UT System Chancellor William McRaven spoke in depth about his stance against campus carry at a conference Tuesday.
McRaven, a retired four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy, said campus carry has little support from the UT System universities.
“I’m a big second amendment guy, you know; I’m a strong supporter,” McRaven said. “But my position today — I’m an educator. As I look across the students and the faculty and the administrators and the staff and their concerns that they have voiced to me about this creating an unsafe environment with more guns on campus, it’s hard for me to support campus carry when I see their concerns.”
Bridget Guien, economics freshman and communications director for College Republicans, said campus carry has the potential to protect students.
“Campus carry will improve safety on campus by providing students a way to defend themselves against robberies, assaults [and] public shootings,” Guien said.
McRaven said he understands the argument in favor of campus carry but does not feel there is enough evidence to support it.
“I’ve had a number of folks tell me, ‘Well, you know, if somebody had been at Virginia Tech when that tragedy occurred, and somebody was carrying a weapon, could you have stopped that tragedy?’” McRaven said. “It’s hard to disprove a negative.”
While the bill is intended to increase safety, Student Government President Kori Rady said students don’t currently take issue with campus security.
“It doesn’t seem like students are complaining about their safety on campus,” Rady said. “I don’t think we have a broken system here, and, if it’s not broken, why try to fix it?”
According to a bill filed in the Texas Senate, SB 11, concealed weapons will be allowed on campus but restricted in certain locations, including hospitals, dorms, grade schools, preschools and sporting events. McRaven said he worries about restricting movement on campus in order to facilitate concealed carry.
“I think what will happen over time [is] we will begin to have a little bit of a barricade mentality … because, frankly, we’ll have to make sure that students carrying those weapons — well you’re going to have to check your gun at certain areas where you’re not allowed to carry those,” McRaven said.
McRaven said gun culture is tolerated in Texas, but faculty recruited from outside of Texas might not be as receptive to guns on campus.
“This to me is really about safety on campus, but one of the things we also need to consider is how you recruit great faculty from outside of Texas,” McRaven said. “We in Texas have a gun culture, and I think most of us understand that. I’m not sure that’s well understood or well appreciated by faculty outside of Texas.”