This is an example of a HTML caption with a link.

Students for Concealed Carry is a student-run, national, non-partisan organization which advocates for legal concealed carry on college campuses in the United States as an effective means of self-defense.

DonateJoin Us on FacebookFind Us on TwitterCommon Arguments Against Campus Carry

AUSTIN, TEXAS – On the first day of any college statistics class, students are taught a simple principle: Correlation does not equal causation. The understanding that one event preceding another is not the same as one event causing another is considered sacred by scientists but sometimes forgotten by journalists. When a journalist for The Houston Chronicle reported that there have been three gun discharges on Texas public college campuses during the past six months, she was careful to note, “Just one had a connection to the new campus carry law.” However, when the Associated Press picked up the story, this not insignificant detail was omitted.

This is how the AP story ends: “A Houston Chronicle review of university records plus interviews found three firearm discharges on public college campuses, in the first six months of the law. The incidents were at the University of Houston, Tarleton State and Texas Tech.”

If one of your politically idealistic friends made a Facebook post claiming, “There have been hundreds of hate crimes in America since Trump took office,” or, “There have been dozens of sexual assaults in Austin since the Travis County sheriff instituted a ‘sanctuary city’ policy,” you’d likely stop to ask yourself how many of those crimes actually had any connection to the event cited by your friend. However, if the Associated Press tells you that there have been “three firearm discharges on public college campuses, in the first six months of the [campus carry] law,” you’re not being unreasonable if you assume that all three were related to the campus carry law. However, as noted by The Houston Chronicle, evidence ties only one of those discharges—the most minor of the three—to Texas’ campus carry law.

As previously reported by Students for Concealed Carry, a license to carry (LTC) holder experienced an accidental or negligent discharge on September 24, in his dorm room at Tarleton State University. The incident resulted in minor damage to the room but no injuries. This incident is unfortunate but not damning. When opponents lined up to testify against Texas Senate Bill 11, they didn’t warn state lawmakers and university officials that there would be damage to floor tiles; they warned that people would be injured and killed. That hasn’t happened.

On most college campuses, a dorm room is the only location with even a moderate risk of an accidental or negligent discharge. Such incidents generally occur during the handling of an unholstered handgun, and—with the exception of campuses that require LTC holders to unload their guns before entering buildings—the only place on campus where an LTC holder might have reason to handle an unholstered handgun is in a dorm room*.

The second incident uncovered by the Chronicle has no apparent ties to campus carry. At approximately 1:30 AM onSept. 29, police responded to a report of somebody firing three shots on a public road that runs through Texas Tech University. No injuries or property damage were reported, and no suspects have been arrested. Not only is there no evidence tying this purported crime to Texas’ campus carry law; the incident didn’t occur in an area affected by the law. Even prior to the enactment of SB 11, licensed concealed carry was allowed on the public streets and sidewalks running through Texas college campuses, and unlicensed concealed carry was allowed in cars passing through campus.

As for the third incident—a suicide at a hotel located on the University of Houston campus—you can decide for yourself whether the law allowing licensed concealed carry at Texas colleges is to blame: After months of writing about suicide on social media, a UH alumnus purchased a firearm from a Houston sporting goods store and checked in to an on-campus hotel where he used to work. He then spent a short while making a series of social media posts explaining his decision to take his own life, telling loved ones where to find his body, and instructing that he should be cremated. He also criticized the sporting goods store where he purchased the gun, saying that the purchase was too easy and that the company should stop selling firearms. When he’d said all that he had to say, he shot and killed himself.

For as long as anybody can remember, there have been shootings on and near Texas college campuses. However, before the campus carry law went into effect, there was no boogeyman to point to as the assumed culprit. If the AP’s goal was to examine the impact of the new law, they could have compared the number of shooting incidents during the first semester of campus carry to the numbers in previous semesters. Better still, they could have dug into the facts of the shootings in question (as The Houston Chronicle did), before insinuating that campus carry was involved.

The Associated Press wasn’t the only news outlet to present a misleading perspective on this issue. When Fox 7 News in Austin carried the AP story, they used the “three firearm discharges on public college campuses” line to caption the story on Facebook:

And when Fox 7 aired a short segment on the AP story’s main focus—the University of Texas graduate students who insist on holding office hours in gun-free bars—they trimmed SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon’s comments to omit both Bensimon’s mention of a scientific study finding that young people are far more likely to be victimized in or near a bar and his reference to statistics showing that Texas license to carry holders are far less likely than their unlicensed peers to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. This inexplicable omission created the impression that Bensimon was merely stating a personal opinion when he argued that holding office hours in bars places students and faculty at greater risk.

