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Latest Texas Statistics Bolster Case for Campus Carry

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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 Students for Concealed Carry since SCC first started monitoring this data in 2015:

AGE GROUP

18* to 23 years old 21 to 23 years old 38 to 43 years old

2014 REVOCATION RATE

0.189% 0.186% 0.196%
2015 REVOCATION RATE 0.147% 0.150%

0.155%

2016 REVOCATION RATE 0.118% 0.120%

0.160%

*A person age 18-20 can obtain a Texas LTC only if he or she is a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Brian Bensimon, SCC’s Southwest regional director, commented, “Our opponents often claim that, because the average college student is much younger than the average license to carry holder, the statistics showing LTC holders to be responsible and law-abiding aren’t relevant to the debate over campus carry. However, this data from the Texas Department of Public Safety clearly shows that college-age license holders are just as law-abiding as their older counterparts.”

The Texas DPS statistics also show a continuing decline in the rate of revocations among young LTC holders. This is particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that the number of licenses issued to college-age applicants in 2016 represents a 66 percent increase from the year before. More Texans of typical college age are licensed to carry handguns than ever before, yet the rate of revocations among that age group is on the decline.

Mike Newbern, assistant director of public relations, suggested that the surge in young people getting licensed to carry contradicts recent claims that millennials aren’t interested in licensed concealed carry.

“It’s true that license applications are up across all age groups,” said Newbern, “but the fact that, over the past three years, the college-age demographic has seen an average annual increase 10 percent higher than the middle-age demographic typically associated with concealed carry suggests that maybe some of the surveys and man-on-the-street interviews touted by our opponents are no more accurate than were the polling data that mispredicted the recent presidential election.”

Newbern continued, “Most college campuses are notoriously hostile toward campus carry, so it stands to reason that the students, faculty, and staff who support it may be hesitant to make their voices heard. However, the fact that college-age Texans are getting licensed to carry in record numbers suggests that this group is interested in being able to protect themselves.”

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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 – Jan. 26, 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-Jan-26-2017

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

Johns Hopkins Report on Campus Carry Is Seriously Flawed

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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 increase safety, study finds” belie both the fact that the report is theoretical and doesn’t cite any resulting gun violence on college campuses and the fact that the report, which involved no data analysis and was neither published nor peer-reviewed, is not actually a “study” in the academic sense of the word.

At best, the report is a pedantic, overly verbose op-ed that attempts to couch the usual arguments against campus carry in academic language. At worst, it is an attempt to portray the work of two of Dr. Webster’s coauthors—John Donohue and Louis Klarevas—as “the best available research” (p.2) on the subject of licensed concealed carry.

Propaganda doesn’t become research  just because it’s written on letterhead from a prestigious university. If these ten professors genuinely wanted to study the issue, they could have conducted a peer-reviewed meta-analysis of the existing literature. Instead, they chose to phone it in with an editorial touting only those outlier studies that reinforce their personal prejudices.

Those of us leading SCC are merely undergraduates and are, therefore, unequipped to prepare a formal academic analysis of a report authored by ten doctors. We are, however, more than equipped to point out flawed logic, straw man arguments, and factual errors.

THE REPORT IN QUESTION:

  • Claims, “The Most Recent Rigorous Research Studies Find RTC Laws Linked to Increased Violence” (p. 16), but cites only the prior work of report coauthor John Donohue and ignores the fact that Donohue’s findings are contradicted by the preponderance of peer-reviewed research on the subject, including a more recent (2015) studyby Charles D. Phillips, Regents Professor of health and policy management at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Dr. Phillips’ study concluded:

The basic question underlying the hypotheses investigated in this research is simple—Is CHL licensing related in any way to crime rates? The results of this research indicate that no such relationships exist. For our study states, during the time period covered by our data, changes in crime rates did not affect subsequent CHL licensing rates. In addition, CHL licensing rates did not have a significant, negative or positive, effect on subsequent crime rates.

  • Hypothesizes, “Increasing gun availability in campus environments could make far more common acts of aggression, recklessness, or self-harm more deadly and, thus, have a deleterious impact on the safety of students, faculty, and staff” (p. 3), but fails to examine the experiences of campuses that already allow licensed concealed carry.
    • The University of Texas at Austin’s campus carry policy working group, which was tasked with researching the issue of campus carry prior to the enactment of Texas’ campus carry law, found no reports of resulting assaults or suicide attempts at campus-carry colleges and stated:
    • We reached out to 17 research universities in the seven campus-carry states…Most respondents reported that campus carry had not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs…What we can say is that we have found little evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to campus carry, and none that involves an intentional shooting…We found that the evidence does not support the claim that a causal link exists between campus carry and an increased rate of sexual assault. We found no evidence that campus carry has caused an increase in suicide rates on campuses in other states.

