Listen: What People on the UT Campus Think of Campus Carry
Today marks the first day of the state’s so-called campus carry law – a law passed in 2015 that allows Texans to carry a concealed handgun on public university and college campuses, if they have a license to carry a handgun. It’s a law with no shortage of opponents on the UT Austin campus. Across the campus, however, opinions on the law are less clear-cut.
So, KUT canvassed a handful of students, faculty and staff members late last week ahead of the law's rollout today.
Jamilla Karemo, a 22-year-old student, says she’s concerned about the law, namely that any of her classmates could be carrying a weapon at any point in time.
Soo Yang, 31, says she's uncomfortable with the prospect of weapons in the classroom or in labs.
Mason Valentine, 24, says the law doesn’t especially concern him. As a grad student, he mostly works in labs, where weapons aren't permitted.
Sally Phonthaasa, 19, says she recognizes the benefit of self-defense, but the undergrad student questions the training course required to receive a license to carry. She says the classes don't address the threat of active shooter scenarios.
Jacob Williamson, a 40-year-old member of the undergraduate studies staff, says the law will be a “big change.”
Paul Monticone, 34, is a grad student and teaches classes, as well. He’s not teaching a class this upcoming semester, but he fears the policy may influence the discussion around grading – namely, grade inflation.
Nisha Javeri, 27, is just starting at UT. She says the policy is a change of pace from her previous campus in the Northeast.
Student Jarod Becker, 22, says he sees both sides of the argument, but says, if there were an active shooter event, adding more guns would turn a “dangerous situation into a huge gun fight.”
Jacek Prus, 23, says he’s glad he’s graduating from UT soon.
Dan Rimkus, 28, just moved to Austin from Chicago. He says the law is a little “unsettling,” but that he doesn’t think the law will have an effect on his day-to-day life.
Maro Youssef, 30, is a teaching assistant working in UT's sociology department. She says the subject matter discussed in classes is sensitive, and that she and others in her department are leery of the law.
Zach Vahle, 20, is an undergrad. He says he’s nervous about the number of firearms on campus.
Jeff Svajda is a 22-year-old undergrad student. He says he can see both sides of the argument over the law, but he doesn’t necessarily feel unsafe with guns in classrooms.
Vince Carrozza, 21, is an undergrad student who says he supports the right to carry a firearm campus, but says the practice could become a distraction.
Fernando Tejeda, 21, is a biology undergrad student. He says he thinks guns on campus could increase safety, but that he wouldn’t personally carry one.
Adam Redmer says he doesn’t see a problem with concealed carry on campus. The 19-year-old undergrad says people all over the U.S. and Texas have concealed carry permits and it's not "chaos in the streets."
Undergrad Blake Bartlett, 22, says he doesn’t think too many people will bring firearms on campus and he’s not concerned about campus carry.