The University of Texas (UT) has been in the uncomfortable position (for them) of being required to allow concealed handguns on campus. This has caused much agita among the professors, some of whom have taken to the streets to protest this latest reinstatement of Americans’ Constitutional rights. UT formed a committee to determine which areas would be ruled “off limits” for concealed carry. The fear: the entire campus would be included in this gun control loophole. The final report is out, and the result? Classrooms ARE NOT gun free zones any longer. From the report . . .
Our examination of states that already have campus carry revealed little evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to campus carry, and none that involves an intentional shooting. We learned of four accidental discharge incidents. Two involved a license holder who was openly displaying a handgun to another person; the other two involved license holders who were carrying their handguns unholstered in their pants pocket.
We found that the evidence does not support the claim that a causal link exists between campus carry and an increased rate of sexual assault. We found no evidence that campus carry has caused an increase in suicide rates on campuses in other states.
In other words, the idea that concealed carry on campus will lead to “blood running in the streets” has no factual basis. The notion that the fears of some people on campus trump the rights of others doesn’t seem to have carried the day. As for their actual recommendations, the news is a mixed bag.
The committee determined that firearms must either be carried on the person (in a belt holster or similar, or in a bag that is within immediate reach) or securely locked in vehicles. The biggest wrinkle: while carrying on campus, UT demands that semi-auto handguns MAY NOT have a round chambered while being carried. How UT would enforce this requirement is anyone’s guess.
When it comes to locations where handguns are prohibited, the recommendations put any location involving students of lower education (K through 12) is off limits. That includes day care and collegiate sporting events. Another prohibited location: anywhere disciplinary hearings are being held, or places where volatile chemicals are in use (like laboratories).
On-campus housing is also on the prohibition list – except for the parents of students and “common areas.” Offices are up to the individual staff member’s preference. Classrooms had been the biggest area of contention, and it looks like they have sided with the pro-gun argument. From the report:
The Working Group is aware of, and sympathetic to, the overwhelming sentiment on campus that concealed carry should not be permitted in classrooms. Every member of the Working Group – including those who are gun owners and license holders – thinks it would be best if guns were not allowed in classrooms. Nevertheless, the Working Group does not recommend that classrooms should be designated a gun-exclusion zone.
In general it looks like this is a rather fair and balanced outcome for gun rights. Universities are locations where there is a large and vocal group of people who are very scared about concealed carry being allowed. The working group has done their best to allow as much concealed carry as possible while still giving professors who might have the vapors some room to impose their own gun free zones.
The most baffling thing: the prohibition against carrying handguns with a live round in the chamber, and again, how the UT system intends to enforce this rule (other than stop-and-frisk random checks). Still, this looks like progress.