  • Focuses heavily on rebutting claims that campus carry will make college campuses safer and that active shooters seek out gun-free zones, despite the fact that such claims are not ubiquitous in the campus carry movement and are eschewed by Students for Concealed Carry, the nation’s leading campus carry advocacy group.
  • Claims, “According to the advocates of allowing civilians to carry firearms on college campuses, some individuals considering perpetrating a mass shooting will be deterred from attacking places where they stand a likelihood of being confronted by private citizens carrying firearms. In instances when deterrence fails and attacks are initiated, campus-carry advocates claim that armed students and staff will be able to intervene and halt gun rampages and thereby minimize the number of victims killed or wounded in the attack” (p. 7). The report backs up this attribution of motive by linking not to a policy paper by a pro-campus carry organization or to a speech by a pro-campus carry politician but, rather, to a listicle titled “12 Times Mass Shootings Were Stopped by Good Guys With Guns,” on the website ControversialTimes.com.
  • Claims, “Advocates for allowing civilians to bring guns onto college campuses and to deregulate carrying of guns in public places in general commonly cite research and statements by John Lott, an economist widely known for his claims that deregulating gun possession reaps significant reductions in violent crime” (p. 8). As proof that advocates generally rely on Dr. Lott’s work to make the case for campus carry, the report offers only a couple of endnotes citing Dr. Lott’s “More Guns, Less Crime” series of articles and books.
    • An examination of SCC’s Common Arguments page, SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout, and SCC’s 2015-2016 Texas press releases (three documents that if combined and published in book form would be the approximate length of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) reveals only this one reference to the research of Dr. John Lott:
    • According to one gun-rights research group, there have been “only two mass public shootings since at least 1950 that have not been part of some other crime where at least four people have been killed in an area where civilians are generally allowed to have guns.” This source obviously isn’t unbiased, and they admit to having looked only at “public shootings…where the point of the attack is simply to kill as many people as possible,” but this finding combined with the relatively low rate of licensure during the 2000-2013 period does give us reason to believe that maybe—just maybe—it’s unreasonable to assume that CHL holders would have been directly involved (not just somewhere nearby) in a large number of active-shooter incidents.

  • Argues (p. 22) that campus carry would impede campus law enforcement but fails to examine the impact of licensed concealed carry on law enforcement in non-collegiate environments.
  • Argues, “Most campus officers routinely respond to situations in which information is sparse. They respond to calls such as ‘suspicious person,’ ‘suspicious circumstances,’ ‘911-hang up,’ and ‘alarm sounding’ often with no additional information. If the presence of guns must be assumed, the level of seriousness, tactics used, and necessary precautions taken in response to such calls are elevated” (p. 23). However, in the absence of metal detectors, X-ray machines, or any other screening measure designed to prevent criminals from bringing guns onto campus, officers on any open campus—even a “gun-free” campus—must assume the presence of guns.
    • When officers get a report of a suspicious person, they don’t approach the suspect, thinking, “We’d better be careful—this guy might have passed extensive state and federal background checks in order to obtain a license to carry a handgun.” They’re thinking, “We’d better be careful—this guy might be a criminal who doesn’t care what the law says about carrying a gun or shooting a police officer.”
  • States, “A recent study identified 85 incidents of shootings or undesirable discharges of firearms on college campuses in the U.S. from January 2013 through June 2016” (p. 3). This suggests that the authors of the report anticipate no difference in the behavior of individuals who endure personal expense and an extensive vetting process to obtain the right to lawfully carry a handgun on campus and those individuals who currently choose to ignore the school policies and state laws prohibiting possession of firearms on campus.
  • States, “Research demonstrates that access to firearms substantially increases suicide risks, especially among adolescents and young adults, as firearms are the most common method of lethal self-harm” (p. 3). However, the report offers no explanation as to how campus carry could increase the risk of student suicide if it doesn’t change the ability of a student to own a gun; have a gun at home, where 90% of suicides occur; or—in many states, including Texas—keep a handgun in a locked automobile parked on campus.
  • Claims, “Binge drinking, a common behavior among college students, especially elevates risks for involvement in violent altercations” (p. 3), but fails to note that most student drinking (particularly binge drinking) takes places at college parties and that most college parties take place at private residences where licensed concealed carry is already legal.
  • Cites (p. 19) numerous studies on the brain development of teenagers, as an argument against allowing campus carry by adults age 21 and above.
    • The report fails to mention that Jay N. Giedd, M.D., the author of five of the cited studies on adolescent brain development, also wrote:
    • Late maturation of the prefrontal cortex, which is essential in judgment, decision making and impulse control, has prominently entered discourse affecting the social, legislative, judicial, parenting and educational realms. Despite the temptation to trade the complexity and ambiguity of human behavior for the clarity and aesthetic beauty of colorful brain images, we must be careful not to over-interpret the neuroimaging findings as they relate to public policy.

