Texas is on the verge of leveling the playing field for women by ignoring the demands of Shannon Watts and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and passing legislation to allow women to carry a handgun, concealed on campus, for self-defense.
Texas’ education and law enforcement leaders have spoken out against the bill. In a recent letter to Texas lawmakers, University of Texas Chancellor Bill McRaven, a former Navy SEAL, came out against the legislation, arguing that would create a “less safe environment” on the system’s campuses. A recent survey of the Texas Police Chiefs Union found that most members oppose allowing concealed weapons on campuses. At UT Austin, faculty and students have voiced loud opposition to the new legislation.
University officials also claim that the bill would come with a hefty price tag for Texas’ higher education institutions. According to a UT fiscal analysis provided to me by the university press office, campus carry would cost the system more than $39 million over six years, requiring the schools to put funds toward security upgrades, personnel training, and new systems to track licensed gun carriers on campuses.
Teaching hospitals would bear the brunt of the cost, said UT spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo; Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center alone would have to spend a whopping $22 million on new security measures, thanks to the high volume of new visitors coming in and out of the hospital.
Proponents of campus carry have questioned these numbers, first reported by theHouston Chronicle, arguing that the Texas bill does not require schools to take additional security measures, and that it would not affect laws barring guns from hospitals.
Shannon Watts, Moms Demand Action, and Everytown for Gun Safety have been outspoken critics of the national move toward recognizing a woman’s 2nd Amendment rights on college campuses in the same way those rights are recognized in Walmart, at restaurants, at gas stations, or at the mall.
According to Vice magazine, campus carry “is expected to clear the [Texas] state Senate next week, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has promised to expedite its passage.” Governor Greg Abbott (R) has already made clear he will sign campus carry legislation.
Proponents of campus carry have questioned these numbers, first reported by theHouston Chronicle, arguing that the Texas bill does not require schools to take additional security measures, and that it would not affect laws barring guns from hospitals.Students for Concealed Carry’s southwest regional director Madison Welch said:
Our push to legalize campus carry is about ensuring that trained, licensed, carefully screened adults are allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campus[es] that they’re currently allowed virtually everywhere else.
The campus carry bill heading for a vote will make Texas the 8th state to allow guns to be carried on campuses for self-defense. Moreover, it will put Texas in the same category as Utah, inasmuch as the new law will bar “public universities from putting any limits on where people can take their guns.”