AUSTIN, TEXAS – The protest dildos have long since vanished from campus, the social media accounts for Students Against Campus Carry and Gun Free UT have been mostly dark for months, and the editorial board of the UT student newspaper has moved on to more topical issues, so we have to ask: What happened to the anti-campus carry movement at the University of Texas at Austin?
Last August, when organizers of the #CocksNotGlocks protest distributed 4,500 free dildos to students at UT-Austin, protesters said they intended to dangle the sex toys from their backpacks for as long as license to carry (LTC) holders were allowed to have handguns in their backpacks. Five months later, those thousands of phalluses seem to have been either discarded or put to more traditional use.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “Even in the days immediately following the protest, you didn’t see people walking around campus with dildos hanging from their backpacks. People got excited about the protest because it was funny, but it didn’t hold their attention for long.”
Students Against Campus Carry hasn’t used their Twitter account since Oct. 7. Their last Facebook post was Dec. 1. Since Oct. 16, Gun Free UT’s Twitter account has consisted of nothing but off-topic retweets and a link to a story about a red panda escaping from a zoo. During that same time, they’ve made just five posts to their Facebook page, only one of which deals with campus carry.
Although the California-based #CocksNotGlocks organization still posts about campus carry, they’ve largely shifted their focus to pending legislation in Wisconsin and Arkansas. And like Gun Free UT, they have a hard time staying on topic, often using their platform to speak out on reproductive rights, LGBTQ issues, healthcare, and President Trump.
So what happened to the anti-campus carry fervor that got the #CocksNotGlocks protest featured in a segment on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah”? Where are the rallies and marches in support of the two pending bills (HB 282 and HB 391) that would allow public colleges to opt out of Texas’ campus carry law? One possible explanation is found in a Sept. 20 column in Study Breaks magazine. In the column, published four weeks after the start of the fall semester, University of Texas at San Antonio student Jessica Peña writes:
Besides the hype of the [campus carry] bill itself, there was so much additional scrutiny added by protests from faculty and students, such as the “Cocks Not Glocks” movement at UT Austin, that I couldn’t help but think about my safety as I sat in class with a room full of potentially weapon-wielding gun owners my own age.
The thought of an unstable person taking out a weapon in a crowded class made me fear for my safety. Time seemed to slow as my anxiety mounted with the possibility of a gun being in such close proximity. Anger toward the people who passed the ridiculous law flared inside me.
Now I’ve been in school for more than three weeks.
By this point, classes are in full swing, and not even the grueling task of analyzing “Ulysses” is enough to make my mind wander back to the issue of guns on campus.
While I had apprehensions when I heard about the law, and even fears at the beginning of the semester, I can’t deny that they quickly became the last thing on my mind.
In October 2015, The Daily Texan, the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin, refused to publish a student’s pro-campus carry op-ed because the student claimed that campus carry would prove to be a non-issue. Now, six months after the law took effect, most of the UT community is acting as though campus carry is a non-issue.
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 or tweet @CampusCarry.
“A Refresher on the Case for Campus Carry in Texas”: http://concealedcampus.org/2016/05/a-refresher-on-the-case-for-campus-carry-in-texas/
SCC’s Oct. 2, 2015 – Jan. 30, 2017, Texas press releases and op-eds: https://www.scribd.com/document/319141232/Texas-Students-for-Concealed-Carry-Campus-Carry-Press-Releases-Op-Eds-Oct-2-2015-Jan-30-2017
SCC’s 2015 Texas legislative handout (includes Dec. 9 – May 22, 2015, press releases and op-eds): https://www.scribd.com/document/255815743/SCC-s-2015-Texas-Legislative-Handout
All SCC statements regarding the campus carry policies proposed by UT-Austin: https://www.scribd.com/document/317821607/Texas-Students-for-Concealed-Carry-Press-Releases-Regarding-UT-Austin-s-Campus-Carry-Policies
RECENT NEWS ARTICLES ABOUT CAMPUS CARRY IN TEXAS:
- “WT transitions smoothly to first semester of campus carry” – Amarillo Globe-News – Dec. 19, 2016
- “No gun related incidents reported at UTEP since SB11 went into effect” – KFOX 14 – Oct. 24, 2016
- “Midwestern State encouraged by early results of campus carry policy” – KAUZ – Oct. 19, 2016
- “Campus carry off to quiet start” – Denton Record-Chronicle – Oct. 15, 2016
- “The Beginning of Campus Carry: As a Texas student affected by the law, I never would’ve imagined how much my opinion has changed” – Study Breaks – Sept. 21, 2016