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Keeping Your Gun Safe at University: A Foolproof Guide

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At this moment, ten states allow concealed handgun license holders to carry guns on campus. Essentially, this measure aims at maximizing the protection of the students, faculty, and staff, especially in light of the many shootings that have taken place in schools and public spaces.

Nevertheless, carrying a gun comes with a range of responsibilities. When you decide to carry a gun with you, you should take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent unwanted scenarios from happening.

First, you should assess the risks. While it appears that the likelihood of accidental death in a house with a gun is ten times higher than in the case of a house without a gun,the question that needs to be asked is why. The major issue in this respect is forgetting to secure the firearm. At the same time, storing it accordingly is just as important.

Safeguard the Gun at All Times

Normally, at home you would have a sturdy safe to keep your firearm at all times. If you haven’t considered investing in a safe until now, then we advise you to do this, as it’s highly recommended for the preservation of your valuables (and your firearms) in a disaster, and dissuades theft. If you’re undecided about the item that suits you best, check the Minute Man Review for some useful guidelines on the topic.

Moving on to carrying your gun on campus, you should know that it’s your responsibility to protect it. We advise you to utilize a retention holster. These usually comes with a locking mechanism that prevents unauthorized access to the weapon. Usually, concealed carriers aren’t too concerned about this aspect, as most people won’t be aware that they’re carrying a gun with them. Nevertheless, even in this situation, there are retention issues that shouldn’t be overlooked.

For example, at university, people might bump into you – at the cafeteria, on-campus – wherever there are crowds of people rushing in a specific direction. Thus, by using a retention holster, you can be 100 percent confident that the gun won’t come out unintentionally.

Use a Good Holster and Belt

Carrying a loaded handgun is serious business. This is why, at first, you might feel anxious or agitated. Nonetheless, there’s also the risk that, once you get used to carrying the gun with you, you might become careless and ignorant, thus, forgetting to respect the primary safety procedures.

And while it is true that a gun can be very dangerous, as long as you include the right habits into your daily routine, you’ll prevent unwanted incidents from happening.

With that in mind, there are two critical pieces of gear you should invest in – namely an adequate holster and a decent gun belt. Even if these might require a notable investment, they are meant to maximize your safety and the safety of those around you.

So, you should put the firearm in a holster; preferably, the holster should be made from leather or kydex. These materials are form fitted to the specific model of the firearm, which will maximize safety. On the other hand, generic one-size-fits-all holsters cannot possibly secure all types of firearms. At the same time, you should stay away from holsters manufactured from cloth materials, as they are far from being safe.

The purpose of the holster is to secure the gun and keep it in place during the day. Hence, it should keep it tight. Simultaneously, the trigger guard of the gun has to be covered at all times. Only this way can you be 100 percent sure that the gun won’t discharge regardless of the type of activity you engage in.

Furthermore, it is highly recommended for the holster to be securely affixed to the belt through the clips or loops. The belt should easily cope with the weight of the gun. In general, regular belts tend to be on the flimsy side, making them widely unsafe for carrying a firearm – especially at university. Plus, if you want to attach the holstered gun to a regular belt, you might feel uncomfortable and self-aware throughout the day.

Avoid Handling Your Weapon If Unnecessary

In order to eliminate the likelihood of negligent discharge, you should minimize handling of the firearm if it isn’t absolutely necessary. Now, let’s say that you securely position your gun in its holster when you leave the house. Ideally, the gun should stay put until you return home. There isn’t any reason you should access your firearm – unless you must use it for self-defense purposes, of course.

In case you have to remove the gun because you need to enter a restricted area, make sure you are very careful when handling the firearm. In fact, many people choose holsters that come with clips – as this makes it easier to take the holster off and back on without removing the firearm.

You might be surprised, but there are many irresponsible people out there, who are quite careless when it comes to gun carrying and handling – especially in public. For example, numerous surveillance videos have shown individuals unholstering their guns unnecessarily. The bottom line is that gun handling should be done only in the appropriate circumstances. It is not a joke; it isn’t something to brag about. It’s as simple as this: you shouldn’t unholster your firearm unless you have to defend yourself.  

On a final note, when carrying a gun with you in public, you should develop a sense of self-awareness. Eventually, it will become second-nature. However, as a piece of advice, if you carry a strong side hip holster, then you should learn to protect that specific side.

