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The following is a press release from Students for Concealed Carry:

The final report of the campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin will go down in history as simultaneously featuring some of the finest research on the subject of licensed concealed carry on college campuses and offering two of the most poorly conceived recommendations concerning the same. Although the report’s factual research demonstrates the wisdom of placing professional academics in charge of researching an important sociopolitical issue, the report’s recommendations demonstrate the impracticality of tasking those same academics with formulating policies regarding the appropriate utilization of firearms for self-defense . . .

The working group recommends that “[the] occupant of an office to which he or she has been solely assigned and that is not generally open to the public should be permitted, at the occupant’s discretion, to prohibit the concealed carry of a handgun in that office” and that “if the occupant’s duties ordinarily entail meeting people who may be license holders, the occupant must make reasonable arrangements to meet them in another location at a convenient time.”

This recommendation, which is clearly tailored to suit the needs of professors meeting with students during posted office hours, creates two distinct problems. The first and least of these problems is that it places any student with a concealed handgun license (“conceal” is defined, in part, as “to keep secret; to prevent or avoid disclosing or divulging”) in the uncomfortable position of potentially having to inform a professor—a professor who, by declaring his or her office “gun-free,” has publicly announced his or her opposition to campus carry—that the student regularly carries a gun to class.

The second and much more serious problem is that it renders many faculty, staff, and students unable to carry a concealed handgun on campus at all (potentially conflicting with both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill 11, which states that a university’s campus carry policy may not “have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus of the institution”).

Half of the individuals (and likely a majority of the CHL holders) on the UT-Austin campus are faculty, staff, graduate research assistants, or graduate teaching assistants. The duties of a faculty member, staff member, research assistant, or teaching assistant may require entering one or more private offices multiple times each day.

Given that the working group’s recommended polices would also dictate that “[license] holders who carry a handgun on campus must carry it on or about their person at all times or secure their handgun in a locked, privately-owned or leased motor vehicle,” any faculty member, staff member, research assistant, or teaching assistant required to enter a “gun-free” office in the course of his or her duties would be unable to carry a concealed handgun on campus.

Because many in the UT-Austin community rely on the university’s bus route to get to campus and because even those who drive to campus are often required to park a mile or more away and catch a bus to the office, few license holders working on campus would have the option of running to their cars to drop off their handguns between meetings.

Are these licensed faculty, staff, researchers, and teaching assistants expected to inform the occupant of a “gun-free” office—an occupant who, based on the fact that he or she has a private office, is very possibly the license holder’s superior—that standard operating procedures must be changed so that the license holder never has to enter the office? Or are these license holders expected to forgo their newly legislated right to have their preferred measure of self-defense on campus?

The working group also makes a couple of recommendations about how concealed handguns should be carried on campus. The first recommendation is that “[handguns] – including those carried in backpacks and handbags – must be carried in a holster that completely covers the trigger and the entire trigger guard area. The holster must have sufficient tension or grip on the handgun to retain it in the holster even when subjected to unexpected jostling.”

This recommendation aligns with the generally accepted best practices for concealed carry; therefore, no rational person can argue that such a policy is not “reasonable,” per the statutory requirement of Senate Bill 11. However, the working group also recommends that “[semiautomatic] handguns must be carried without a chambered round of ammunition.” This recommendation contradicts the generally accepted best practice for concealed (or open) carry. More specifically, it contradicts the method of carry taught by every shooting school, police academy, and military branch in the U.S. There is no way that this policy can be considered “reasonable” under any common definition of that term.

The reason all U.S. firearms instructors teach that semiautomatic handguns should be carried with a loaded chamber is that the number one factor in determining the outcome of a defensive shooting is the defensive shooter’s ability to quickly and efficiently present his or her weapon to the target. In the context of daily carry (as opposed to a SWAT team breaking down the door of a meth lab, with their guns at the ready), this means presentation from the holster.

A review of training manuals or YouTube videos (search “presentation from the holster”) reveals slight variations in presentation technique (draw stroke) but few, if any, techniques in which the shooter draws the weapon and then chambers a round. It’s generally accepted that—in the context of self-defense shootings, which typically happen at close range—one’s ability to quickly and cleanly present from the holster is more important than even one’s aim. Being forced to draw one’s weapon and then load the first round (a procedure that typically takes both hands) is a serious impediment to being able to quickly and cleanly present to the target.

