Rice University opts out of campus carry

Matthew Adams

Rice University announced Monday it would be opting out of campus carry, becoming the fifth private university in Texas to make this decision.

Rice President David Leebron sent a University-wide email to the students, faculty and staff addressing the plan to keep the University a gun-free campus after consulting with Kevin Kirby, Vice President for Administration.

“In sum, not a single constituency consulted has endorsed having guns on our campus; in fact, each overwhelmingly opposed it,” Leebron said in the email. “There is no evidence that allowing the carrying of guns on our campus will make the campus safer, and the most knowledgeable professional groups believe that guns will make campuses less safe.”

The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 11 with a 20-11 vote on May 30, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed the bill into law on June 13. This law allows people at least21 years old to carry concealed hand guns on public college campuses. With some changes to SB 11, colleges are able to establish gun-free zones but cannot restrict guns across campus.    

Rice follows Texas Christian University, which opted out of campus carry on Nov. 13. Along with TCU, other private institutions that are not allowing campus carry include Trinity University in San Antonio, and Paul Quinn College and Southern Methodist University, both located in Dallas.

“It was quite clear that no matter which side of the issue each person felt was best, all cared deeply about the safety of the community,” Kathy Cavins-Tull, TCU’s vice chancellor for student affairs, said in a statement on the decision.

Baylor University has not officially opted against campus carry, but at a Tribune Symposium on Nov. 16, Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr said he has little doubt that this rule would not pass on the campus.