Gun rights advocates wish to inform those on campus on positives of new laws

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

While some on campus have protested the implementation of campus carry since the beginning of the semester, other students, faculty and members of the Austin community support the law and wish to educate others who may be uninformed.

The law, which went into effect on Aug. 1, has been a controversial topic among students and faculty members since it was proposed last year, and was met with a number of protests during the first week of the fall semester. Gun rights advocates on and off campus want to help people understand that campus carry isn’t as dangerous as some on the anti-campus carry side are saying. 

Brian Bensimon, government sophomore and director for the Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry, said educating those on campus on the law is one of the main goals of his organization.  

“A lot of people don’t know you have to be 21 [and] go through a background check, and the background checks are done by the FBI themselves,” Bensimon said. “For me it’s about individual rights, it’s about individual liberty, and I want to push the ball forward in both of those areas.”

Bensimon is not a current concealed handgun holder but plans on getting his training in the future.

Nicholas Roland, U.S. history graduate student, has had a license to conceal carry for 10 years and does not agree with many of the points brought up from the anti-campus carry activists.

“I don’t see a lot of arguments based on this as a policy measure being dangerous in places where it’s been implemented,” Roland said. “It’s already been in place at other states. I’m not seeing a lot of arguments from them on bad things that have happened in the wake of this.”

Roland also believes there is a cultural bias towards guns on college campuses. Roland said gun rights are a partisan issue and many on campus are left leaning.

Michael Cargill, owner of Central Texas Gun Works and licensed concealed handgun instructor, believes if a person wants a gun for their personal safety, then that person should be allowed to carry. According to Cargill, a college campus is no different than anywhere else where people can conceal carry.

Accidental discharges have happened at other campuses, such as an incident in 2012 at Weber State University in Utah when a student carrying a handgun in his pocket accidentally shot himself in the leg, where campus carry is allowed, and some of those on the anti-campus carry side have raised concerns about this.

 “The way that an accidental discharge will happen is that a person will have to put their finger on the trigger if it’s the type of firearm that does not have a safety,” Cargill said. “You holsters cover the trigger guard area, and while it’s just sitting there, there’s no way for that gun to go off.”

Cargill participated in the campus carry town hall hosted by CBS and The Daily Texan last week, where he said implementing the law allowed for uniformity concerning places where a person can carry. He stated since licensed holders can carry at the capital, where heated debates happen, licensed carriers should be able to carry on campus.