AUSTIN (KXAN) — Students, faculty, staff, community members, and parents filled rooms at the University of Texas at Austin and bombarded the institution with input on how the new “Campus Carry” law will be implemented. Campus Carry passed the Texas legislature as Senate Bill 11 and would allow people with concealed handgun licenses to carry guns into some college buildings and classrooms.
More than 3,300 comments were generated through an online survey. More than 400 people attended and more than 75 people spoke at two public forums.
The working group did not break the comments up for statistical purposes. The final working group report makes that clear: “Neither our online survey nor our public forums were designed to generate data ripe for statistical analysis,” the report states.
The group instead used the comments to guide them on their recommendations.
But Steven Goode, the chair of the working group, says it led to major decisions when they published their report and made it into the final policy.
License to Carry holders can carry their weapons in the majority of school buildings beginning August 1.
“It was unfair that we were all just kind of blindsided. The entire university was just a deer in the headlights with this Senate bill,” said Ana Lopez, who will be a sophomore this August. She was one of many who gave their input on Campus Carry. She fears guns in classrooms.
“That’s like target practice for someone who’s angry with their professors or just having a bad mental health day,” she said.
Goode said by phone that doing a data breakdown wasn’t part of their job. They were looking for guidance on what to recommend to the president as a policy. He did say the comments influenced them to ban license carriers from having a round in the chamber. The board of regents later overruled that.
The mass of comments about banning guns in individual dorm rooms did make it into the final policy.
“Not just parents of current students but parents of prospective students, parents who said I will not let my child come to UT if there are guns in the dorms,” said Goode.
But as for allowing guns in classrooms, the working group said the new law forced their hand.
Campus Carry takes effect next Monday, August 1. Three days later, a federal lawsuit filed by three UT professors to keep guns out of their classrooms gets a hearing. They’re seeking a temporary injunction before classes resume on August 24.