Also, when eating at the cafeteria, if you have the choice, you should sit with the gun side away from the person sitting next to you. Plus, if it’s possible, avoid making any contact with the firearm.

We all wish that dangerous situations never occur and that we all never face life-threatening conditions. But we should all be prepared and learn how to handle a gun safely in case something goes wrong.

Student Activists Must Learn to Be Students of the Issues They Address

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/06/2018

CONTACT: media@concealedcampus.org

AUSTIN, TEXAS – There is nothing more frustrating than seeing an otherwise well-reasoned op-ed destroyed by a blatantly untrue statement. Such is the case with Jack Kappelman’s August 6, 2018, Texas Tribune op-ed, “Texas leaders are wrong to oppose red flag laws.”

Kappelman, a recent graduate of Austin’s Liberal Arts and Science Academy magnet high school, offers a relatively articulate, factual defense of so-called “red flag laws,” until the latter part of the column, when he writes:

Our lawmakers are out of touch with reality. They work in areas far better protected than our schools, our churches, our movie theaters, our grocery stores and our homes. Because no guns are allowed on the House or Senate floor, our elected representatives, unlike the students of Texas, have never had to practice active shooter drills. They have no reason to be afraid.

Anyone who has spent significant time studying Texas gun politics knows that the licensed, concealed carry of handguns is allowed throughout the Texas Capitol, including on the House and Senate floors and in legislative offices. The Capitol security checkpoints famously have special lines allowing Texas license to carry (LTC) holders to bypass the metal detectors.

It’s possible that Kappelman, intending to make a case for the efficacy of licensed concealed carry, meant to say that the UNLICENSED possession of guns is prohibited on the House and Senate floors; however, it’s more likely that he, like the anti-campus carry activists who parroted this same bogus argument throughout multiple sessions of the Texas Legislature, is taking his talking points from people who don’t know the Lone Star State or its gun laws.

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Texas’ Campus Carry Law Turns Two

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/30/2018

CONTACT:
Students for Concealed Carry Media: media@concealedcampus.org

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Wednesday, August 1, marks two years since Texas’ campus carry law took effect at public universities and one year since it took effect at community colleges. During that time, no Texas college has reported a resulting fatality, injury, assault, threat, or suicide attempt.

Texas is one of six states­—along with Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Georgia, and (as of February of this year) Arkansas—that allow anyone with the appropriate license* to carry a concealed handgun inside the buildings of public colleges, including in classrooms. Nationwide, such policies are in effect on more than 350 college campuses. After a combined total of more than 2,000 semesters of campus carry, not one of these institutions has reported a resulting act of violence.

Since 2007, when Students for Concealed Carry launched the national campus carry movement, the number of campus-carry campuses in the U.S. has increased more than tenfold. Mike Newbern, assistant director of public relations for SCC, commented, “We’re pleased but not surprised to see that campus carry has worked out exactly as we predicted.”

*Since July 1, 2017, Kansas has allowed the unlicensed, concealed carry of handguns in campus buildings, including in college classrooms. No problems have been reported.

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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 or tweet @CampusCarry.

RELATED:

“Texas Legislative Candidate/Former Professor Omits Important Facts”: https://www.ammoland.com/2018/07/texas-legislative-candidate-former-professor-omits-important-facts/#axzz5M150Mn96

“Everytown for Gun Safety Continues to Ignore the Facts”: http://concealedcampus.org/2018/05/everytown-for-gun-safety-continues-to-ignore-the-facts/

SCC’s Amicus Brief in Glass v. Paxton (Fifth Circuit): https://www.ammoland.com/2018/02/scc-sccf-file-amicus-brief-u-texas-professors-campus-carry-suit/#axzz5CzmeJ49g

“What ‘Rolling Stone’ Got Wrong About the ‘Fight Over Guns on Campus'”: http://concealedcampus.org/2017/03/what-rolling-stone-got-wrong-about-the-fight-over-guns-on-campus/

“Johns Hopkins Report on Campus Carry Is Seriously Flawed”: http://concealedcampus.org/2016/11/johns-hopkins-report-on-campus-carry-is-seriously-flawed/

“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 – Aug. 1, 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-Aug-1-2017

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

Everytown for Gun Safety Continues to Ignore the Facts

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 05/22/2018

CONTACT: media@concealedcampus.org

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control conglomerate that falsely told both state legislators and the public that Texas’ then-pending campus carry law would allow guns in fraternity houses, off-campus parties, and football stadiums, is now blaming that law, which allows licensed adults to carry concealed handguns on college campuses, for last week’s mass shooting by an unlicensed minor armed with a shotgun at a Santa Fe, Texas, high school.

