The Lone Star State already let gun owners who have conceal-to-carry permits bring weapons into four-year colleges starting last August thanks to the controversial Texas Senate Bill 11. The legislation, also known as the Campus Carry Law, was passed in 2015. While the policy went into effect for four-year universities in August 2016, community colleges in the state were given an extra year to comply with the law. Tuesday marked the day schools would allow students to bring their concealed weapons if they met the requirements.
The legislation was met with pushback back when it was about to be implemented at four-year colleges. There was the "Cocks Not Glocks" protest, for example, during which students carried sex toys at the University of Texas, Austin. (Carrying dildos out in the open could be banned under campus rules and Texas obscenity laws, while concealed weapons would be legal on campus.)
But, efforts to stop the Campus Carry Law were unsuccessful, and according to officials in several universities, the rollout of the policy over the past year has been smooth.
"I expected it to be largely uneventful, and those expectations have been pretty much borne out,” Phillip Lyons, dean of the Sam Houston State University College of Criminal Justice, told The Texas Tribune.
However, gun-safety activists are still strongly advocating against allowing weapons onto college campuses — even if tragedy hasn't struck yet.
"It's a sad day for Texas parents, who now must decide if it's better to send their children into college classrooms where classmates may be armed, or keep their children out of the Texas colleges and universities. The research proves that allowing people to carry guns onto college campuses makes college life more dangerous — not less," Lisa Epstein, volunteer leader of the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told Refinery29.
She added, "I encourage Texas college students to join us in the fight for common-sense gun safety, and to remember that while today may be a scary one, there is hope."