus buildings but insufficient if it covers just a few well-marked locations such as hospitals, K-12 schools, and sporting events?”
Admiral McRaven’s comment about a “barricade mentality” isn’t the first time he has demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of licensed concealed carry. During a February 5 event hosted by the Texas Tribune, Admiral McRaven asked, “If you’re in a heated debate with somebody in the middle of a classroom, and you don’t know whether or not that individual is carrying, how does that inhibit the interaction between students and faculty?”
This ignores the fact that, in the absence of metal detectors at every entrance to every campus building, students and faculty already don’t know if someone is carrying a gun. All they know for sure is that the people concerned with obeying the law aren’t carrying guns. And according to statistics, the people concerned with obeying the law aren’t the ones students and faculty need to worry about.
Madison Welch noted, “When you consider that Texas concealed handgun license holders are convicted of violent crimes at approximately 20% the rate of the general population; that licensed concealed carry is already allowed in Texas churches, Texas office buildings, and even the Texas Capitol; and that any person unconcerned with following the rules can just as easily walk into a college classroom carrying a backpack full of guns as carrying a backpack full of books, the suggestion that classroom debates are sufficient reason to prohibit licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses is patently absurd.
I respect Admiral McRaven’s service to his country, and I respect that he is trying to back the men and women under his command, but his arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny.”