SCC’s Statement on the University of Texas System Board of Regents’ July 13 Votes on Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX – On July 13, the University of Texas System board of regents clearly demonstrated that its members have not read, much less given serious consideration to, the arguments and written statements provided to the regents by Students for Concealed Carry. In discussing the UT-Austin policy that would allow occupants of private offices to designate those offices as criminally enforceable “gun-free” zones, the regents repeated—without challenged—several anti-campus carry talking points that SCC thoroughly debunked in statements delivered to the regents via both email and fax.
Despite SCC’s clear evidence to the contrary, UT Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster repeated the false claim that the gun-free zone sign required by Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 must be two feet wide by three feet tall in order to be enforceable. In reality, an enforceable 30.06 sign can be as small as 12 inches by 18 inches.
Likewise, despite SCC’s clear evidence to the contrary, the regents accepted—without challenge—UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves’ false assertion that an office designated “gun-free” by the occupant is “gun-free” to all license holders, including the occupant. In reality, a person authorized to give 30.06 notice can give or withhold that notice at his or her discretion, creating one class of license holder for whom concealed carry is legal and a second class of license holder for whom concealed carry is punishable by a year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and a mandatory five-year revocation of the offender’s license to carry a handgun.
At no point did any of the regents note that this gun-free-offices policy will make it impossible for many if not most license holders at the University of Texas at Austin to carry concealed handguns on the campus of the institution. At no point did any of the regents ask why, if UT-Austin believes so firmly in a person’s right to autonomy in his or her private office, did the university not previously adopt a policy granting office occupants the authority to allow licensed concealed carry in their private offices. At no point did a regent question why the employees at a single state university should be the only Texas state employees authorized to arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry in their offices.
Thankfully, input from the UT System’s own law enforcement experts was enough to persuade the regents to strike down the university’s absurd empty-chamber policy. However, striking down only the empty-chamber policy is a half measure. As long as the gun-free-offices policy stands, the university remains out of compliance with both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill 11.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “Now that the University of Texas System has refused to follow the letter and intent of Texas’ campus carry law, licensed students, faculty, and staff must turn to the courts for enforcement and to the Legislature for a page-one rewrite to strip university presidents of this measure of discretion with which they clearly cannot be trusted.”
ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.