Take guns to campus, but hide them: Texas’ new law
In contrary to what otherwise would have been expected given US history of gun-related violence, a new law in the US state Texas says students can carry guns to campuses provided those are concealed, the BBC reported.
The new law states that students above 21 years of age with concealed handgun permit are allowed to take guns to classrooms.
A debate has ensued following the announcement of the new law. On one hand, the campus authorities are worried that the new rule will discourage students from attending universities, on the other hand supporters of the law say that it is ‘critical’ for self defence and upholding constitutional rights.
Texan Republicans feel that the new law prevents ‘mass shootings’ as they believe that in most cases gunmen target ‘gun-free zones’ such as cinemas and universities for their criminal acts.
The law took effect on the 50th anniversary of the clock tower massacre, in which a student gunman shot 49 people, killing 16, at the University of Texas at Austin on August 1, 1966.
The shooter, Charles Whitman, a Marine-trained 25-year-old engineering student, climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a campus clock tower and began firing on students and staff. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, NBC News reported.
Texas is one of eight states that allows students to carry guns into college buildings, including those on the University of Texas system, which includes nearly 215,000 students.
The killing spree first introduced the US to the concept of a “mass shooting”.
An earlier Texas law signed in 1995 allowed students with concealed carry licenses to carry weapons on campus sidewalks, streets and parking lots.
Some of the most deadly mass shootings in the US have taken place in college campuses.
In 2007, a student at Virginia Tech University killed 33 people and injured 23 others. The following year, a former student of Northern Illinois University walked into a classroom at the school, killing six people and wounding 21 more before taking his own life, NBC News added.