Campus carry is here to stay, but some students are eager to change the law going into the new year.
The law, which went into effect Aug. 1, prompted several student protests against it during the first week of school, but the controversy has nearly died down since. With the 85th Legislative Session beginning in January, talks of bills targeted toward the law have resurfaced.
At the Board of Regents meeting in November, UT System administrators said they want to keep the campus carry law as is. This is among their top priorities going into the next Legislative Session.
“We believe that all of our presidents … used the discretions that’s found to make well-reasoned decisions as to where concealed handguns should not be allowed on each of our campuses,” said Barry McBee, UT System vice chancellor for governmental relations, at the meeting. “We hope to see those decisions in place.”
Currently, those who want to conceal or open carry must have a license to carry in the state of Texas. Some legislators would like to change this law going into the next session so the license isn’t required, and Ana López, vice president of Students Against Campus Carry, said the organization will continue to try and stop this. López was also a leader in the Cocks Not Glocks movement earlier this semester and said they will be planning protests during the 85th Legislative Session.
“The emphasis [for SACC] has been put on permitless carry because it’s a big slap in the face to those who have been trying to circumvent campus carry laws,” López said.
Permitless carry has been introduced before in previous sessions, but they were shot down.
SACC has partnered with State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, and other legislators to file a bill allowing public universities to opt out campus carry, López said.
López said she doesn’t believe campus carry can be repealed, but she wants to make the law more strict, rather than open it up with permitless carry.
Students for Campus Carry will also be more active going into the next session. Brian Bensimon, Southwest Regional Director for SACC, said the organization is going to be a more active chapter on campus going into the spring semester. A president and vice-president have been chosen for the organization with others recruited for officer positions.
“Your goal [after campus carry is law] is to get laws that don’t restrict them,” Bensimon said.
Bensimon said the organization wants laws to clarify which faculty offices are gun-free zones. They will also be promoting awareness on what it means to be a safe gun owner.
“We don’t support anything that has the general effect of prohibiting someone’s right to carry,” Bensimon said. “People’s rights should never be banned just because you walk into the professor’s office.”