Students for Concealed Carry’s Statement on the Murder at UT-Austin

by Robert Eagar on April 11, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 04/11/2016

CONTACT:

Antonia Okafor, Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC): antonia.okafor@concealedcampus.org

Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org

AUSTIN, TX – The recent murder of a female undergraduate on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin serves as a tragic reminder that college campuses, though typically safe, do play host to every form of violent crime found throughout the rest of society. No matter how much we want to believe that universities are safe spaces shielded from the dangers of the “real world,” the truth is that the only thing separating most campuses from the rest of the world is a sidewalk. And as we saw at UT-Austin, that sidewalk can be crossed at any time, without warning.

Anti-campus carry activists who harp on the fact that college campuses are statistically very safe (typically on par with affluent neighborhoods in the same city) presuppose that a holder of a license to carry (LTC) a handgun should only carry a gun in places where violent crime is likely. However, like most reasonable people, LTC holders generally avoid places where violence is likely. They choose to carry handguns in case violence finds them some place where they had no reason to expect it, such as at a movie theater, a restaurant, or even a college campus.

The trained, licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) who regularly carry concealed handguns in presumably safe locations such as shopping malls, churches, libraries, museums, and even the Texas Capitol are the same ones who’ll soon be authorized to carry concealed handguns on Texas college campuses. However, UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves and the university’s campus carry policy working group have crafted policies that, in conflict with the intent of the campus carry law passed by the Texas Legislature, will leave LTC holders less able to defend themselves on the University of Texas campus than in most other places throughout the state.

Imagine that you’re a 22-year-old woman walking back to your car after studying late at the UT library. As you reach for your car door, a man lunges from the shadows and grabs your other arm. Your adrenaline surges, and your mind goes to the concealed handgun tucked into your waistband. As the man twists your arm and tries to force you to the ground, your free hand grabs the gun. You draw it just as his free hand draws a knife from his pocket. You point the gun at your assailant, squeeze the trigger, and…CLICK. Per UT-Austin’s campus carry policy, your gun’s chamber is empty. Even if you had an extra second to chamber a round, you’d need both hands free to do so.

Now imagine that you’re a female university employee walking through that same garage when a man with a knife steps out in front of you. Your first instinct is to reach for the secret handgun pocket built into the side of your purse, but it’s empty. Because you’re never sure when your job will require you to visit an office that the occupant has declared “gun-free,” you’re seldom able to carry your gun on campus. According to state law, you have the right to carry a concealed handgun on campus, but thanks to university policy, you enjoy that right in name only.

The recent tragedy at UT-Austin should serve as a wakeup call to university administrators who seek to handicap LTC holders on campus. Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “The senselessness of this heinous crime reaffirms that we can’t try to predict when and where violence will strike. For that reason, vetted, licensed adults should enjoy the same measure of personal protection on campus that they already enjoy virtually everywhere else.”

Student for Concealed Carry extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young woman murdered at UT-Austin. In deference to her family’s statement that “the last thing she would want is to be the poster child for any cause,” we have refrained from using her name in this release.

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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:

“In wake of death, UT confronts questions of security” (Austin American-Statesman): http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/in-wake-of-death-ut-confronts-questions-of-securit/nq3Hx/

“Dangers of Waller Creek Where University of Texas-Austin Student Was Killed Long Known” (Patch.com): http://patch.com/texas/downtownaustin/dangers-waller-creek-where-university-texas-austin-was-killed-long-known

SCC’s Feb. 17 – April 11 Texas Press Releases: http://tinyurl.com/tx-scc-press-releases

UPDATE:

SCC’s Response to Slapdash ‘Newsweek’ Hatchet Job

AUSTIN, TX – The same pseudo-journalist who repeated conspiracy theories about SCC’s founding and funding, without noting that those theories originated with a national gun-control conglomerate, is back at it with an article that, beginning with the headline itself, is nothing but a straw man argument. In his Newsweek article inaccurately titled “Campus carry advocates suggest gun might have prevented University of Texas murder,” Max Kutner makes no attempt to craft anything but a hit piece as he purports to analyze SCC’s official statement on the recent murder at the University of Texas at Austin.

For six days following the first news of this tragic crime, Students for Concealed Carry declined media requests for comment and refrained from issuing a press release on the matter. Only once the basic facts of the crime were known and the UT community had had an opportunity to grieve did SCC issue a public statement acknowledging that this senseless murder serves as a painful reminder that college campuses are not immune to violent crime.

In issuing that statement, SCC took care to avoid naming either the victim or the suspected perpetrator and to refrain from saying anything that might be perceived as unsubstantiated speculation as to contributing factors or circumstances under which the outcome might have been different.

The statement released by SCC is not about the specifics of this crime or its victim; therefore, how the victim or her family might have felt about campus carry has little bearing on the matter. We do not suggest that the victim should have been carrying a gun or even—given her young age—that she should have had the option to carry a gun. Furthermore, we do not postulate that the outcome of this crime would have been different if the victim had been carrying a gun. Our only objective in referencing this crime is to acknowledge the reality that violent crimes do occur on college campuses. That fact does not change based on someone’s personal feelings about campus carry.

An academic community should understand better than any other that educated decisions must be informed by factual evidence. It is unrealistic to think that a murder on a college campus will not be cited in a debate about whether or not people need the ability to defend themselves on college campuses. Just as an advocate for school bus safety can cite a tragic school bus accident without crassly politicizing the incident, proponents of campus carry can cite an on-campus murder without crassly politicizing that incident.

Short of completely ignoring a crime that goes to the heart of our organization’s mission, we at SCC did everything in our power to be respectful of the victim, the victim’s family, and the UT community. We are completely comfortable with the actions we took, and we can only hope that the individuals and organizations who choose to criticize those actions do so out of grief and not out of a cynical desire to effect their own political ends.

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