    • It should be noted that when scientists say that the human brain does not fully mature until the age of 25, the emphasis is on the word “fully.” The vast majority of brain development is completed by age 20. The remaining development is, in essence, finishing touches. Saying that the brain of a 21-year-old is not fully developed is like saying that a construction crew hasn’t finished building a house, simply because they still haven’t put the covers on the light switches—the statement is technically true but highly misleading. There is little or no scientific evidence that the decision making ability of a 21-year-old is substantially or even measurably different from that of a 25-year-old. However, there is a good deal of scientific evidence to the contrary.
  • Argues, “Age-specific homicide offending peaks around the age when youth reach the minimum legal age for purchasing, and carrying handguns (19-21 years)” (p. 3) and, “Risks for violence, suicide attempts, alcohol abuse, and risky behavior are greatly elevated among college-age youth” (p. 24). However, the report neglects to examine state-level data on the rates of concealed handgun license (CHL) revocation among persons of typical college age.
    • According to statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety, 0.147% of CHL holders between the ages of 18* and 23 had their licenses revoked in 2015. For those age 21-23, the 2015 revocation rate was 1.50%. By comparison, 0.155% of license holders between the ages of 38 and 43 had their concealed handgun licenses revoked that year.
    • *A person age 18-20 can only obtain a Texas CHL if he or she is a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. As of January 1, 2016, there were a maximum of 333 active Texas CHLs held by military personnel and veterans age 18-20. In that age range, that’s approximately one Texan out of every 3,634, or 0.0275%.
  • Conflates (p. 2) mass shootings (which typically happen in private residences and involve domestic disputes) and public rampage shootings, to reinforce the report’s assertion that most shooting sprees happen where civilians are allowed to have guns.
  • Reinforces its assertion that concealed handgun license holders consistently fail to stop mass shootings, by noting, “A review conducted by [report coauthor Louis] Klarevas of the 111 high-fatality mass shootings (six or more victims murdered) that occurred in the U.S. since 1966 found that only eighteen have taken place, in whole or in part, in a gun-free zone or gun-restricting zone” (p. 10). However, that finding is not entirely accurate.
    • Only thirty (27%) of the cited incidents took place in states that had shall-issue concealed handgun licensing laws at the time of the shooting. (Klarevas lists four Texas shootings that took place pre-1996, when only a law enforcement officer could lawfully carry a handgun in public. He lists fourteen incidents that took place in California, which has very restrictive licensing laws.)
    • Of those thirty incidents that took place in shall-issue states, sixteen took place entirely in private residences not open to the public. (The authors of this report apparently interpret the case of an Indiana man killing his six children in their sleep as a failure of licensed concealed carry.)
    • Of the remaining fourteen incidents that took place, in part or in whole, in public spaces, two were shootouts between rival gangs—not the type of threat against which a law-abiding citizen has much need to defend himself or herself and not the type of threat against which one person with a handgun is of much use.
    • That leaves just twelve incidents  (10.8% of the list of 111) for which a case might be made that a concealed handgun license holder could have reasonably and lawfully intervened. And those twelve include two incidents in which the public portion of the shooting involved the gunman firing a rifle from the cover and concealment of an automobile—another scenario that doesn’t fit the model of a typical rampage shooting and that doesn’t lend itself to armed intervention by a CHL holder.
  • Offers a footnote (p. 11) listing five mass shootings that purportedly took place in locations where civilians were allowed to possess firearms. That foot note:
    • Lists the July 7, 2016, Dallas sniper attack, with no mention/examination of the fact that a sniper attack is logistically and strategically very different from a typical rampage shooting and offers little chance for intervention by a CHL holder.
    • Lists an attack near Palestine, Texas, that took place on private property.
    • Lists the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon, with no mention/examination of the fact that concealed carry was against school policy for faculty, staff, and students. The report mentions that there were armed students on this campus, despite the fact that there is no record/evidence that there were armed students in the building where the shooting occurred. The only confirmed armed student (who was carrying a handgun in violation of school policy) was in a different building on the same campus and wisely chose to stay put.
    • Lists the terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, despite the fact licensed concealed carry is heavily restricted and relatively rare in California. The report mentions that there were armed civilians on site, despite the fact that there is no record/evidence that there were armed civilians in the building where the shooting occurred. The only confirmed armed civilian was in a building across the street from the Inland Regional Center. He saw one of the suspects fleeing but, not being sure what was happening, wisely chose not to fire.
  • Notes, “By contrast, the FBI found that 21 of the 160 active shooting incidents were interrupted when unarmed civilians confronted and restrained the gunmen. The FBI’s data suggest that unarmed civilians are more than twenty times likely to successfully end an active shooting than are armed civilians” (p. 12). The report fails to note that, of the 21 incidents stopped by unarmed civilians, 11 occurred in schools where concealed carry was not allowed.
  • Argues, “Shooting accurately and making appropriate judgments about when and how to shoot in chaotic, high-stress situations requires a high level of familiarity with tactics and the ability to manage stress under intense pressure” (p. 11). This argument conflates self-defense with law-enforcement-style interdiction.
    • The reference to “tactics” suggests that the authors believe that the average license holder, upon finding himself or herself in the vicinity of a mass shooting, would act like an amateur, one-man SWAT team and attempt to single-handedly clear the building and find the assailant or assailants. This is in direct conflict with the self-defense intent of licensed concealed carry and with standard concealed handgun training.
    • The report ignores the fact that survivors and victims of mass shootings have watched from nearby hiding spots as gunmen reloaded or have spent several minutes corresponding with 911 operators or loved ones before being shot.
    • The report ignores the fact that mass shootings are not the only or even the most common form of assault on college campuses and that, according to most experts, a shooting is likely to involve an assailant no more than three yards away, last no more than three seconds, and involve no more than three shots fired. In such a scenario, there is little need for “tactics.”
  • Suggests that “allowing more civilians to carry firearms into more public places could also facilitate more mass shootings. The Violence Policy Center has tracked incidents in which a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holder was alleged to have committed various crimes of violence and unintentional shootings. They identified 29 CCW holders who perpetrated non -­‐ defensive shootings that involved three or more deaths not including the shooter during the period 2007 -­‐ 2015” (p. 12). The report fails to note that 26 of those incidents clearly had nothing to do with licensed concealed carry, that two of those incidents most likely had nothing to do with licensed concealed carry, and that the one incident that likely related to licensed concealed carry was perpetrated by a convicted felon who should have been disqualified from obtaining a carry permit but was issued one due to a database error.
  • Concludes by noting, “Concealed carry permit holders have passed criminal background checks and, as a group, commit crimes at a relatively low rate. But, in states with the most lax standards for legal gun ownership, 60% of individuals incarcerated for committing crimes with guns were legal gun owners when they committed their crimes” (p. 23). This odd statement conflates concealed handgun license holders and legal gun owners—two groups that, although there is some minor overlap, are far from one and the same.

