Texas college students can now stroll campuses, university buildings, classrooms and dorms with textbooks, supplies and...guns in their possession. The new state law permits students with concealed carry licenses to carry their guns at all public colleges and universities in the state. The Texas law took effect on the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower massacre.
Under the controversial new law, students who are at least 21 years old and have a concealed carry license will be able to carry a gun with the exception of some facilities such as sports arenas and chemical labs. The new law will not go into effect at private and two-year community colleges until next year. What prompted the recent change? Due to an increase in mass shootings - many of which took place on college campuses - proponents believe that a more armed student body "might be able to prevent such incidents." Additionally, supporters claim that "no [gun control] law would stop someone from simply walking onto campus with a gun." Those who oppose it fear that it will only lead to more violence, stating that "a university is a battleground of words and ideas, and not of weapons."
Texas isn't the only state permitting students to conceal carry - eight others have already implemented the law, including Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Given that the new law is only applicable to a small percentage of the student body who are of age, the university "estimates that less than 1 percent fit the criteria" to carry. Initially, the University of Texas lobbied against the new law and although university presidents have some power to regulate concealed carry on their campuses, they are fairly restricted. The law states that "any rules or regulations instituted by the university may not 'generally prohibit' license holders to carry their concealed firearms on campus."
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