Gun-Free UT holds third rally on Main Mall

Matthew Adams

Gun-Free UT, a group against Senate Bill 11 allowing concealed guns on college campuses, held its third rally Tuesday.

Journalism senior Danielle Vabner spoke at the rally of about 100 students and others from the public about the experience of losing her 6-year-old brother in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Vabner said she decided to transfer to UT and get as far away from the trauma as possible.

“From the moment I started my sophomore year of college at UT, it was my safe haven,” Vabner said. “Though the pain was just as intense as it had been months before, I was far away from the harsh reminders of what happened on December 14, 2012, and that helped me begin the healing process.”

Vabner said she never thought she would see guns allowed on campus and thinks it will only add to the gun problem in America.

“Gun violence and ease of accessibility to weapons are, and no longer should be, political issues — they are public health issues,” Vabner said. “Americans are dying in schools, in movie theaters and on city streets. Political beliefs aside, public officials are responsible for keeping Americans safe. As guns are forced onto the campuses of public universities across the state of Texas, it is clear that the best interests of college students were not taken into account.”

C.J. Grisham, president of Open Carry Texas, said he is not concerned with protests.

“The law has passed, so we aren’t going to even humor UT professor idiocy,” Grisham said. “It’s nothing but a waste of time and ignorant posturing.” 

A petition started by Gun-Free UT now has the signatures of about 1,000 professors against campus carry. In addition, the National Lawyers Guild, a group who fights for civil rights, is now representing Gun-Free UT.