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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.

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 – Nov. 1, 2016, 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-Nov-1-2016

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

SCC Statement on NRA Opinion Column by Former SCC Director

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE11/01/2016

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 America’s 1st Freedom, fails to make clear that Okafor is no longer affiliated with SCC and that the views expressed in the column are entirely her own. Those views sharply contrast with SCC’s positions and message and do not reflect the views of SCC leadership.

Current SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon commented, “Students for Concealed Carry may disagree with anti-campus carry activists, but we certainly don’t think they’ve made millennials a laughing stock or tainted the White House with obscenity. Campus carry is the subject of an ongoing policy debate, and SCC can win that debate without assassinating our opponents’ character or resorting to conspiracy theories about George Soros.”

Assistant Director of Public Relations Mike Newbern added, “While we appreciate Antonia’s contributions to our organization and cause and wish her well in her future endeavors, we feel the need to make a clear distinction between our former Southwest regional director’s personal views and Students for Concealed Carry’s official positions. Our social media channels and website are clear. We encourage folks interested in knowing where we stand to look to those.”

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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 – Oct. 27, 2016, 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-Oct-27-2016

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

Students for Concealed Carry Welcomes New Southwest Regional Director

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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 Brian Bensimon, who previously served as SCC director for the state of Texas, on his appointment as the new Southwest regional director.

Michael Newbern, SCC assistant director of public relations, commented, “This past year was one of the busiest ever for SCC’s Texas chapter, and we are eternally grateful to outgoing Southwest regional director Antonia Okafor for seeing us through the lead-up to and ultimate implementation of campus carry at Texas universities. The next twelve months will take us through both the 2017 Texas Legislative Session and the implementation of campus carry at Texas community and junior colleges, so we are extremely fortunate to have a qualified, experienced advocate like Brian Bensimon stepping into the role at such a crucial time.”

