Feb 22, 2016 12:12 PM EST
Texas Private Schools Not Implementing Concealed Carry Policies
Though the University of Texas system begrudgingly adopted a mandatory concealed carry policy, private schools in the state are under no such obligation, nor are they going to do so anyway.
Texas passed a law requiring its public colleges to implement a policy allowing students to carry concealed firearms on campus. UT had no choice in the matter, and Gregory Fenves, president of the Austin campus, made that abundantly clear in a statement issued last week.
But the state's private schools do have a choice, and three of Texas' premiere private universities have done what UT wanted to do. According to The Associated Press, Baylor, Texas Christian, and Southern Methodist all declined to implement a concealed carry policy for their campuses.
Texas' GOP faced opposition on Senate Bill 11 not only from students, faculty, but from other lawmakers, law enforcement, and several public education officials. The only outlier appeared to be Texas A&M, as The AP reported its leadership has expressed not having concerns about concealed firearms on its campus.
Sen. Brian Birdwell, an author of SB 11, stated he was protecting students' rights granted them by the Second Amendment.
"Now it's up to the marketplace of free enterprise... to make a market decision," he told the AP. "My duty was to preserve their ability to make that choice."
Students for Concealed Carry, an advocacy group that supported SB 11, believes the mandate will show private institutions such policies can be enacted "safely and successfully." UT hopes to do so by setting boundaries for where concealed firearms can and cannot be carried.
"I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date," Fenves wrote in a letter to the UT community. "I empathize with the many faculty, staff, students and parents of students who signed petitions, sent emails and letters, and organized to ban guns from campus and especially classrooms. As a professor, I understand the deep concerns raised by so many. However, as president, I have an obligation to uphold the law."
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