The university president says he was responded to state law with required the implementation
The president of the University of Texas at Austin has approved regulations that will permit students and faculty to carry their guns on campus. Gregory Fenves’ decision comes after pressure from state legislators and gun lobbyists to allow firearms at the university after the passing of state laws allowing guns on college campuses.
“I have thoroughly reviewed the policy recommendations of the Campus Carry Working Group and decided to adopt them,” Fenves said, adding: “Under the law, I cannot adopt a policy that has the general effect of excluding licensed concealed handguns from campus.”
Texas’ state legislature, which is currently led by the Republican party, voted last year by 98 to 47 to allow firearms within building on public college campuses throughout the entire lone star state. The bill required Fenves to implement the law on campus.
The legislation specifically applies to concealed weapons, meaning it will still be illegal for students to openly carry a gun on the Austin campus. Furthermore, state law prohibits students under the age of 21 from applying for a concealed gun licence, meaning that less than 1% of the enrolled students will qualify, CNN reports.
Fenves’ decision to enact the legislation on the UT campus did meet resistance from some student groups and faculty members. More than 280 of the college’s staff added their names to a petition calling it a “direct assault of our free speech rights.”
Texas is not the only state to have implemented laws allowing concealed gun on campuses, with the southern state falling in line with Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, and Oregon. While in Georgia, a measure that would allow concealed weapons on campuses passed its first hurdle.