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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 – Sept. 25, 2016, 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-Sept-25-2016

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 Statement on the Accidental Discharge at Tarleton State University

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/16/2016

CONTACT:

Brian Bensimon, Director for the State of Texas, SCC: brian.bensimon@concealedcampus.org

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

SCC Statement on the Accidental Discharge at Tarleton State University

AUSTIN, TX  – According to a press release from Tarleton State University and reporting by Claire Z. Cardona of The Dallas Morning News, a Tarleton State student and license to carry (LTC) holder accidentally discharged a handgun in a university residence hall on the evening of Wednesday, September 14. This incident reportedly resulted in no injuries and only minimal property damage.

Brian Bensimon, Texas state director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented:

This incident is unfortunate but in keeping with what we saw in both Colorado and Idaho, each of which experienced a  single negligent discharge within two or three months of their statewide campus carry laws taking effect. For whatever reason, there seems to be a period of adjustment that follows the implementation of these laws. Thankfully, neither Colorado nor Idaho has seen a repeat of these incidents, and the overall track record of campus carry is still very strong. After a combined total of approximately 2,000 semesters of campus carry at almost 200 U.S. college campuses, this is only the fifth resulting accidental discharge, and not one of those incidents resulted in life-threatening injury to the license holder or serious injury to another person.

Without knowing the exact circumstances of the accidental discharge at Tarleton State, SCC cannot address specific contributing factors; however, there is no question that dorm rooms—where licensed residents must occasionally handle their weapons while holstering, unholstering, loading, or unloading them—are at increased risk for negligent discharge. The increased danger that accompanies unholstering and handling a firearm is one of the reasons SCC vigorously fought proposals such as placing gun lockers outside of classrooms and requiring license holders to empty the chambers of their guns before stepping onto campus.

Because of the increased danger associated with handling an unholstered firearm, license holders living in dorm rooms should be diligent to observe the four basic rules of firearm safety when handling their guns.

The Four Basic Rules of Firearm Safety:

  1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
  2. Never point a gun at anything you are not WILLING to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless and until the gun is pointed at something you WANT to destroy.
  4. Be certain of the object your gun is pointed at, and be aware of anything that might be BEHIND the object your gun is pointed at and anything that might come BETWEEN your gun and the object it is pointed at.

These four rules offer redundant protections against injury or death. For example, a license holder who violates rule number three and accidentally pulls the trigger is unlikely to cause injury as long as he or she is observing rules one, two, and four.

It is worth noting that, of the four negligent discharges at campus-carry colleges outside of Texas, two were the result of license holders showing their guns to someone else, which is a serious crime under Texas law. The other two were the result of license holders carrying their handguns in a pocket, unholstered, which is prohibited by school policy at most Texas universities.

In contrast to the common perception that inexperienced, immature students pose the greatest threat of negligent discharge, two of the prior incidents involved faculty or staff, and one involved a police cadet.

The Prior Negligent Discharges at Campus-Carry Colleges:

On May 4, 2015, a police cadet at Utah Valley University was showing his handgun to a fellow cadet, on their way to a police firearms class. The gun discharged, grazing the chest of the other cadet.

On September 2, 2014, a professor at Idaho State University was carrying an unholstered handgun in his pants pocket while teaching a class. The handgun discharged, shooting him in the foot.

On November 9, 2012, a staff member at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine was showing her gun to two coworkers. The gun discharged as she was attempting to reload it. The bullet ricocheted off a filing cabinet and nicked both her and a coworker on their legs.

On January 4, 2012, a student at Weber State University in Utah was carrying an unholstered handgun in his pants pocket while walking across campus. The handgun discharged, shooting him in the leg.

These incidents are unfortunate; however, given the number of college campuses that allow licensed concealed carry and the length of time for which they have allowed it, this is still an impressive record. This record, coupled with the fact that not one campus-carry college has reported a resulting violent crime, threat of violence, suicide, or suicide attempt demonstrates that the licensed, concealed carry of handgun can be safely implemented on college campuses.

