On Aug. 1, 1966, an engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin went up to the observation deck on campus and went on a 96-minute shooting rampage, killing 17 people and wounding 31. This was the deadliest shooting rampage on a college campus in the United States until the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
Starting August 2016, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Texas rampage, the students at UT- Austin will be allowed to carry handguns on campus, including inside classrooms.
This gun policy comes after the state’s campus carry bill became law in June 2015. Under the new law, Texans will be allowed to carry concealed guns in public university buildings, excluding dorm rooms.
UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves has reluctantly implemented this policy on campus, saying that even though he believes guns have no place on a college campus, he is simply complying to state law.
This campus policy has generated a lot of controversy and opposition from students, faculty and staff at UT-Austin. Longtime architecture dean Fritz Steiner resigned from his job Thursday citing the campus carry law as the reason of his departure.
“I felt I was going to be responsible for managing a law I didn’t believe in,” he told the Texas Tribune Thursday.
Although guns will not be permitted inside dorm rooms, there are three exceptions to this rule: they’re allowed in common areas, and family visiting residence halls will be allowed to carry concealed guns, as well as staff members working inside the dorms.
In a day when mass shootings are rampant, this policy is nothing but dangerous to students’ well-being. We cannot imagine having some of our peers sitting next to us in class with a gun on them. This could lead to a devastating situation if someone were to be angered and could possibly limit discussion of serious topics for fear of making someone with carrying a gun angry.
Mass shootings are an epidemic in this country. The Campus Carry bill won’t enhance students’ safety — it is a bad idea when guns are involved.