UT-Austin student government leaders: House bill allowing campus carry 'dumb'

The University of Texas at Austin’s student government association (SGA) President and Vice President labeled the Texas House bill to allow concealed carry on college campuses as “dumb.”

House Bill 937 “[w]ould allow guns in classrooms on public university campuses. That’s why we think this bill is so dumb,” SGA President Xavier Rotnofsky and Vice President Rohit Mandalapu wrote in an article for the school’s student newspaper, The Daily Texan.

The SGA officers argue that it was ridiculous to allow real firearms on campus, but it would still be against university policy to bring pellet guns, airsoft guns, and prop guns—fake guns—onto campus.

“In a hypothetical active shooter scenario, who would you rather trust handling the situation: a trained UTPD officer or a sleep-deprived (probably hungover) upperclassman?” they asked.

The House bill would allow individuals with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL) to carry on public college campuses across the state. A similar bill was passed in the Texas Senate in March.

Jacob Thayer, a graduate public affairs student at UT, told Campus Reform he supports the Texas bill to allow campus carry.

“Should they not be entitled to their rights as American citizens?” he asked.

The UT Austin SGA passed a resolution earlier this year opposing Texas state government efforts to allow concealed carry on campus.

The resolution was passed after the SGA conducted a campuswide survey.

Thayer expressed concern that the survey was likely biased.

“Many graduate students don’t participate and it’s difficult because a lot of students don’t interact with SGA at all,” he said. “Many students had no idea the survey was happening, so they couldn’t go register their opinion.”

Rotnofsky and Mandalapu argued that all students are subjected to too many stressors as it is and RAs, for example, “shouldn’t have to deal with guns in dorms on top of the multitude of stresses associated with on-campus living.”

Thayer claimed that those with CHL’s wouldn’t become a threat to the campus because it is rare to see someone go vigilante and only bad guys ignore gun laws.

If the bill is not stopped in the Texas House, the officers wrote, there should be an opt-out clause for both private and public universities.

“A private institution opt-out clause is reasonable, but it’s totally inappropriate for a public institution to have an opt-out clause,” Thayer told Campus Reform. “That defeats the purpose of having a law.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BethanySalgado