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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 – Sept. 15, 2016, Texas press releases and op-eds: http://tinyurl.com/scc-feb-aug-releases

SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout (includes Dec. 9 – May 22, 2015, press releases and op-eds): http://tinyurl.com/scc-2015-tx-lege-handout

All SCC statements regarding the campus carry policies proposed by UT-Austin: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-ut-austin

Students for Concealed Carry Embraces UT Dildos

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/24/2016

CONTACT:
Brian Bensimon (UT-Austin Student), Director for the State of Texas, SCC: brian.bensimon@concealedcampus.org
Allison Peregory (UT-Austin Student), Texas Legislative Director, SCC: allison.peregory@concealedcampus.org
Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations, SCC: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org

Students for Concealed Carry Embraces UT Dildos

AUSTIN, TX – In keeping with the organization’s long-held position that individuals should enjoy the same rights on college campuses as virtually everywhere else, Students for Concealed Carry fully endorses the burgeoning movement of Texas college students who wish to openly carry oversized dildos on campus. Brian Bensimon, SCC director for the state of Texas, commented, “If carrying a phallus to class helps you express yourself, go for it. We welcome this demonstration that freedom of speech and concealed carry of handguns can coexist on the same campus.”

SCC does recommend, however, that students use their dildos for political or recreational purposes only. Using a dildo as a defensive weapon could classify it as a “club,” which, under Texas law, is illegal to carry in public and constitutes a felony if carried into a building on campus. Bensimon added, “Although SCC’s opinion shouldn’t be taken as legal advice, we feel that Texas students are on pretty solid legal ground as long as they use their dildos only as expressions of free speech or for the manufacturers’ intended purpose.”

COEXIST

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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 – Aug. 24, 2016, Texas press releases and op-eds: http://tinyurl.com/scc-feb-aug-releases

SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout (includes Dec. 9 – May 22, 2015, press releases and op-eds): http://tinyurl.com/scc-2015-tx-lege-handout

All SCC statements regarding the campus carry policies proposed by UT-Austin: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-ut-austin

Tamron Hall Misses the Point on Campus Carry

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/08/2016

CONTACT:
Brian Bensimon, Director for the State of Texas, SCC: brian.bensimon@concealedcampus.org
Allison Peregory, Texas Legislative Director: allison.peregory@concealedcampus.orgail
Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations, SCC: michael.newbern@concealedcampus.org

Tamron Hall Misses the Point on Campus Carry

AUSTIN, TX – Guns on Campus: Tamron Hall Investigates misrepresents both the arguments behind the passage of Texas’ campus carry law and the talking points utilized by the nation’s largest campus carry advocacy group, Students for Concealed Carry. The one-hour special, which aired August 7 on Investigation Discovery, misleadingly suggests that campus carry is pitched as “the answer to keeping students safe.”

In the program devoted to answering the question “Do concealed weapons have a place on a college campus?” NBC/MSNBC correspondent Tamron Hall claims that campus carry advocates argue that licensed concealed carry should be permitted because licensed students could help police stop a mass shooter.  This assertion is made despite the fact that not one of the proponents interviewed or shown in footage from legislative hearings is seen to make such a claim. Instead, proponents are shown reiterating the same argument Students for Concealed Carry, the nation’s largest college-based campus carry advocacy group, makes in every public statement it releases: Campus concealed carry is about ensuring that licensed individuals can practice the same measure of self-defense on campus as they can off campus.

“It’s no surprise to me that Ms. Hall got it wrong,” says Allison Peregory, SCC Texas legislative director. “She never personally spoke to me or any of our members. Instead, a producer was sent out to grab sound bites.”

The show featured short sound bites from Peregory and Jacob Williamson, a former SCC UT-Austin campus leader who was  tracked down by the producers after they weren’t satisfied with the spokespeople SCC provided.  Campus carry opponents received top billing, including personal interviews with Hall and the opportunity to express their views at length. Newbern says this disparity exists despite the fact that several members of the group’s national board and Texas team offered to make themselves available by phone, remote, or in person.

Throughout the special, Hall and her surrogates fail to challenge several factually inaccurate statements made by opponents, such as the assertion that the effective date of Texas’s campus carry law was deliberately chosen to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UT-Austin tower shooting and the assertion that American soldiers typically fire hundreds of thousands of rounds in training. Despite making time for these misstatements, the show doesn’t make time for a single talking point used by SCC or its allies in the Texas Legislature.

Despite the fact that SCC doesn’t advocate students acting as amateur security guards to try to stop a mass shooting, the show does highlight how armed citizens can help stop a mass shooting or, at the very least, minimize loss of life. Alan Crum, a civilian who joined police in stopping the Texas Tower Sniper on August 1, 1966, is discussed at length. However, the special suggests that his actions—which were not a talking point behind the passage of Texas Senate Bill 11 and are not a talking point used by SCC—were one of the main arguments behind the passage of the Texas law.  The much more likely scenario of an armed citizen inadvertently helping others by acting to help himself—as seen when Nick Meli took up a defensive position during the Clackamas Mall Shooting (Portland, Ore.) and deterred the shooter from proceeding toward him and other potential victims—is never discussed.