Everytown, which also funds the conspiracy-peddling online magazine The Trace, recently purchased a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle and used that premium ad space to publish an open letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, signed by 41 student gun-control activists. In the letter’s opening paragraph, the signers criticize Abbot for having “signed dangerous policies to force public colleges in Texas to allow guns on campus.”

Texas is currently one of six states that allow the licensed concealed carry of handguns in public college classrooms[i]. In these states, campus carry is allowed on a total of more than 350 campuses and has been for a combined total of more than 2,000 semesters. Not one of these states/campuses has reported a resulting assault, suicide attempt, or fatality. So what are Everytown and its 41 student activists complaining about?

The vast majority of peer-reviewed studies on the issue of licensed concealed carry have concluded that it cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime. Furthermore, licensingconviction, and license revocation statistics maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety suggest that a person on a Texas college campus is hundreds of times more likely to be assaulted by an armed student who is not licensed to carry a handgun than by one who is. So, again, what are Everytown and its 41 student activists complaining about?

It speaks to the cogency, or lack thereof, of Everytown’s arguments that they were forced to pay for a full-page ad in order to make their case to the public. Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), which lacks even one-tenth of 1% of Everytown’s massive and often misspent budget, has traditionally used op-eds, which cost nothing but do require well-articulated arguments, to get its message in front of Houston Chronicle readers.

Quinn Cox, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, “The purchase of this full-page ad is par for the course for Everytown. After an impartial poll by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Tribune found more Texans in support of campus carry than opposed to it, Everytown spent a small fortune commissioning their own internal poll with the purpose of getting the opposite result. Suffice it to say, we’re not exactly shocked that they’ve chosen to address the problem with cash rather than facts.”

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[i] Kansas allows unlicensed carry in college classrooms, and several other states have laws that allow carry by only faculty/staff or that allow concealed carry on campus grounds but not in campus buildings.

One-Year Anniversary of Campus Carry Brings Changes to State Law and SCC

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AUSTIN, TEXAS –  Today marks both the one-year anniversary of campus carry at Texas universities and the first day of campus carry at Texas junior/community colleges. Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) celebrates the fact that, 366 days afterTexas Senate Bill 11 legalized the licensed, concealed carry of handguns at four-year institutions of higher education, not a single university has reported a resulting assault, suicide attempt, fatality, or injury. We hope this track record will inspire university regents, state legislators, and the Office of the Attorney General to work to strike down the handful of university policies that continue to circumvent the clear intent of SB 11 by prohibiting many—and in some cases all—license to carry (LTC) holders from carrying concealed handguns on campus.

Although opponents of campus carry still challenge the wisdom and efficacy of SB 11, claiming that the law is unnecessary and that it poses a greater risk at two-year colleges where high school students may be dual-enrolled, such claims ignore both the intent of the law and the relevant facts. The evidence strongly suggests that campus carry has had no ill effect on four-year universities, and we have every reason to expect the same result at two-year colleges.

In other news, today marks a transition in SCC’s leadership. Quinn Cox, an incoming junior who previously served as vice president of SCC’s campus chapter at the University of Texas at Austin, will assume the role of Southwest regional director. Cox takes over for outgoing regional director Brian Bensimon, who held the position during the 2016-2017 school year. Bensimon, who served as SCC’s director for the state of Texas before being promoted to regional director, will remain on as a senior advisor to SCC’s state chapter.

Incoming director Cox commented:

Today marks an important milestone for Texas’ campus carry law. Contrary to critics’ predictions, college life hasn’t changed much in the Lone Star State—as has been the case in every other state that allows the licensed, concealed carry of handguns on college campuses, time has shown the law to be a non-issue. Today also marks an important milestone for me personally. I am honored to accept the regional director position, and I look forward to continuing the fight for campus carry in Texas. I applaud my predecessor for the leadership and guidance he brought to the role, and I will do my best to continue his steadfast commitment to the cause.

Outgoing director Bensimon stated:

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I had in serving as SCC’s Southwest regional director, but I leave the position knowing that the organization will be in good hands with Quinn Cox. Cox worked behind the scenes for months to help build our local chapter at UT and, in doing so, demonstrated poise, diligence, and a firm grasp of the issue. Quinn is exceedingly qualified to lead Texas into the next era of campus carry, and I have full trust and confidence in his abilities.

