First day of classes begin with campus carry protests

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Students gather in the West Mall to protest campus carry on Wednesday afternoon. Gun Free UT and Cocks Not Glocks led the protest.
Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

Students, faculty and Austin community members gathered in the West Mall on Wednesday, wielding dildos and shouting “Cocks not glocks” in unison.

The crowd was protesting campus carry, which took effect Aug. 1. Anti-campus carry organization Cocks Not Glocks handed out sex toys, which are considered obscene under the Texas Penal Code and University rules and prohibited from public display. Members of campus organization Gun Free UT also participated in the event.

According to Cocks not Glocks founder Jessica Jin, the goal of protest is to fight “absurdity with absurdity.” She wants people to question why it’s okay to carry handguns on campus, but when people carry a dildo it is considered a tabooed topic.

Some students who attended the rally feel that concealed carry is beneficial to student safety.

“Concealed carriers aren’t the danger, they aren’t the boogeymen that snap all of a sudden and go ‘Oh I got a C now let pull out my concealed handgun and shoot someone,’” chemical engineering junior Forrest Sullivan said. “I feel safer with my neighbors and myself if we choose to go through a rigorous licensing process to have guns. I trust the students at UT.”

Kathryn Howard, an undeclared freshmen, said guns should never be the solution to a problem.

“I kind of freaked out when I was getting all these emails about campus carry before I came to the school and I wasn’t very excited about it,” Murphy said. “I would love if [campus carry] was repealed. I don’t think it will prevent any kind of school shooting.”

Brian Bensimon, government sophomore and Texas director of Students for Concealed Carry, said the Cocks Not Glocks protest is creative but that the point they were trying to make was muddled up.

 “I don’t think people understand why we passed [campus carry],” Bensimon said. “We passed it to create more uniformity. Currently you can carry in restaurants, you can in grocery stores, you can carry at Bob Bullock Mueseum [and] even the Texas State Capitol.”

On Monday, a federal judge denied a lawsuit filed by three UT professors in July which stated that the campus carry law would fail to provide equal rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the professors because it required them to permit handguns in their classrooms. The judge ruled that the plaintiffs failed to establish a likelihood of success. 

English associate professor Mia Carter, one of the three plaintiffs in the lawsuit, spoke at the rally and emphasized that even though the lawsuit was denied, the fight would continue on until the law is overturned.

“We are David in this battle,” Carter said at the rally. “David’s going up against faux student groups funded by the gun lobby, going up against legislators rewarded by the gun lobby. The vision of a vibrant and safe public education system in Texas is going to come from down here, from the grassroots, from the people who are not beholden to the legislators with the destruction of public education their agenda.”

Protesters also discussed constitutional carry, a law that would allow people to conceal and open carry guns without permits. These bills have been shot down before but have been continually pushed for by state representatives such as Jonathan Strickland.

Organizers say they will keep fighting to repeal campus carry.

Listen to the Daily Texan podcast department's audio coverage of Wednesday's protest here.