AUSTIN (KXAN) — The fight over allowing guns on the University of Texas campus will look different Friday. Professors will hold a Teach-In to send a message to the university president that guns should not be in the classroom.
The purpose of the Teach-In isn’t to hold signs and rally, but instead educate those who attend about the controversial law and how it could impact anyone who steps foot on campus. The event is put on by Gun Free UT, a group that organized several rallies during the fall semester.
During the Teach-In experts on gun safety will talk about how to defend without guns, how campus carry will affect the public, and answer the question – will guns make someone safer. Those who are against the campus carry law are trying to make their voices heard while they wait for University of Texas President Gregory Fenves to decide where guns will and won’t be allowed on campus.
Dr. Steve Wechsler, a professor in the Department of Linguistics, said he looks at the statistics on gun violence and deaths when making his decision on campus carry.
“Most of those are not from criminal activity but arguments that got out of hand,” said Dr. Wechsler. “So that’s one of the ways we know that introducing more guns does not help the situation even when they are in the hands of people who see themselves as responsible law abiding citizens.”
Friday’s Teach-In will be held at the Glickman Conference Center in the College of Liberal Arts from 2 to 5 p.m. The event is open to the public.
Another group, Students for Concealed Carry, are calling on Governor Greg Abbott to address the law if he calls a special session this year. The group wants the governor to clarify the rules universities are allowed to make about campus carry. The law allows public universities to create gun-free zones. The group, Students for Concealed Carry, believe schools like the University of Texas are taking advantage of the law by banning guns in many areas on campus.
A UT panel recently recommended guns should be banned in dorms, offices, labs and child care facilities. But the Board of Regents still has to approve the recommendations. Campus carry goes into effect Aug. 1. Private universities have the option to opt out.
The state’s top prosecutor is looking into whether some government buildings are keeping concealed handgun owners away. There are 34 complaints pending a review from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. State law says local governments cannot ban concealed handgun holders from carrying weapons in their facilities, unless it’s a courtroom, polling place, or correctional facility.