“In fact, we’ve seen several instances where a potential victim has possibly reduced the carnage or stopped a shooting from becoming the type of mass-casualty scenario Colin Goddard endured,” says Mike Newbern, SCC’s Assistant Director of Public Relations.

Near the end of the special, Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and a senior policy advocate for Everytown for Gun Safety, describes the ordeal and how he was shot multiple times during the perpetrator’s 10- to 12-minute rampage.  Newbern contends, “Based on the fact that Colin had time to call 911 before he was shot, it’s reasonable to believe that a trained, licensed students in possession of a concealed handgun could’ve drawn that firearm and defended himself. Colin may be telling the truth that he personally could not have used a handgun in that scenario, but it’s just not intellectually honest to say that nobody could have.”

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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.

Students for Concealed Carry Files Complaint Against University of Texas System

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/04/2016

CONTACT:

Antonia Okafor, Southwest Regional Director, SCC: antonia.okafor@concealedcampus.org

Brian Bensimon, Director for the State of Texas, SCC: brian.bensimon@concealedcampus.org

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

Students for Concealed Carry Files Complaint Against University of Texas System

 

AUSTIN, TX – On Thursday, August 4, 2016, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) filed a formal complaint, pursuant to Texas Government Code Section 411.209, with the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, regarding the gun-free-office policies implemented by the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The full complaint can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/scc-ut-complaint

At this time, SCC has no further comment on this matter.

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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 Feb. 17 – Aug. 3, 2016, Texas press releases: http://www.tinyurl.com/txscc-feb-july-releases

All SCC statements regarding the various policies proposed by UT-Austin: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-ut-austin

Campus Carry and the University of Texas: Unfortunate Timing and Revisionist History

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/28/2016

CONTACT:

Antonia Okafor, Southwest Regional Director, SCC: antonia.okafor@concealedcampus.org

Brian Bensimon, Director for the State of Texas, SCC: brian.bensimon@concealedcampus.org

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

Campus Carry and the University of Texas: Unfortunate Timing and Revisionist History

AUSTIN, TX – Nobody in the Texas Legislature ever intended for the effective date of the state’s campus carry law to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1966 tower shooting at the University of Texas at Austin. The selection of August 1, 2016, as the effective date for Texas Senate Bill 11 was part of a compromise worked out by the ten-member conference committee tasked with reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

The version passed by the Texas Senate established an effective date of September 1, 2015. The version passed by the House established an effective date of September 1, 2016. The conference committee agreed to a compromise whereby the bill would take effect in 2016 but before the mid- to late-August start of most fall semesters, so as to avoid having the law change days or weeks after the start of classes. Because new laws typically go into effect on the first of the month, the committee settled on an effective date of August 1, 2016, and that change was ratified by both chambers of the Texas Legislature.

With a bit more time to consider the matter, one of the 181 Texas legislators might have recognized August 1 as the anniversary of UT-Austin’s infamous tower shooting—the first mass shooting at a U.S. college—however, by the time the conference committee report was issued to the full Legislature, lawmakers had less than 48 hours to approve it, or the bill would die. Four days after the conference committee report was adopted and three days after the Texas Legislature adjourned sine die, the Los Angeles Times reported that the campus carry bill would take effect during the same month as the 50th anniversary of the tower shooting. It wasn’t until four months later that an article in the UT-Austin alumni magazine Alcalde brought public attention to the fact that the bill’s effective date and the 50th anniversary of the shooting are one and the same.

This unfortunate coinciding of dates could have been avoided by establishing an effective date of August 15—a date that falls after the end of most summer sessions but before the start of most fall semesters—but, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Although it would be easy to blame Texas lawmakers for forgetting their state’s history, the reality is that even those of us who spend our days researching and writing about campus shootings didn’t notice the connection until it was pointed out to us. Months after the bill was passed, many of Texas’ top journalists learned about the connection for the first time. And in fairness to the Legislature, most people have enough trouble remembering their loved ones’ birthdays and wedding anniversaries, without trying to recall the date of every mass shooting (at this point, it might be easier to remember the dates not associated with mass shootings).

Although the UT tower shooting holds a small place of significance for Students for Concealed Carry—it was the subject of our first op-ed—it’s also a source of continuous frustration. Despite the fact that a sniper firing from a fortified position high above the ground is not the type of scenario against which a concealed handgun would be of much use and despite the fact that Texas license to carry (LTC) holders are taught to move away from danger and avoid interfering with police, the 1966 shooting has become a rallying cry for opponents of campus carry.

A form of revisionist history seeks to portray the armed citizens who used hunting rifles to pin down the sniper that day as having done more harm than good. Such claims ignore the reports from that time and the firsthand accounts of the people who were there.