Chambering a round in the heat of battle also denies the defensive shooter an opportunity to perform a chamber check—a safety check typically performed when loading a firearm. At close contact (any distance close enough for an assailant to grab the defender’s gun), having an empty chamber can essentially render the defender’s handgun useless.

In the context of campus carry, being forced to draw one’s weapon and then chamber a round (load the chamber) forces anyone who has received any level of U.S. firearms training to completely retrain himself or herself. That means that even those CHL holders with law enforcement or military training—the people college administrators should feel most comfortable having armed on campus—will be forced to completely relearn how to perform the most critical action involved in using a handgun defensively. Texas universities should enact policies designed to help license holders perform to the peak of their abilities, not policies that turn even the most experienced shooters into neophytes.

Because most license holders would not want to carry with an empty chamber all of the time, this policy would force them to try to master (and regularly practice) two different techniques—one for on-campus carry and one for off-campus carry. Furthermore, using one technique on campus and another off campus would result in many license holders choosing to transition their weapons while in their cars parked on campus—unloading the chamber after arriving on campus and reloading it before leaving campus.

From a safety standpoint, encouraging license holders to unholster and manipulate their firearms is the surest way to guarantee an eventual accidental/negligent discharge. And given that Texas law already dictates that colleges (both public and private) “may not adopt or enforce any rule, regulation, or other provision or take any other action…prohibiting or placing restrictions [emphasis added] on the storage or transportation of a firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned or leased motor vehicle by a person, including a student enrolled at that institution, who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun,” it’s doubtful that anything in UT-Austin’s campus carry policy can prohibit a license holder from chambering or unchambering rounds in his or her parked car.

From the standpoint of both the legislative intent of Texas Senate Bill 11 and the generally accepted best practices for defensive firearm use, these two recommendations of UT-Austin’s campus carry policy working group fail to pass muster. They are not only bad; they are discriminatory (against those who work on campus) and dangerous (for any license holder who might actually need to utilize his or her handgun in self-defense and for anyone parked near or walking past a license holder’s car). If UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves wishes to act responsibly, he will reject these two recommendations. If he does not, the policies will almost certainly face legal challenges—challenges likely to succeed and likely to cost the university significant time and money.

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32 Responses to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of UT-Austin’s Campus Carry Recommendation

  1. Or you just carry with a round in the chamber and don’t tell anyone you’re carrying when you’re in their office. Concealed is concealed, as they say. Up to the license holders to decide at this point.

    • Uh so here’s my question – When it says “must carry it without a chambered round of ammunition.” it brings up a lot of interesting legal questions.

      Can an authority that has been told to develop “regulations” specify and micromanage the method in which the handguns are carried on its property? For example, it could have said “If carrying a semiautomatic handgun, it must have user identification features and autolock if in the possession of an unlicensed individual.” which obviously bans semis.

      The $1,000,000 question here is if they will issue a directive to the UT police to stop people and “for the officer’s safety” take possession of concealed handguns and check the pipe. Then kick the student out of school if they aren’t carrying in this idiotic way. Obviously it isn’t a violation of a 30.06 sign (as these do not give you the option of ban certain types of carrying you find irritating or unwise. It’s binary. Yes or No.), so I don’t think you could twist it into a criminal charge. But, you have violated the university’s “recommendation.”

      Or are they just trying to cover their ass if someone accidentally shoots themselves in the foot?

      • I think their concerns are entirely about safety. I dont think they’ll be stopping and searching people, either. It is Texas, after all. And how would they even know who’s carrying in the first place. Keep it concealed and keep it your business.

    • Problem: assume you do this and are involved in a DGU on campus and fired at the bad guy. The witnesses/traffic cams/etc say they did not see you chamber a round first. Prosecution now charges you with violating the law.

      Unless that’s not how the legal system works, and if you’re being tried for one thing you can’t be charged with something else during or after the trial?

    • I agree and this was my first thought as well. However it is smart for “Students for Concealed Carry” to point out that these are poor policies and that they should be fought.