Michael Newbern, SCC assistant director of public relations, added:

Bensimon performed admirably as a regional director and always acted with grace and diplomacy. We are sure to miss his day-to-day contributions to SCC, but we are glad to retain him as a senior advisor. Although Bensimon will be missed, we are glad that we have found someone as capable and qualified as Cox to help lead our organization. Campus carry advocates can rest assured that this student-led movement is in good hands.

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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:

“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/

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

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

SCC’s Oct. 2, 2015 – May 3, 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-May-3-2017

Judge Rules Students for Concealed Carry Can Sue Ohio State University

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
media@concealedcampus.org

DATE: May 16, 2017

(Columbus, Ohio) – Last week Students for Concealed Carry Foundation, Inc. won a strategic victory in its lawsuit challenging The Ohio State University’s authority to ban lawful possession of firearms by students, faculty, staff, and other affiliates on its campuses.

Marion County Common Pleas Judge Jim Slagle ruled in the group’s favor in response to Ohio State’s motion to dismiss, affirming their legal standing to bring suit against the university.

Judge Slagle ruled that Michael Newbern, plaintiff, has standing as a continuing education student to challenge the student code of conduct and as a contract faculty member to challenge the Human Resources Policy, both of which broadly ban firearms on campus. A violation of either firearms ban carries heavy penalties.

“Expulsion from Ohio State for a firearms related incident carries severe consequences for a law-abiding student including an academic record blemish that can virtually guarantee the disciplined student may never earn an accredited degree.” Michael R. Moran, a Columbus attorney representing the plaintiffs said., “For the faculty member who’s devoted his or her life to academia, such a disciplinary action would be career ending.”

Students for Concealed Carry Foundation, joined by Ohioans for Concealed Carry, believes that Ohio State’s campus gun ban unlawfully infringes on fundamental constitutional rights. It also disarms students to and from campus, leaving them vulnerable to violent crime on their commute in what is historically a high crime area, the University District. While Ohio law permits a concealed handgun licensee to store a firearm in a motor vehicle on OSU’s campuses, a student could face administrative sanctions from the university including expulsion due to certain provisions in the Student Code of Conduct. Standing of both groups was also affirmed in Judge Slagle’s ruling.

“The Ohio Revised Code is clear that the legislature retains sole authority to regulate the possession of firearms.” Moran’s co-counsel Derek DeBrosse of Barney DeBrosse, LLC said. “Ohio State’s policies are in direct violation of the law. The law and the Constitution are clear; no person should have to choose between his or her right to selfdefense and education or career.”

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Derek A. DeBrosse, Esq., Barney DeBrosse, LLC can be reached at derek@barneydebrosse.com or 614.326.1919.

Michael R. Moran, Esq., Michael R. Moran Co., LPA can be reached at mrmoran@mrmoran.com or 614.476.6453.

Students for Concealed Carry Foundation, Inc. is a nationwide, non-partisan student organization founded to perform scholarly legal and public policy research, to educate the public concerning issues of civil liberties pertaining to firearms at postsecondary educational institutions through conferences and other media, and to engage in legal action when necessary to fulfill the objectives of the organization.

Ohioans for Concealed Carry, founded in 1999, is an all-volunteer, grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and expanding the rights of all law-abiding gun owners in Ohio.

What ‘Rolling Stone’ Got Wrong About the “Fight Over Guns on Campus”

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AUSTIN, TEXAS – When Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) was approached last July by a young reporter from Rolling Stone magazine, we were skeptical. Rolling Stone is known for pandering to trendy views, not challenging them. However, the reporter promised that his article on the campus carry movement would be a long-form piece based on months of research, and we decided that not participating in the story would do more harm than participating.

After reading reporter Ben Wofford’s article “Inside the Fight Over Guns on Campus” (issue 1284, April 6, 2017, released March 24, 2017), we still believe we made the right decision; however, we’re not at all surprised to see that Wofford discarded most of what we said and twisted what little he didn’t discard. Here are a few of the things Rolling Stone and Ben Wofford get wrong or neglect to say about SCC and the campus carry movement, in the order that these errors and omissions appear in the article:

  1. Wofford quotes a University of Texas at Austin professor as saying, “I just hope someday the legislature allows guns to be carried into their offices.”

