UT Chancellor Concerned About Guns On Campus

AUSTIN (AP) – University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa says students, faculty and administrators worry proposals to allow concealed handguns on Texas college campuses will make schools more dangerous.

Cigarroa expressed his concerns to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state lawmakers in a letter dated Thursday. The Legislature is considering bills that would allow anyone with a concealed handgun license, which would include some students, faculty and staff, to carry their weapons into campus buildings.

“I would be remiss in my duties as chancellor of the state’s largest university system, if I did not convey my concerns regarding this issue,” Cigarroa wrote.

The UT system has nine university campuses and several more health science and medical school facilities.

Campus mental health professionals have a “great concern” that adding guns to the emotional and psychological pressures young people face in academics and separation from family could lead to an increase in accidental shootings and suicides, Cigarroa said.

Campus laboratories and hospitals that use and store chemicals and gases that are kept under pressure could be especially dangerous if someone fired a weapon, Cigarroa’s letter said.

Supporters say the law simply protects the rights of gun owners and would be a critical self-defense measure to help avoid shootings on the scale of the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, when a shooter killed 32 people.

In his letter, Cigarroa said campus law enforcement agencies worry that if they needed to respond to a similar incident in Texas, it would be difficult for officers to determine between the shooter and someone who drew a gun to defend themselves.

Texas enacted its concealed handgun law in 1995, allowing people 21 or older to carry weapons if they pass a training course and a background check. The state had 461,724 license holders as of Dec. 31.

Businesses, schools and churches can set rules banning guns on their on their premises. On college campuses, guns are prohibited in buildings, dorms and certain grounds around them.

Texas has become a prime battleground for a movement to prevent schools from banning concealed weapons. The Senate passed a bill in 2009 and more than half the members of the House have signed on to a similar bill this year.

Perry, who has a concealed handgun license, has said he’s in favor of the idea.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. Cole Younger says:

    Good idea …………..I hold a handgun permit , when i walk out of my front or back door my weapon is with me .even doing yard work .its like a second skin

  2. mary brumley says:

    Of course it is dangerous. Sooner or later students will probably be injured by other students who are irresponsable or angry. But, how would you like to be without some protection when someone comes on school property and points a gun at you?????

  3. chris K says:

    I didnt read the law but I wonder if perry extended the right for concealed handgun owners to bring their gun into his state capitol building or any other state buildings like hospitols and mental health facilities. this is kinda dumb in my opinion. If you count the amount of campuses arousn the usa compared to campus shootings youll probably fnd that per 17 million per year that go to college, we lose a few to a gun nut that snuck a gun on campus. Im not sure we found the right answer here.

    1. schrodinger says:

      There’s always going to be some “nut” who’d going to sneak a gun onto campus or someplace else where it isn’t allowed. It’s already happened, a la Virginia Tech– in case you’ve forgotten. Perhaps by allowing CHL on campus, we’ll lose even fewer to that nut, either because the nut thought twice about doing something stupid… or because he didn’t think at all.

  4. schrodinger says:

    Calm down, people! This is being discussed for CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSEES– not just any Joe Schmuck Cowboy who wants to pack heat. One has to EARN a CHL and pass a background check, and be 21 or older. Thus, your typical late-teen yahoo who hasn’t passed the background check (which also checks for a prior diagnosis of mental illness) isn’t going to be carrying his/her pistol to class. Most of the CHL’s and people carrying will likely be instructors or “older” adults who, we would hope, would be more mature about this. It’s not going the young bucks who still want to go out and party at night, and get all stupid. So, it’s probably a bunch of hoo hah about nothing. I say, go for it– let the CHL on campus legislation pass and offer a bit more security for everyone, even Joe Schmuck Cowboy who wants to go out and get stupid. The older and wiser CHL holders on campus will still look out for them, too.

  5. Tom says:

    I have over 38 years in law enforcement. For the first 13 or 14 years, nobody was allowed to carry a handgun except for the police. This made police work simple; you got gun you go to jail! It probably didn’t stop too many people, who really wanted to from carrying guns, at least in their cars. It didn’t stop criminals who used the guns in the commission of their crimes.
    Now, nearly anyone can take the course, get a permit and carry a gun. Originally my concen with the carry law was that too many people would get mad, pull their guns on others and people would get hurt. That just hasn’t happened very often. Next my concern was that there was not psychological testing required. I still have that concern. Cops have to take a psychological exam to be licensed and most agencies carry at least $1 million in insurance to cover the liability for each officer. I still believe that civilians who want a permit should have to have the testing and some level of liability insurance.
    Guns on campus? There would probably not be too many problems with this either, but just keep one thing in mind. If someone is holding you, or another person at gunpoint, the craziest thing you could do is go for your gun! That could get you and/or the other guy shot! More guns, simply does not equal less violence. More guns does not assure that some, without permits or sith them, could bring guns for the purpose of committing acts of violence! We most certainly are not safer when more people carry guns.

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