Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Educate students on campus carry policies

Joanna Levine

At UT’s mandatory orientation, a program educating new students on campus policies, how-tos and various traditions, incoming Longhorns are welcomed onto campus with a wealth of information. One thing, however, is lacking from the extensive curriculum: the concealed carry policy.

On campus, firearm owners with a license to carry (LTC) have the right to carry concealed handguns in permitted areas, such as most public outdoor spaces and in classrooms. While this policy has drawn criticism, leading to a 2016 lawsuit by 3 UT professors, I found myself unaware of the policy entirely when I arrived on campus. 

“With orientation, the focus was more so on everything else, and I wouldn’t say that I had as much of an education on UT’s gun policy as I would have wanted,” said Joy Thomas, journalism junior. 

While the University allows the concealed carry of handguns on campus, open carry is expressly prohibited. However, without proper education on the University’s policies, the potential for confusion among new students is concerning. Following the recent mass shootings at public universities Michigan State University and University of North Carolina, gun violence is at the forefront of student’s minds. Students should be shown where to find the information they need to know, what to watch for and when to alert authorities. 

“I understand it because it is a Second Amendment right,” finance freshman Ryan Masud said. “I think there should be at least a video explaining why they have the policy, but I think that’s it.”

Whether you’re pro campus carry or not, there needs to be more coverage. Currently, the University’s website references the laws it adheres to and offers an FAQ section on relevant topics.

UT is following state law in permitting campus carry, and there’s little flexibility in what they can prohibit in public areas, but education is a simple step towards a more protected campus and a student body that can play a part in its own safety.

The University did not comment on this topic despite multiple requests.  

In a time when gun violence is a concern of many students around the nation, students deserve an active effort to educate them on gun-related rules and what to look out for in the event of an emergency. Recognizing what’s permitted by the University versus what is a threat to the public is an integral part of preventative safety on campus. 

Doud is a journalism and government freshman from Conroe, Texas.

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