In 18 states and Washington D.C. guns are prohibited on school campuses. But in 23 states, colleges set their own rules and regulations--and in Colorado, Idaho, Texas, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin, recent legislation now allows concealed carry on public school campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislature.
Last week, when a sniper opened fire at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, Texas, police estimated that 20 to 30 rally participants were carrying firearms, perhaps making it more difficult to identify the active shooter.
Initially, the Dallas Police Department sent out a photo of Mark Hughes, who they labeled a prime suspect. Hughes was later cleared as a protestor exercising his right to carry, but he is still receiving death threats because of the rash identification based on the firearm slung around his shoulder.
Situations such as this one prompt questioning as to the extent to which open and/or concealed carry laws might help relieve complicated situations, let alone come in handy to fight back.
In Texas, those who wish to participate in the concealed carry law on school campuses must be at least 21 years old and must be a licensed gun owner.
The University of Houston has already started to prompt their staff on changes influenced by the legislation, which will go into effect on August 1.
This briefing on the legislation sent out by the university to the faculty warned them to:
“be careful discussing sensitive issues,” “not ‘go there’ if you sense anger” and “only meet ‘that student’ in controlled circumstances.”
Although private universities have the power to opt out of the law in Texas, state schools are required to abide by it.
“Let me say that I do not believe handguns belong in a university setting, in a campus environment dedicated to education and research,” Gregory Fenves, the President of UT Austin said in this statement, “But nevertheless as president of a public university, I am responsible for implementing [the law].”
Lead Image Credit: KUTAustin; KUT Austin via Flickr Creative Commons