With regard to the misleading nature of the AP and Fox 7 stories, Bensimon commented:

I have a lot of respect for the news media, as does everyone at SCC, but we have a duty to our organization and our cause to set the record straight whenever the issue is covered in a way that is inaccurate or misleading. This isn’t about “fake news” or media bias; it’s about journalists looking for the simplest or sexiest approach to covering a complex, unsexy issue. Narrative-building is an appropriate and necessary part of contemporary journalism, and reporting will always amount to more than just stenography, but it’s crucial that stories not omit important facts, even if including those facts diminishes narrative appeal.

*An LTC holder living in on-campus housing would likely need to unload his or her gun from time to time, either to secure it (e.g., if preparing to place the gun in checked baggage for air travel) or to perform routine maintenance on it.

###

ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com or tweet @CampusCarry.

 

RELATED:

“A Refresher on the Case for Campus Carry in Texas”: http://concealedcampus.org/2016/05/a-refresher-on-the-case-for-campus-carry-in-texas/

SCC’s Oct. 2, 2015 – Feb. 19, 2017, Texas press releases and op-eds: https://www.scribd.com/document/319141232/Texas-Students-for-Concealed-Carry-Campus-Carry-Press-Releases-Op-Eds-Oct-2-2015-Feb-19-2017

SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout (includes Dec. 9 – May 22, 2015, press releases and op-eds): https://www.scribd.com/document/255815743/SCC-s-2015-Texas-Legislative-Handout

All SCC statements regarding the campus carry policies proposed by UT-Austin: https://www.scribd.com/document/317821607/Texas-Students-for-Concealed-Carry-Press-Releases-Regarding-UT-Austin-s-Campus-Carry-Policies

 

RECENT NEWS ARTICLES ABOUT CAMPUS CARRY IN TEXAS:

“Campus carry unrest fades in Texas” – The Houston Chronicle – Feb. 18, 2017

“WT transitions smoothly to first semester of campus carry” – Amarillo Globe-News – Dec. 19, 2016

“No gun related incidents reported at UTEP since SB11 went into effect” – KFOX 14 – Oct. 24, 2016

“Midwestern State encouraged by early results of campus carry policy” – KAUZ – Oct. 19, 2016

“Campus carry off to quiet start” – Denton Record-Chronicle – Oct. 15, 2016

“The Beginning of Campus Carry: As a Texas student affected by the law, I never would’ve imagined how much my opinion has changed” – Study Breaks – Sept. 21, 2016

{ 0 comments }

AUSTIN, TEXAS – If you were producing a short documentary about Texas’ campus carry law, wouldn’t you want the input of the student-led organization that started the campus carry movement, solicited the support of both the National Rifle Association and its state affiliates, and popularized the phrasecampus carry“? This apparently wasn’t a priority for PBS when it produced the short documentary “Guns on Campus” to accompany the network’s upcoming broadcast of “Tower,” the award-winning feature-length documentary about the 1966 sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin.

Producer/director Joanne Elgart Jennings waited until she was at the airport, on her way to Texas, before reaching out to the Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry. SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon was eager to speak to Jennings about his organization’s positions and activism, but Jennings refused to interview Bensimon for the documentary unless he agreed to let her film him showing off a gun in his apartment. Bensimon explained that SCC has a strict policy against representatives displaying their handguns to the media, but Jennings refused to budge, and SCC was excluded from PBS’s documentary about the issue SCC created.

Now PBS is promoting a campus carry documentary that, despite offering brief clips of a couple of campus carry supporters, offers no insight into either the campus carry movement or the arguments that got a campus carry law passed in the Lone Star State. The documentary does, however, include an interview with one of the leaders of UT-Austin’s anti-campus carry movement.

The documentary also includes an interview with a UT-Austin professor who—in stark contrast to most media reports—claims that campus carry “makes it really hard for [professors] to do [their] job as instructors” because it has “introduced a level of tension, or wariness, into the classroom setting.” At no point during the documentary does this professor mention that she is one of three professors who filed suit a full month before the law took effect, seeking to block it.

This five-minute hit piece by PBS also includes a short interview with Ramiro Martinez, a retired Austin police officer who was one of two officers who shot and killed the perpetrator of the 1966 University of Texas sniper attack. The piece includes a clip of Martinez speculating about how dangerous it would have been if, during the 96-minute shooting spree, he had encountered an armed citizen who was also looking for the shooter—something license to carry holders are trained not to do.

The piece neglects to mention that Martinez retired from law enforcement five years before Texas’ concealed carry law took effect and that he has no experience as a law enforcement officer in a state where the licensed, concealed carry of handguns is allowed. It also neglects to mention that Martinez’s 2005 autobiography states, “I was and am still upset that more recognition has not been given to the citizens who pulled out their hunting rifles and returned the sniper’s fire. The City of Austin and the State of Texas should be forever thankful and grateful to them because of the many lives they saved that day.”