Wofford does not point out that, in reality, Texas legislators—like most employees of the State of Texas—are required by law to allow the licensed carry of handguns in their offices (in fact, unlike professors, legislators are required to allow both concealed and open—aka unconcealed—carry in their offices).

We know that Ben Wofford was aware of this fact because we sent him five different emails (July 13 and 19, 2016, and Jan. 8, 23, and 25, 2017) explaining this fact and because it is detailed in past press releases that we repeatedly made available to him.

 

  1. Wofford writes, “With few exceptions, the public overwhelmingly opposes guns on college campuses.”

He neglects to mention that one of those exceptions is Texas. There have been exactly three impartial, scientific polls on the subject since spring 2015. Two showed a statistical tie between Texas voters who support campus carry and those who oppose it (one poll found slightly more voters in support of campus carry, and the other found slightly more voters opposed to campus carry; however, the results of both were within the margins of error). The third poll found 51% of Texas voters supporting some measure of campus carry (with 25% supporting it everywhere and 26% supporting it in approved places) and only 37% opposing it altogether.

We know that Ben Wofford was aware of this fact because we sent him two emails (Jan. 9 and Feb. 8, 2017) explaining this fact.

 

  1. Wofford writes that there is “a discrepancy in Texas law that bars sex toys in public but not handguns on campus,” despite the fact that SCC demonstrated irrefutably that no such law exists.

We know that Wofford was aware that no such law exists because we sent him two emails (Sept. 15 and Oct. 11, 2016) explaining this fact.

 

  1. Despite having been there in person, Wofford fails to mention SCC’s response to the #CocksNotGlocks protest, which involved SCC members taking turns standing up at the protest, holding a sign of solidarity with the anti-campus carry protestors:

  1. Wofford writes, “[License to carry holder Nick] Rolland notes that a few armed civilians had fired up at [the 1966 University of Texas sniper].”

What Wofford fails to note is that survivors of that incident and law enforcement officers who responded to it credited those armed civilians with saving lives that day.

This fact was pointed out to Wofford in three carefully sourced and cited emails (July 28 and 29, 2016, and Feb. 13, 2017) from SCC.

  1. Writing about the national reaction to the first calls for campus carry that were made in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, Wofford writes, “[E]ven the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre disavowed the idea.”

We at SCC are not aware of any instance of LaPierre disavowing college campus carry in the aftermath of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre. What Wofford appears to be referring to is LaPierre’s disavowing of guns at K-12 schools, in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine massacre. This 1999 statement by LaPierre was covered in a 2013 article in Rolling Stone.

 

  1. Former SCC director Scott Lewis never told Wofford that the media exposure was “addictive.”

Lewis’ actual statement, which can be heard in an audio recording of the interview, was,

Unfortunately, the movement is harder to walk away from than you’d think. It kind of becomes an addiction. You get used to that rush—especially when you’re young and you realize that most of what you’ve done up to that point in your life has kind of been focused on yourself, and suddenly you’re part of something bigger than yourself, and you’re fighting for a cause you really believe in, and people are really listening to you—and that is addicting.

It’s clear from the audio recording that the comment was made not in reference to media attention but in reference to Lewis’ decision to return to SCC in 2010 to serve as Texas legislative director, after resigning from the national board of directors in 2008.

On March 11, a Rolling Stone fact-checker called Lewis to ask if he had ever said that the media attention was addicting. Lewis told the fact checker that he had not and provided the fact checker a transcript of the actual quote (which Lewis noted he’d copied from a recording of the interview). Despite the correction offered by Lewis, this out-of-context use of his words remains in the story.

 

  1. Wofford writes, “‘Why am I allowed to carry at a local movie theater, but not the campus theater?’ asks Lewis. ‘That’s the case we made.'”

This is the actual quote by Lewis:

One of the things that kept occurring to me as I was watching all this [news coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre] was I kept remembering the week before when I had gone to a play with my girlfriend at the time, who was—she was a theater major at Texas State University, and I had gone to a play with her at Texas State. And I distinctly remembered locking my gun in the vault of my car and thinking how silly it was that if I went to a community theater play in San Marcos, I could carry my gun. If I went to the local movie theater in San Marcos, I could carry my gun. But I was having to lock it up to go into a play on a university campus, and that just seemed like a silly inconsistency in the law. I didn’t think a lot about it at that time. I just remember thinking how kind of out of step that was with how the gun laws worked throughout the rest of the state. And, anyway, as I was watching the Virginia Tech news coverage, I thought back to the week before when I went to that play, and I just remember thinking, “That could have been me. What would the end result have been if somebody had started shooting in that theater? Would I have died thinking about my handgun that was locked in the car a hundred yards away, or would I have survived to tell my girlfriend’s mother how her daughter died in my arms or something like that?” I couldn’t think of any scenario that would play out that would be as favorable as me having the handgun I carried every day and being able to at least have a fighting chance.

