Campus carry reaches one-year mark

Wesley Story

Some UT students’ bathroom cabinets may still house controversial rubber duplicates of the male appendage, left over from a protest they attended about a year ago.

On the first day of classes last fall, UT students and anti-campus carry groups made national headlines when they rallied against Texas’ new gun law at a protest called Cocks not Glocks. The “campus carry” law allows individuals to carry a concealed handgun on public college campuses with a concealed carry license. Since the law was enacted on August 1, 2016, the University of Texas Police Department has responded to four gun-related incidents.

Each of these incidents involved the presence of a gun on campus, said Bob Harkins, associate vice president of Campus Safety and Security. The first incident involved a vehicle that was stopped on inner campus drive, and police made arrests for drug-related charges. The second incident involved an unlocked vehicle in a parking garage that had a partially visible gun, and police told the owner to put the gun away. The third incident involved an individual who showed his gun to a friend in the Cactus Cafe and was referred to the Dean of Students. The final incident involved an individual leaving their gun in their dorm room, which is not permissible under the University’s policies.

“When you consider that we’ve got a population of about 70,000 people on campus every day, and you start talking about four gun-related incidents on campus, I think the numbers reflected the approach that we tried to take with the campus,” Harkins said. “We feel that the campus carry law was implemented properly, and we feel that the students at the University have been respectful of that law, and we don’t anticipate any change.”

As part of a campus-wide protest last fall, demonstrators passed out dildos to garner attention and “fight absurdity with absurdity.” Students participating in the Cocks Not Glocks protest hoisted dildos in the air or strapped them to their backpacks.

Jessica Jin, UT alumna and founder of anti-campus carry group Cocks Not Glocks, said the organization is now doing more creative cultural work to change narratives about the normalization of gun culture, seeking resources and funding from unconventional places, such as the sex industry.

Jin said her goal is not to take away anyone’s sense of safety with her work, but she believes the real problem is why a person feels a gun is necessary to be safe.

“Guns are a double-edged sword,” Jin said. “They can provide a sense of safety, but what I’m interested in addressing is why people feel unsafe in the first place. Nobody wants to live in a world where the only way anyone can feel safe is by leveraging the threat of violence against another one.”

Government senior Carly Allen attended the protest and said that day she felt empowered walking to class with a dildo strapped to her backpack.

“Some people just brushed us off as immature college students looking for an excuse to play with dildos,” Allen said. “But just look at the attention the protest got. Texas has taken more heat from the nation because now a lot more people know about our ridiculous gun laws.” 

Cocks Not Glocks ended up distributing more than 5,000 donated dildos to students during last year’s protest, resulting in the biggest gun protest ever held in Texas, according to Cosmopolitan.