Texas campus carry ‘non-issue’ after first semester
- The only reported incident dealing with campus carry involved an accidental discharge at Tarleton State University which resulted in no injuries.
Despite concerns from anti-gun protesters across the state of Texas, the first semester of campus carry went smoothly, with just one incident of an accidental firearm discharge at Tarleton State University.
According to university officials at West Texas A&M (WTAMU), the new law allowing students to legally carry concealed weapons on campus, which went into effect in August, has been a “non-issue,” reports the Amarillo Globe-News.
“It’s been totally a non-issue,” Knox said. “In fact, the biggest issue we had is we have to replace signs because the wind bent them. Other than that, no cases or other issues. It’s really not had an impact on our campus life whatsoever.”
Sergeant Jack Hildebrand of the WTAMU Campus Police agreed, saying there have been no calls regarding firearms on campus and that concealed carry license holders “followed the laws” throughout the semester.
“We had no incidents at all, no calls, no issues or problems with it,” Hildebrand declared. “When we held sporting events we put out signs and apparently people followed the laws, it’s been very quiet.”
The smooth transition stands in stark contrast to the concerns of protesters throughout the state, who alleged that their campuses would be less safe with legal firearms present.
The ire against campus carry escalated into a “Cocks Not Glocks” protest, where thousands of students strapped dildos to their backpacks, claiming it is ironic that guns are allowed on campus but sex toys are considered “obscene.”
“It’s starting a rhetoric about what is appropriate in a certain setting,” Rosie Zander, Cocks Not Glocks organizer remarked of the protest, explaining, “we’ve pulled out dildos, which are things of pleasure and things that are supposed to be encouraged but are very looked down upon in our society.”
She added, “[Having guns on campus] affects free speech.”
However, since the law went into effect, the only incident involving a firearm occurred when a student at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas accidentally discharged their firearm while cleaning it, causing no injuries.
WT administrators and officials credit the educational programming and resources they provided to students for the safe rollout of campus carry.
“We certainly — even before it was enacted — had educational programs and put info out about it,” Hildebrand said of the school’s efforts. “We had meetings about it prior to and during the 2015-16 school year, so we had lots of information out there prior to it being enacted.”
The Texas Tribune reports that some lawmakers and campus officials wish to revisit and make tweaks to the law in 2017, namely the provisions that allow universities to deem some areas off-limits to firearms, such as athletic stadiums and dorm rooms. Others hope to leave the law alone so as not to rekindle the intense outrage it faced during its initial implementation.
"We believe that all of our presidents ... made very well-reasoned decisions about where guns should not be allowed on each of our campuses," Barry McBee, vice chancellor for government relations, said this month. "And we hope those decisions remain in place."
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @amber_athey