[six minutes of conversation about SCC’s growth between the time of the Virginia Tech massacre and the massacre at Northern Illinois University]

We had a pretty disciplined message where we kind of eschewed the typical gun-rights talking points about “God-given rights” and  infringement on the Second Amendment and stuff like that. And we just tried to make the pragmatic case that this is a natural extension of what’s allowed everywhere else. We kind of made the case that I was making to myself the day of the Virginia Tech shooting, when I was thinking about a week before when I went to that play, when I was thinking, “Why am I allowed to carry at the municipal theater and the local movie theater but not in the campus theater?” And that’s kind of the case we made. We said, “Why are you letting these people have the means to defend themselves pretty much everywhere else they go but not here?”

 

  1. Wofford writes, “SAF’s founder, Alan Gottlieb, who is 69, hosted some of the SCC members at a 2007 conference outside Cincinnati.”

This statement is not inaccurate; however, in light of past accusations that SCC is secretly funded by the Second Amendment Foundation, a little context is necessary: A Cincinnati-based member of SCC’s original four-person board of directors was invited to give a short (approx. 10-min.) speech at the Cincinnati-based conference. In other words, SAF “hosted” a local student by providing him with a 10-minute speaking block at a free-to-attend conference taking place in his home city.

 

  1. Wofford writes, “[In 2009, SCC] lost its first battle in Texas — outflanked by opponents at UT, led by grad student John Woods, who had lost his girlfriend in the Virginia Tech shooting.”

Although it’s true that Texas’ campus carry bill failed in 2009, the suggestion that the loss was due to SCC being “outflanked by opponents at UT” is at best a partial truth and at worst a bit of creative writing on the part of Wofford.

Texas’ 2009 campus carry bill was authored by 13 of 31 Texas senators (including two prominent Democrats) and 75 of 150 Texas representatives (including several Democrats). It passed out of the Senate with the support of 20 of 31 senators, including four prominent Democrats.

The bill didn’t reach the House Calendars Committee (responsible for scheduling House floor votes) until one day after House Democrats began filibustering (through a technique known as “chubbing”) an unrelated Voter I.D. bill. When it became clear that the filibuster would last the next three days (until the voting deadline) and kill all pending legislation, the House Calendars Committee declined to schedule any more bills for votes, and the campus carry bill died.

One can argue that perhaps the bill would have passed out of the Senate sooner if not for the efforts of John Woods and his supporters at UT-Austin, but to give them full credit for the defeat of a bill that passed out of the Senate by an almost two-thirds majority, that had half of the House signed on as coauthors, and that ultimately fell victim to an unrelated filibuster is more than a little disingenuous.

 

  1. Wofford writes, “By the time Lewis’ efforts in Texas paid off last year — after three failed attempts — the NRA was calling the legislation ‘NRA-backed campus carry.'”

This raises two issues, the least significant of which is: Why is Wofford still talking about Lewis, whose last leadership role with SCC ended four years before the 2015 passage of Texas’ campus carry law? Wofford interviewed a half-dozen other SCC leaders, past and present, each for hours at a time, so why did only one make it into this story that is supposed to provide an “inside look” at the campus carry movement?

For that matter, why is there only one quote from John Woods and nothing from Colin Goddard, the two pillars of the anti-campus carry movement during the era that Lewis was active? What exactly does this story purport to provide an inside look at?

More significantly, Wofford is going out of his way to suggest that the NRA arrived late to the party and then pretended it was their idea all along. In reality, all of the campus carry bills considered by the Texas Legislature were backed by the NRA. This fact is easily verified by reviewing committee testimony from past sessions.

Lewis sent Wofford detailed information on the NRA’s support for campus carry, dating back to Jan. 2008, and, in an email dated Sep. 6, 2016, told Wofford, “[T]he NRA and their Texas affiliate the Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) were by far SCC’s biggest allies in Texas. Aside from SCC, they were the only gun rights groups on the ground at the Texas Capitol, actively lobbying for campus carry bills.”

