This should not be a surprise to anyone, but the main legislative sponsor of the new “campus carry” law believes it will be safe for college students with concealed handgun licenses to keep their firearms in their campus dormitories and bring them to class.
This is the same individual – state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury — who also has been quoted as declaring that the right to carry a gun is God-given. So, he obviously is a man on a mission, and he has served notice he will fight any effort to keep licensed handguns out of residence halls or classrooms, despite strong opposition from some university professors who believe that guns would be unsafe and potentially dampen academic debate.
Birdwell commented this week after the Faculty Council of the University of Texas at Austin approved a resolution urging UT officials to ban guns in classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, offices and “other spaces of education.”
Although Birdwell succeeded in winning legislative approval of the new law, which will go into effect at state-supported universities next Aug. 1, he still has some unfinished business, namely the debate over a provision in the law allowing individual universities to create some gun-free zones.
Such zones can’t have the effect of banning guns from an entire campus. Birdwell believes those zones should be very narrowly drawn and wants Attorney General Ken Paxton to help him make that point.
According to The Texas Tribune, Birdwell has asked Paxton to clarify where universities can ban handguns. Birdwell believes neither classrooms nor dormitories should be off-limits.
A classroom ban, he said in a letter to the attorney general, “would effectively force students to leave their handguns in their personal motor vehicles, or in their dormitories or other residential housing. Since students go to college to attend class, this would effectively prohibit a student/licensee from carrying their handgun on campus.”
Considering Paxton’s political history, I would be surprised if he disagrees with Birdwell. Ultimately, the dispute is headed for the courts.