In his 2005 autobiography They Call Me Ranger Ray, Ramiro Martinez—one of two Austin police officers credited with shooting and killing the lone gunman responsible for the UT tower shooting—wrote:

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. The sniper did a lot of damage when he could fire freely, but when the armed citizens began to return fire the sniper had to take cover. He had to shoot out of the rainspouts and that limited his targets. I am grateful to the citizens because they made my job easier.

In Pamela Colloff’s 2006 Texas Monthly article “96 Minutes,” Colloff quotes Bill Helmer, who was a UT-Austin graduate student when he witnessed the shooting, as saying:

I remember thinking, “All we need is a bunch of idiots running around with rifles.” But what they did turned out to be brilliant. Once he could no longer lean over the edge and fire, he was much more limited in what he could do. He had to shoot through those drain spouts, or he had to pop up real fast and then dive down again. That’s why he did most of his damage in the first twenty minutes.

On July 26, 2016, the Texas Tribune published an article on Allen Crum—the armed citizen who helped Ramiro Martinez and two other officers storm the tower observation deck from which the shooter was firing. In the piece, journalist Matthew Watkins writes, “[There’s] no question that Crum and the other vigilantes helped. In the days after the shooting, Austin Police Chief Bob Miles said their gunfire helped pin Whitman down and likely limited the number of victims.”

The circumstances under which these armed citizens responded were unique to that time—a time when Austin had no SWAT team or portable police radios and when keeping a hunting rifle in a dorm room was both legal and socially acceptable. This incident in no way reflects how LTC holders, who are taught that their handguns are for personal protection, not public protection, would or should respond to a modern-day active shooter situation. Furthermore, there is no question that the riflemen—both average citizens and law enforcement—firing from the ground created a hazard for the four brave responders who finally reached the observation deck more than an hour and a half after the first shot rang out. However, for anti-campus carry activists to attempt to further their agenda by retconning actions that, according to the key players,saved lives is at best unconscionable and at worst deeply disrespectful.

Out of respect for the people impacted by the events of August 1, 1966, Students for Concealed Carry does not plan to issue any public statements on August 1, 2016. We’ll have many years to celebrate the legalization of campus carry. For one day, Texas can focus on the seventeen lives lost and countless lives affected by the tragedy fifty years ago.

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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 Feb. 17 – July 29, 2016, Texas press releases: http://www.tinyurl.com/txscc-feb-july-releases

All SCC statements regarding the various policies proposed by UT-Austin: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-ut-austin

A Refresher on the Case for Campus Carry in Texas

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The term “campus carry” refers to the licensed, concealed carry of handguns on college campuses. The key words there are “licensed” and “concealed.” There is no movement to let everybody carry guns on campus or to let licensees carry visible handguns—aka “open carry”—on campus.

Even in gun-loving Texas, less than 4% of the population is licensed to carry a handgun. Among Texans of typical college age, the rate is less than 1%. Those license holders, age 21 and above, have passed a training course, a shooting test, and extensive background checks and are authorized to carry guns virtually everywhere else, including at college parties, which almost always take place off campus.

Campus carry is about personal protection, not campus protection. The question isn’t whether it lowers on-campus crime rates or serves as a deterrent to crime; the question is whether there is justification to deny licensees on campus the same measure of self-defense they enjoy at movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, and museums. The question is whether there is a fundamental difference between carrying a gun at a municipal library and carrying a gun at a university library.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, licensees are convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at 1/7 the rate of unlicensed Texans (NOTE: that statistic includes all Texas children in the number of unlicensed Texans; the contrast is even greater when only adults are counted). The campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin found no reports of resulting assaults or suicides at campus-carry colleges and reported, “We reached out to 17 research universities in the seven campus-carry states…Most respondents reported that campus carry had not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs.”

The preponderance of peer-reviewed studies on licensed carry have concluded that it cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime. Furthermore, there is little or no evidence that it negatively impacts free speech in the places where it’s allowed, including more than 100 U.S. college campuses and several state capitols.

Put simply, the evidence strongly suggests that licensed concealed carry will have no detrimental effect on Texas college campuses and that there is no justification to deny licensed students, faculty, staff, or guests on those campuses the same measure of personal protection they enjoy throughout the rest of the state.

 

RELATED:
SCC’s Feb. 17 – July 18, 2016, Texas press releases: http://www.tinyurl.com/txscc-feb-july-releases

All SCC statements regarding the various policies proposed by UT-Austin: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-ut-austin

SCC’s website for Texas Senate Bill 11: http://www.WhyCampusCarry.com