 

  1. Wofford writes, “No one, not even police, can ask students if they’re armed.”

On the contrary, a police officer can not only ask a student if he or she is armed; a police officer can also disarm the student if the officer feels unsafe during the interaction.

 

  1. Wofford writes, “But there are about 43 firearm accidents every day across this country, a statistic borne out at a handful of campus-carry universities. In 2011, at UT Austin, a fraternity brother was arrested for firing his rifle inside the house’s laundry room.”

There are four problems with this statement:

  • In 2011, UT-Austin was not a campus-carry university.
  • Texas’ campus carry law does not apply to rifles.
  • Texas’ campus carry law does not apply to fraternity houses.
  • The fraternity brother was arrested for firing the rifle at people, not on accident.

 

  1. Wofford writes, “Harvard researchers have found that students who keep guns are more prone to impulsive decision-making and dangerous habits, like drunk driving.”

He neglects to mention that this study looked primarily at students who keep guns illegally and, statistically speaking, looked at few if any license to carry holders.

This fact is featured prominently on the “Commons Arguments” page of SCC’s website.

 

  1. Wofford writes about the “growing paranoia” on the UT-Austin campus but fails to mention that virtually every in-state news article written about Texas’ campus carry law since September of last year has been about how fears are rapidly subsiding.

EXAMPLES:

“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

 

  1. Wofford writes that some people have concerns about what happens if an armed students hears gunshots coming from a building and “runs inside, only to confront another armed student responder.” He neglects to mention that SCC pointed out to him in six different emails (July 25, July 28, July 29, and Aug. 2. 2016, and Jan. 9 and Feb. 13, 2017) that license to carry holders are taught not to seek out a shooter or attempt to interdict a crime that does not already involve them.

 

  1. Wofford refers to a 2009 experiment that purported to demonstrate that an armed student could not stop an active shooter, as, “an experiment run by the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, police department.”In reality, the experiment was designed and hosted by the ABC television show 20/20, with the help of the Bethlehem, Pa., police department.

The experiment had numerous flaws, most notable of which are the fact that not one of the student participants was licensed to carry a handgun (only one had ever fired a handgun prior to that day) and the fact that the person portraying the gunman was a seasoned SWAT officer and instructor who not only knew he would face an armed student in each classroom but knew which student would be armed and where that student would be sitting. The fact that this “experiment” was less a recreation of an active-shooter incident than of a targeted assassination may explain why, as Wofford puts it, “[T]he armed students were consistently mowed down in seconds.” In real mass shootings, people have spent minutes hiding under desks or talking to 911 operators before finally being shot.

It should be noted that the “Common Arguments” page of SCC’s website (which one would think Wofford would have looked at during the nine months he spent researching this story) links to a lengthy deconstruction of and rebuttal to this experiment.

 

  1. Wofford points to an FBI/ALERRT study that found just five active-shooter incidents stopped by armed citizens but 21 stopped by unarmed citizens. He neglects to mention that 11 of the 21 shootings stopped by unarmed citizens took place in schools, where firearms were statutorily prohibited.

This fact was explained to Wofford in an email sent to him on Oct. 27, 2016.

Not all of Wofford’s errors suggest bias; some just suggest shoddy reporting.

  1. Wofford writes, “But in 2013, [Texas] reduced its [license to carry] training requirement from six hours to four.”

In reality, the state reduced its training requirement from ten hours, including the shooting test, to four hours, not including the shooting test, effectively cutting the total course time in half (from ten hours to approximately five hours).

 

  1. Wofford writes, “A well-known loophole allows Texas citizens to get a license after viewing a 30-minute YouTube video and parting with $19.99.”

This is not necessarily inaccurate (we can’t confirm the length of the video or the cost), but it gives the impression that Texas citizens can obtain a Texas license this way. The loophole Wofford refers to allows a citizen of any state to obtain a Virginia license.

 

  1. In attempting to suggest that campus carry immediately led to a spate of problems, Wofford writes, “That [first] week, a 21-year-old student flashed his gun in the Perry-Castaneda Library, a clear violation.”

What Wofford fails to mention is that the student flashed his gun to just one person—a reporter who asked to take a picture of it for a story on campus carry—and that other people only found out because the story appeared in The New York Times.

