Campus Carry Begins in Texas

gun fight
Holstered gun / AP
August 1, 2016

Concealed carry became legal, for those with a permit, on many college campuses in Texas on Monday.

The campus carry law, which allows those who are 21 or older and have a valid concealed carry license to carry firearms on certain Texas college campuses, was passed last year but did not take effect until August of this year.

"What campus carry does is that it only authorizes those who go through the special training and background" to carry guns on school grounds, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot (R.) told Reuters.

Texas has become the center of the political debate surrounding campus carry after passing the state law. Activists, students, and professors on both sides have debated one another on campus and in the press over the past year. Some students and professors claimed the new law would stifle open discussion and lead to a more dangerous atmosphere on campus. Some faculty even left the state over the passage of the law.

"There are so many students battling the stress of campus. Some are unstable, and we don’t know who has a gun," Courtney Dang, a third-year student at the University of Texas, told Reuters.

Pro-carry activists have argued that the opposite is true and point to a University of Texas report showing similar laws in other states have resulted in few serious issues.

"I am not unsympathetic to opponents of campus carry," Antonia Okafor, one such activist, said in a recent op-ed. "I didn’t grow up in a home with guns, so I know what it’s like to think they’re scary. But when my own LTC arrived in the mail–I opened the letter on the night of the Dallas police shootings–I realized that I now have this amazing tool to protect myself."

"It’s incredibly empowering," she wrote.