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UTexas Students Can Soon Bring Guns to Class

School prez says state law is forcing his hand
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2016 11:05 AM CST
UTexas Students Can Soon Bring Guns to Class
Protesters gather at the University of Texas to oppose a state law allowing guns in classrooms.   (Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

At the University of Texas, handguns could soon become commonplace. Once a new state law takes effect on Aug. 1, University President Gregory Fenves says he'll be forced to allow licensed concealed handgun holders 21 and older to bring guns into classrooms. State leaders passed the "campus carry" law last year, with Gov. Greg Abbott noting a licensed carrier could confront a potential shooter and prevent mass death; public universities must comply, though private universities can opt out. Fenves, however, is not on board. "I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency," he says, per Reuters. The university will enforce gun-free zones in areas like most dorm rooms, but guns will be permitted in classrooms.

The school expects fewer than 1% of its 50,000 students will be eligible to carry a concealed weapon, which must be kept unloaded in a holster that protects the trigger, per WTVR and the Washington Post. But objections have still been plentiful. Fenves says he's heard from outraged students, parents, and professors who fear discussing grades with armed students; at least 280 professors signed a petition condemning the law in October. "As a professor, I understand the deep concerns raised by so many. However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law," Fenves says. Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, and Oregon, also allow students to carry concealed handguns on campuses. Texas' "campus carry" law will take effect on the 50th anniversary of a mass shooting at the University of Texas at Austin, when a student shot and killed 16 people from the school's clock tower. (Some plan to carry dildos, not guns.)

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