Texas college students can now exercise their Second Amendment rights on campus if they have a concealed carry permit. The Texas campus carry law went into effect on Monday night as Texas became the eighth state to enact such a law.
The Texas campus carry law will permit college students who are at least 21 years old to carry a firearm at all public universities and colleges if they possess a concealed carry license, NBC reports. There are a few exceptions to the new law. Some specific campus facilities, such as chemical labs and sports arenas, will remain gun free zones.
Although private colleges and universities, as well as two-year community colleges, are exempt from the campus carry law now, but they too must permit guns on their campuses beginning next year, Fox News notes.
Texas’ law allowing guns inside college buildings went into effect today. Here’s what you need to know: https://t.co/NSRfCId0vI
— ProPublica (@ProPublica) August 1, 2016
The Texas campus carry law took effect on the 50th anniversary of the University of Texas at Austin clock tower mass shooting. The shooter, former marine Charles Whitman, reportedly had an IQ of 138 and became the youngest Eagle Scout in America when he was 12 years old. Whitman was awarded a scholarship to study engineering after the Marine Corps when he was 25.
On August 1, 1966, Charlie Whitman climbed to the 28th floor of the University of Texas at Austin clock tower and opened fire on students and staff. Whitman, who was regarded as an expert marksman, killed 16 people and wounded 49 more. The UT Austin clock tower shooting is one of the bloodiest mass shootings in the history of America.
“Guns do not have a place on campus,” John “Artly” Fox, a survivor of the University of Texas shooting, said. “A university is a battleground of words and ideas, and not of weapons.”
Whitman killed his mother and stabbed his young wife to death with a bayonet before embarking on the shooting rampage at the University of Texas.
Gun rights advocates herald the Texas campus carry law as a victory not only for the Second Amendment but for campus safety as well. A previously enacted Texas gun law dating back to 1995 allowed students with concealed carry permits to remain armed on campus streets, sidewalks, and parking lots only.
The percentage of students who will be permitted to have a gun on campus varies widely by school. Because typical university freshman and sophomores are under the age of 21, they will not be able to take advantage of the campus carry law.
The University of Texas lobbied against the Texas campus carry law unsuccessfully. Governor Gregg Abbott, a Republican, signed the gun rights bill into law after it easily passed the state legislature. Although colleges and universities do have the authority to regulate the concealed carry of firearms on their campuses, that power is severely limited. Any mandates enacted by a school in the Lone Star State must not “generally prohibit” individuals with a valid concealed carry license from exercising their Second Amendment rights on campus.
Opponents of the gun law have stated armed students could pose a danger to the campus community and actually impede police efforts should a mass shooting occur.
Texas campus carry law supporters largely believe students and staff will be safer now that they can defend themselves against a crazed gunman, terrorists, rapists, or general criminals. Second Amendment advocates have often stated the posting of a gun free zone sign will not prevent someone bent on wreaking havoc and killing innocent people from doing so at will.
What do you think about the Texas campus carry law?
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