University of Texas head begrudgingly OKs concealed handgun rules

AUSTIN, Texas -- Concealed handguns will be allowed in University of Texas classrooms but generally banned from dorms under rules begrudgingly approved Wednesday by the school's president, whose hand was forced by a new state law.

See Full Article

Like many who study or work at the school in liberal Austin, President Greg Fenves opposes allowing guns on the roughly 50,000-student campus. Texas' universities had been gun-free zones under the state's previous concealed handgun laws, but the Republican-dominated Legislature voted last year to force public universities to allow license holders to bring their guns to campus starting Aug. 1.

"I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date," Fenves said in announcing his decision to adopt rules recommended by a campus study group in December.

Gun-rights activists insist the right to have weapons on campus falls under the Second Amendment and they call it a critical self-defence measure.

However, the so-called "campus carry" measure has met with fierce resistance from students, faculty and other staff, including University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven, the former head of U.S. Special Operations Command who directed the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.

Private schools are allowed to keep banning weapons and Fenves noted most have opted to do so, including Baylor, Rice, Southern Methodist and Texas Christian universities, the largest and most influential private schools in the state.

State lawmakers allowed public universities to carve out some gun-free zones as long as it didn't result in a campus-wide ban. Fenves said a blanket ban on guns in classrooms would have violated the law.

In most cases, a person must be 21 years old to get a gun license in Texas, which trims the gun-carrying student population a bit. And while licensed students will be allowed to bring their handguns to class, they won't be able to do so openly. A separate law that allows the open carry of handguns doesn't apply to college campuses.

Gun-Free UT, a group of students, faculty and staff, has said allowing guns in classrooms will create a threatening atmosphere and chill free speech in academics. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg has said he will put into his syllabus that his class is not open to students carrying guns.

The rules were criticized by gun rights groups as well. Students for Concealed Carry objected to exceptions that allow teacher offices to be gun free and a requirement that semi-automatic weapons not have a round in the chamber. The group threatened to sue for changes.

Laboratories will also remain gun-free, as will areas or events that involve school-age children. State law still prohibits weapons at sporting events.

Guns will generally be banned from dorm rooms, but they will be allowed in residence hall common areas such as dining rooms and study areas.

Family members who are licensed to carry can keep their weapons when visiting students. University staff members who are licensed to carry may also hold onto their weapons if they must enter a dorm.

The rules now go to the University of Texas System Regents for review. If no changes are made within 90 days, the rules will be final.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Jordan's king tells Mike Pence U.S. must 'rebuild trust'

    World News CBC News
    Jordan's King Abdullah II is appealing to U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence to "rebuild trust and confidence" after the Trump administration's recent decision to designate Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Abdullah, a staunch U.S. ally, said Sunday in Amman that he hopes to have "candid and frank" discussions with the visiting vice-president. Source
  • Turkish troops attack Kurdish enclave in northern Syria

    World News CBC News
    Turkish troops and Syrian opposition forces attacked a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria on Sunday in their bid to drive a U.S.-allied Kurdish militia from the region. Turkish officials said the troops entered the enclave of Afrin a day after dozens of Turkish jets and Turkish artillery units at the border pounded Syrian Kurdish targets as part of an offensive, codenamed Olive Branch, that came on the heels of sharp threats from Turkey's leaders. Source
  • Taliban attack on Afghan hotel ends after 13 hours, 6 dead

    World News CBC News
    A Taliban assault on the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan's capital killed at least six people, including a foreigner, and pinned security forces down for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed on Sunday, with the casualty toll expected to rise. Source
  • Myanmar soldiers jailed for killing civilians in rare trial

    World News CTV News
    BANGKOK -- A Myanmar military tribunal has sentenced six soldiers to 10 years in prison with hard labour for killing three civilians in war-torn Kachin state, officials said Saturday, in a move welcomed by rights groups. Source
  • Magnitude 6.3 earthquake shakes northern Chile

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Chile - The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 6.3 earthquake has struck northern Chile. The quake, which was deep at 110 kilometres (68 miles), struck at 10:06 p.m. local time Saturday. The epicenter in Tarapaca was 76 kilometres (47 miles) east of the city of Putre, and 118 kilometres (73 miles) southeast of the Peruvian city of Tacna. Source
  • Speed Skating Canada investigating 'substantive' complaints against head coach

    Canada News CBC News
    The head of Speed Skating Canada tells CBC News the organization is investigating "substantive" complaints against its head coach, Michael Crowe. CEO Susan Auch says the organization forced Crowe to leave his position on Jan. 9, just a month before the Winter Olympics after a number of athletes and coaches came forward. Source
  • Haz-mat investigators descend on 3rd Toronto property tied to accused killer Bruce McArthur

    Canada News CBC News
    A haz-mat team descended Saturday on a third Toronto property associated with Bruce McArthur, the accused killer of two men who vanished from the Gay Village last spring. Resident Stephen Haskett said he first noticed police in the neighbourhood Thursday, but didn't realize at the time why they were there. Source
  • Forensic investigators descend on 3rd Toronto property tied to accused killer Bruce McArthur

    Canada News CBC News
    A haz-mat team descended Saturday on a third Toronto property associated with Bruce McArthur, the accused killer of two men who vanished from the Gay Village last spring. Resident Stephen Haskett said he first noticed police in the neighbourhood Thursday, but didn't realize at the time why they were there. Source
  • Blaze at firecracker factory outside New Delhi kills at least 17

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- A massive fire broke out at a firecracker factory on the northern outskirts of the Indian capital on Saturday, killing at least 17 workers, a fire official said. A dozen fire engines took three hours to douse the fire in the Bawana industrial area of New Delhi. Source
  • B.C. school trustee vows to stay following controversial LGBTQ remarks

    Canada News CTV News
    CHILLIWACK, B.C. -- A school board trustee in British Columbia is vowing to stay in his job, despite calls that he resign over controversial remarks he made about LGBTQ issues. Barry Neufeld says in a statement that he "must" remain on the Chilliwack Board of Education to protect "impressionable children. Source