In response to demand for a statement on recent gun shootings on college campuses, prompted in small part on the Duck by Maryam Deloffre, APSA has issued a short statement on campus carry, the new Texas law that will potentially allow students to bring concealed weapons in to classrooms:
The American Political Science Association is deeply concerned about the impact of Texas’s new Campus Carry law on freedom of expression in Texas universities. The law, which was passed earlier this year and takes effect in 2016, allows licensed handgun carriers to bring concealed handguns into buildings on Texas campuses. The APSA is concerned that the Campus Carry law and similar laws in other states introduce serious safety threats on college campuses with a resulting harmful effect on professors and students.
Campus carry, slated to go into effect next year, is generating plenty of controversy on campus here at the University of Texas. Already, other states may be willing to emulate Texas, including Wisconsin (a previous campus carry law allowed universities an opt out but some Wisconsin Republicans want to get rid of the prohibition).
A petition here at UT (which I signed) is circulating among faculty opposed to the chilling effects of having weapons legally sanctioned on campus.
A prominent UT economics professor has decided to retire early, and student activists have gained national attention with their Cocks not Glocks campaign, a counter protest where students have pledged to bring dildos to the university, a move that would be illegal under campus obscenity laws (guns would be legal but dildos would not…) [UPDATED: appears there is a free speech exemption that would make the protest legal but the juxtaposition of the two is still disarming!].
Gun advocates say that criminals will not be deterred by such laws and that the law’s provisions are more onerous than just simply showing up and buying a gun, but as a society, we’re not well served by being awash in weapons. Creating an environment which encourages the proliferation of guns is not going to make us safe, and academics have to mobilize before the Texas law becomes the norm in more states.