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

  • 'Your son is alive'; California father buries wrong man after coroner’s mistake

    World News Toronto Sun
    SANTA ANA, Calif. — Eleven days after laying his son to rest, Frank J. Kerrigan got a call from a friend. “Your son is alive,” he said. “Bill (Shinker) put my son on the phone,” Kerrigan said. Source
  • Al Capone's song, pocket watch fetch over $100K at auction

    World News Toronto Sun
    BOSTON — Artifacts connected to some of the nation’s most notorious gangsters sold for more than $100,000 at auction Saturday. A diamond pocket watch that belonged to Al Capone and was produced in Chicago in the 1920s, along with a handwritten musical composition he wrote in Alcatraz in the 1930s, were among the items that sold at the “Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen” auction. Source
  • Venezuelan protesters, security forces clash at air base

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- Young protesters broke down a metal fence guarding an air base in Caracas on Saturday before being repelled by security forces firing tear gas in another day of anti-government protests in Venezuela's capital. Source
  • Venezuelan president's opponents lay siege to air base

    World News CBC News
    Young protesters broke down a metal fence guarding an air base in Caracas on Saturday before being repelled by security forces firing tear gas in another day of anti-government protests in Venezuela's capital. Demonstrators threw stones, and some protesters were injured. Source
  • Lots to be proud of on Canada's 150th

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    So this great country of ours Canada is about to turn 150. Well, happy sesquicentennial to us. Although, it was a lot easier to pronounce “centennial” 50 years ago. And what a great year that was. Bobby Gimby sang, “Canada – now we are 20 million. Source
  • Race was a factor in St. Louis black officer mistakenly shot by white cop: lawyer

    World News CTV News
    An off-duty black St. Louis police officer's race factored into him being mistakenly shot by a white officer who didn't recognize him after a shootout with black suspects this week, the wounded officer's lawyer contends. Source
  • Labatt celebrates 170 years of heritage ahead of Canada's 150th [Photos]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    If any nation knows how to quaff a cold one, it has to be Canada. Our famous brew is one of the most coveted drinks in the world. It’s part of our nationalistic identity, and we’re proud of it! Source
  • Four-year-old boy is dead after being hit by car

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    EDMONTON - Edmonton Police say a four-year-old boy died in hospital after he was hit by a vehicle on 44A Avenue near 35 Street around 8:15 p.m. on Friday. Traffic section officers are investigating, but no charges are pending. Source
  • 34 U.K. high-rises have unsafe siding: Officials

    World News Toronto Sun
    LONDON — The scope of Britain’s fire-safety crisis broadened Saturday as London officials scrambled to evacuate four public housing towers due to concerns about external cladding, fire doors and insulation around gas pipes. Hundreds of residents hastily packed their bags and sought emergency shelter, with many angry and confused about the chaotic situation. Source
  • Video of Quebec history float goes viral amid allegations of racism

    Canada News CBC News
    A float in Montreal's Fête nationale parade Saturday quickly prompted widespread rebuke online with some attendees calling it racist. The float went along St. Denis Street carrying singer Annie Villeneuve and a pianist, along with a billboard that said "Once upon a time…" in French. Source