 

  1. In writing about the accidental or negligent discharge of a handgun in a dorm room at Tarleton State University, Wofford writes, “SCC, which had previously rebutted its opponents for failing to provide evidence of misfires, rushed a press release attributing the event to a “period of adjustment.”

In reality, SCC has always been very open about the three or four (depending on whether you count an incident involving a police cadet) previous accidental discharges at campus-carry colleges, and SCC was very open about this one.

An archive of the SCC website from Jan. 8, 2015 (five days before the Texas Legislature convened for the session in which they ultimately passed the state’s campus carry law), includes this statement:

Among the more than 150 college campuses that currently allow concealed carry, there have been three accidental/negligent discharges—two by faculty/staff and one by a student. Two of the negligent discharges were the result of the license holder carrying the gun in a pants pocket without a holster (both of these incidents resulted in non-life-threatening injuries to the license holder’s leg), and one was the result of the license holder showing a new gun—a gun with which she was not yet familiar—to her coworkers (this incident resulted in only minor abrasions that did not require medical attention). All three of these incidents could have been avoided through proper training and/or the implementation of appropriate policies (e.g., allowing colleges to require that licensed students, faculty, and staff keep handguns holstered or cased at all times) that do not restrict the ability of license holders to carry concealed handguns for personal protection.

A quick glance at CDC data from 2007 (the last year for which records are available) reveals that individuals between the ages of 21 and 24, the age group most likely to carry concealed handguns on a college campus, accounted for fewer than 70 fatal gun accidents that year, nationwide. And based on consistent trends, it’s fair to assume that most (approximately 80%) of those were either hunting accidents or incidents of someone mishandling a firearm in the home. It’s highly doubtful that even one of those incidents was related to licensed concealed carry.

From 1996-2007, the State of Texas had 1,754 convictions for ‘discharge of a firearm.’ Only three of those convictions were of license holders, and it’s not certain if any of those three convictions were related to concealed carry.

Because the trigger of a properly holstered firearm is not exposed, because modern firearms are designed not to discharge if dropped, and because an applicant for a CHL must (in most states) pass a training course covering firearm safety, accidental discharges among concealed handgun license holder are extremely rare and represent, at worst, a statistically negligible risk. SCC feels that it is wrong to deny citizens a right simply because that right is accompanied by a minor risk.

 

  1. After opening his article by declaring, “More than 200 colleges across the U.S. allow campus carry,” Wofford concludes it without ever telling the reader whether any of those colleges have reported a resulting assault, suicide attempt, or fatality.

After nine months of researching this issue, Ben Wofford knows full well that no such incidents have been reported.

Reached for comment on this inaccurate and highly misleading story, former SCC board member Scott Lewis commented, “I wish I could say I’m surprised that the article turned out to be a hatchet job, but there is a reason I recorded my end of the interview. Publications like Rolling Stone don’t sell copies by challenging their target audiences’ preconceived notions with insightful looks at complex issues; they sell copies by inflaming their audiences’ existing prejudices. Making the audience think, ‘I never thought about it that way,’ doesn’t sell ad space; making the audience think, ‘I can’t believe some people are so stupid,’ does.”

UPDATE: For the online edition of the Rolling Stone article, the author and/or editors added notes addressing points number 1, 2, and 17 from SCC’s list of errors and omissions and corrected points number 12 and 19. The other 18 points remain unaddressed.

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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. SCC is a pioneer in the field of long-form press releases. 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 – Mar. 16, 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-March-16-2017

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

Texas State University Student Senate Requests Expanded Campus Carry

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AUSTIN, TEXAS – On Monday, February 20, the Texas State University Student Senate passed S.R. 2016-2017.14, “A Resolution to Allow Campus Wide Concealed Carry,” on a vote of 27 to 5. This resolution, which asks university administrators to repeal the institution’s current restrictions on campus carry, will now go to the student body president, who will decide whether to sign or veto it.

Texas State University already has some of the least-restrictive campus carry restrictions in the state. Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “The fact that the Texas State University student government voted so overwhelmingly in support of broader campus carry rights speaks to the fact that campus carry is rapidly gaining acceptance among Texas college students.”

2017 Texas State University Campus Carry Resolution

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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 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. 20, 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-20-2017

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

Associated Press, Austin Media Miss Opportunity to Dig Into Campus Carry Stats

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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.

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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 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

PBS Produces Anti-Campus Carry Propaganda to Accompany ‘Tower’ Documentary

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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.

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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:

“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