  2. All they have to do is hand Fenves one of the micro 9mm guns and have him try to quickly rack the slide. I would recommend a Kimber Solo. I always have a laugh when I ask to see one at the gun counter. You can tell how long someone has been working there when they try to clear the thing. The experienced guys just give me a dirty look.

  3. They can make inane “policy recommendations” and hold their breath until they pass into unconsciousness. Their policies will not trump the law.

    • Oh, they can make the policy of no round under the hammer and the following chamber. I know cops that use to carry off duty that way.

      • Two empty chambers in a five shot revolver? That is hardly a fighting chance! Even cowboys carried their Peace Makers with five, the empty being under the hammer.

    • I believe that the term “intelligent idiot” may as well be used here. You have soo many people who can read, write, make good judgement calls regarding their life and yet lack experience in the subject matter they are trying to address. So they will go with their gut feeling, or what someone tells them and everyone else will laugh, cry or get angry because the policy set forth will reflect the complete lack of knowledge from the person setting the policy.

      • Yea i can see that. This is what i personally call “over-evolution”. People grow up in a civilized society, thinking somehow humans are more than animals, without realizing that peace is just a phenomenon caused by balanced potential violence. Humans prevail most animals because of our intelligence, but that doesn’t mean violence should not be in our toolbox. When the educators generally believe that violence is a vestige of the past, not a reality of the animal kingdom, and with the constant brainwash of a pretentious civilization, what we have here is unevitable. The only thing we can do is hold on to our beliefs, and teach our kids that humans can’t go more than a week without food and water, so, as a creature destined to survive, don’t pretend that you’ll never need the 100 guns you will inherit from me.

  4. “However, the working group also recommends that “[semiautomatic] handguns must be carried without a chambered round of ammunition.” This recommendation contradicts the generally accepted best practice for concealed (or open) carry. More specifically, it contradicts the method of carry taught by every shooting school, police academy, and military branch in the U.S.”

    Sorry to disagree but that’s wrong. The army prohibits carrying Pistols with a loaded chamber even for Military Police. Even when we went outside the wire.

    Army, not chambered and on safe but MPs can have a magazine in the M9 & M11(with m1911 it was no mag in weapon)
    Air Force, chambered and on fire
    Navy and Marines, chambered and on safe

    Granted UT’s policy is BS. I don’t believe unchambered is even legally enforceable

    • The fact that the military has this policy proves that it’s stupid. If it wasn’t stupid, the military wouldn’t adopt it.

      • Careful, Ralph, I think that covered every possibility except “leave the gun at home, just carry the holster” within the assorted militaries, saying they’re all wrong leaves you where?

    • If you’re erroneously referring to “outside wire” while working CONUS or non combat theatres, then I see what you mean. If you’re using that term correctly, i.e. outside a FOB on a combat patrol in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, then that is not correct. I mean, maybe the MPs weren’t allowed to chamber rounds but don’t assume that what applies to MPs (not a combat arms branch, I might add) automatically applies to others. In the Infantry, your chain of command would have been relieved if they failed to test fire and make all weapons hot prior to a patrol, attack, etc.

      Futhermore, the Army is a risk averse garbage fire when it comes to their small arms policies.

    • Sounds more like an individual unit policy to me. On each of my deployments we carried our weapons with an empty chamber only while on the COP or FOB. We chambered rounds as we walked out the ECP.

    • In watching the live feed debating Campus Carry don’t remember 1 in the pipe was even discussed but if a UT policy and not included in the legislation then a stern tsk, tsk is going to have to suffice.

    • A private school probably can do it. A public one? Dunno. Maybe they just throw a monkey wrench into the kid’s GPA and cause some headache to prove “constituation my ass, u aint no free redneck”

    • They can’t, and they wont be able to enforce it, it’s just a feel good language thrown in there to appease some of the “blood running in the hallways” types. It is interestingly enough based partially in fact since the only instances their research came up with of incidents involving concealed carriers on campus were related to NDs. I imagine the reason it is even in there is to provide a legal disclaimer so that if someone is injured by an ND the parents of that student cannot sue the school, which actually, I think I’m ok with (flame suit on).

  5. “The first recommendation is that “[handguns] – including those carried in backpacks and handbags – must be carried in a holster that completely covers the trigger and the entire trigger guard area. The holster must have sufficient tension or grip on the handgun to retain it in the holster even when subjected to unexpected jostling.”