Michael Newbern, assistant director of public relations for SCC, commented, “How does someone produce a documentary on Texas’ campus carry law and not involve the group responsible for virtually every pro-campus carry op-ed published in Texas during the past decade? How do they not include the one group that ran a TV commercial supporting passage of the campus carry bill? It’s as if the film’s producers had no interest in the individuals and arguments that got the law passed in the first place.”

Bensimon, the SCC director who took the call from the documentary’s producer/director, explained his feelings on the matter:

When Ms. Jennings called, she left a voice mail stating that she was doing a story about “open carry on the UT campus” and that she planned on filming an “open carry class” and wanted to talk to “gun owners who can make the case that civilians who are trained and armed can assist law enforcement.”

The fact that she referenced gun owners rather than to license to carry holders gave me pause. There is a big difference between someone who simply buys a gun and someone who goes through the training, testing, and vetting required to obtain a Texas license to carry.

Also, the fact that she clearly didn’t understand the difference between open carry, which remains illegal on Texas college campuses, and concealed carry, which is what the Texas Legislature voted to allow on college campuses, made me think she hadn’t done much homework before embarking on her trip to Texas.

I was further concerned by the fact that she wanted someone to defend the argument that gun owners can “assist law enforcement ,” which was not one of the arguments behind the passage of Texas’ campus carry law—a law that is about personal protection, not campus protection, that is about allowing licensed individuals on campus their usual means of self-defense, not about creating amateur security guards.

Given Ms. Jennings’ fundamental misunderstandings of the issue, I thought SCC would have a lot to contribute to her project. But when I returned her call, she was only interested in finding somebody to add controversy or sex appeal or whatever she thought showing a student with a gun added to her film.

###

ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.

 

RELATED:

“A Refresher on the Case for Campus Carry in Texas”: http://concealedcampus.org/2016/05/a-refresher-on-the-case-for-campus-carry-in-texas/

SCC’s Oct. 2, 2015 – Feb. 8, 2017, Texas press releases and op-eds: https://www.scribd.com/document/319141232/Texas-Students-for-Concealed-Carry-Campus-Carry-Press-Releases-Op-Eds-Oct-2-2015-Feb-8-2017

SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout (includes Dec. 9 – May 22, 2015, press releases and op-eds): https://www.scribd.com/document/255815743/SCC-s-2015-Texas-Legislative-Handout

All SCC statements regarding the campus carry policies proposed by UT-Austin: https://www.scribd.com/document/317821607/Texas-Students-for-Concealed-Carry-Press-Releases-Regarding-UT-Austin-s-Campus-Carry-Policies

 

RECENT NEWS ARTICLES ABOUT CAMPUS CARRY IN TEXAS:

“WT transitions smoothly to first semester of campus carry” – Amarillo Globe-News – Dec. 19, 2016

“No gun related incidents reported at UTEP since SB11 went into effect” – KFOX 14 – Oct. 24, 2016

“Midwestern State encouraged by early results of campus carry policy” – KAUZ – Oct. 19, 2016

“Campus carry off to quiet start” – Denton Record-Chronicle – Oct. 15, 2016

“The Beginning of Campus Carry: As a Texas student affected by the law, I never would’ve imagined how much my opinion has changed” – Study Breaks – Sept. 21, 2016

{ 0 comments }

Latest Texas Statistics Bolster Case for Campus Carry

January 31, 2017

AUSTIN, TEXAS – The Texas Department of Public Safety has released its 2016 demographic data on Texas license to carry (LTC) holders, and for the third consecutive year, LTC holders of typical college age had their licenses revoked at a lower rate than did LTC holders twenty years older. Here are the statistics collected by […]

Read the full article →

Johns Hopkins Report on Campus Carry Is Seriously Flawed

November 1, 2016

An October 15 report by Daniel W. Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, and nine coauthors has resulted in several bold headlines but little critical analysis. Articles with titles such as “Report: Allowing Guns On Campus Results In More, Not Less, Gun Violence” and “Guns on campus unlikely to […]

Read the full article →

SCC Statement on NRA Opinion Column by Former SCC Director

November 1, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11/01/2016 CONTACT: Brian Bensimon, Southwest Regional Director, SCC: brian.bensimon@concealedcampus.org Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations, SCC: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org SCC Statement on NRA Opinion Column by Former SCC Director AUSTIN, TX – A recent opinion column by former Students for Concealed Carry Southwest Regional Director Antonia Okafor, published in the NRA periodical […]

Read the full article →

Students for Concealed Carry Welcomes New Southwest Regional Director

September 30, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/30/2016 CONTACT: Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations, SCC: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org Students for Concealed Carry Welcomes New Southwest Regional Director AUSTIN, TX – Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) wishes the best to outgoing Southwest regional director Antonia Okafor, who is moving on to the next stage of her career, and congratulates […]

Read the full article →