    This recommendation aligns with the generally accepted best practices for concealed carry; therefore, no rational person can argue that such a policy is not “reasonable,”…………”

    Now that is some good “common sense gun safety regulation” right there. How could anyone argue with self appointed/self anointed “experts” from the gun blog o’sphere echo chamber?

    For over two hundred years, people in this country have been carrying and using handguns for self defense. I well remember the carnage in the old days, before the internet, and high priced “training” from operators, not to mention super tactical equipment.

    Government regulation of the exercise of a constitutionally protected right is the road to the destruction of that right.

  6. You make-believe self-defense experts are dangerously retarded for advocating that the masses should run around with loaded chambers.

    The anti-gun liberals are partially right: you’re statistically much more likely to harm an innocent person or yourself with a firearm than you are to actually have to shoot someone in self-defense. It’s therefore obviously much more logical to advocate that civilians should store and carry their firearms with empty chambers (or to use a manual safety at a bare minimum) in order to greatly reduce the number of accidental discharges.

    Chambering a round is also extremely easy to do. If quickly chambering a round is too difficult for you to master then you’re too retarded to own and carry a gun anyway.

    The main argument for allowing concealed carry on college campuses is to deal with mass shooters. In that type of scenario, you obviously have enough time to chamber a round.

    Stop mindlessly parroting the crap that you read and hear within the gun [lack of] community and start learning how to think logically for yourselves.

    • You, dear sir/madam/it, are a Fudd or worse. One draw, one pull, less than 2 seconds. Easy. Oh wait, you’re trying to rack that slide while some bad guy is coming up on you real fast? Good luck with that. May Darwin have his way with you.

      • I’ve only seen a single instance of someone failing to chamber a round during a deadly encounter. There was a video from Turkey where a jewelry store owner failed to chamber a round in his 1911 as several armed robbers burst into his business and killed him. But judging by the video, he would have lost that fight anyway regardless if he had a round chambered or not. The smartest move on his part would have been to put his hands up in the air and follow their demands. Instead he followed the advice of the dangerously retarded and dogmatic make-believe self-defense gurus that dominate the gun community and tried to Clint Eastwood them. Just because someone is robbing you doesn’t mean that you immediately have to whip out your gun. If the robbers have a tactical advantage over you then it’s best to just follow their demands since the vast majority of victims in armed robberies survive. Only if you think that they’re going to start killing people should you go for your gun.

        On the other side of this debate, I’ve seen a daily stream of accidental discharges in the news. The story that immediately comes to my mind is that young mom in Idaho that was accidentally killed by her toddler son. She had an M&P Shield in a purse that was specifically designed to carry a gun. She put the purse in her shopping cart along with her toddler son, and without realizing it, her son found the hidden gun compartment in the purse, unzipped it, pulled the gun out, and accidentally shot his mother in the head while playing with it. That probably never would have happened if she had a manual thumb safety or an empty chamber (although the manual safety on the M&P Shield sucks). That was the lesson to be learned from that tragic accidental shooting. But how did gun blogs and forums respond? By bashing off body carry. Which is retarded. Yeah, off body carry has its downsides. But it’s the most convenient and logical way for women to carry firearms since they wear much tighter clothing than males. She’d still be alive today if her gun had a thumb safety or an empty chamber. And keep in mind that she was living in freaking Idaho – not exactly the most dangerous place in the world to live. Yet you morons act like you always have to be cocked and locked in order to take on a murderer or terrorist – as if every part of the world is as dangerous as San Pedro Sula and Baghdad.

  7. This kind of drivel, is why intelligent people (and Gods) write laws in the form of “Thou shalt not kill”, instead of dragging in 200,000 different lobbyist championed exceptions, clarifications and other nonsense. Human beings are flexible and adaptable Any law taking up more than one paragraph, is nothing more than welfare for lawyers, and should be thrown out on principle. Start with Obamacare.

  8. The republicans did this on purpose to get reelected. Correct me if I’m wrong but the republicans had the votes to pass campus carry with guns free zones specified in the law (i.e. labs, “lower” education areas, etc). For some reason they changed the bill at the last minute to allow schools to each specify their own gun free zones. So next election they can tell us we need to re-elect them so they can fix it.

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