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Texas Students for Concealed Carry Press Releases and Op-Eds

10/02/2015-08/01/2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/02/2015

Campus Carry at Umpqua Community College : THE FACTS

There is a lot of debate about whether Oregon’s Umpqua Community College allows campus carry after the tragic campus shooting.

Here is a quick breakdown of the pertinent FACTS:

1. Oregon state law allows licensed concealed carry on campus; however, colleges are allowed to prohibit it in

campus buildings (http://is.gd/CEbDEt).

2. The UCC code of conduct (http://is.gd/aR66uo) bans the “Possession or use, without written authorization, of

firearms.”

3. The president of UCC told the ‘L.A. Times’ (http://is.gd/a8Lich) that even the school’s lone security guard and

the few faculty members who are retired law enforcement officers are prohibited from carrying guns on campus.

4. At least one student who holds an Oregon concealed handgun license was reportedly carrying a gun on campus

(http://is.gd/6XEe3B); however, he wasn’t in the building where the shooting occurred, and, in accordance with

standard CHL/CCW training (http://is.gd/cZXtUJ), he wisely chose to stay put.

5. When SWAT encountered the armed student, they calmly and professionally disarmed him, checked his

concealed handgun license, and then released him, in accordance with their training.

6. Debating whether UCC allows campus carry completely misses the pointcampus carry allows licensed

INDIVIDUALS an optional measure of PERSONAL protection; it doesn’t inoculate an entire campus against violence.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/08/2015

The UT Professor Who Says He's Resigning over Campus Carry Is a False Martyr

AUSTIN, TX - The media is downright giddy to report that a University of Texas professor plans to resign over the state's new "campus carry" law; however, none of that reporting has yet to ask how this professor so quickly lined up a new job at the University of Sydney in Australia or why a professor who teaches only first-semester freshmen is concerned about a law affecting licensed individuals over the age of 21.

Economics professor emeritus Daniel Hamermesh officially retired in 2014, but for the past two years he has continued teaching one class each fall semester. He says he had planned to keep teaching this class for the next two falls, until the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 11, which allows concealed handgun license holders to carry handguns on the campuses of Texas colleges. In his resignation letter to UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves, Hamermesh writes, “With a huge group of students, my perception is that the risk that a disgruntled

student might bring a gun into the classroom and start shooting at me has been substantially enhanced by the concealed-carry law.”

Speaking to the unusual size (as many as 500 students) of Hamermesh's annual class, his letter notes, "In some semesters these groups of 18-year-olds constituted the largest single course on campus." This prompted Antonia Okafor, Southwest director for Students for Concealed Carry, to ask, "Why is Professor Hamermesh worried that allowing CHL holders to carry guns on campus will increase his chances of being shot by students who are too young to obtain a CHL?"

Given that Professor Hamermesh tendered his resignation only two semesters earlier than planned and now intends to take a job at an elite university halfway around the world, his decision to publicly blame a law that would not have impacted his classes reeks of political opportunism. Opponents of campus carry needed a martyr, and they found one in a professor who was on his way out anyway.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/12/2015

Students for Concealed Carry Supports Students' Right to Carry Dildos on Campus

AUSTIN, TX - Students for Concealed Carry, which has waged court battles for the right to wear empty holsters on college campuses, believes that the University of Texas's obscenity policy should not be used to stop anti-campus carry protesters from openly carrying dildos on campus. Michael Newbern, assistant director of public relations for SCC, commented, "If carrying a phallus to class is how you want to make your point, that is an exercise of First Amendment rights, and a public college has no right to impede it."

SCC does recommend, however, that any dildos carried on campus be used only in constitutionally protected expressions of free speech. Using a dildo as a defensive weapon could classify it as a "club," which, under Texas law, is illegal to carry in public and constitutes a felony if carried in campus buildings. Newbern added, "We have always encouraged open, honest debate and have, on multiple occasions, stood up to colleges that sought to quash our own empty-holster protests. We did so under the counsel of competent attorneys and encourage these students and other concerned individuals participating in this protest to do the same."

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By Antonia Okafor, Oct. 13, 2015

Special to the Texas Tribune

Okafor , Oct. 13, 2015 Special to the Texas Tribune Photo by Photo by Shelby Knowles

Photo by Photo by Shelby Knowles

When students, faculty and staff gathered Oct. 1 on the University of Texas at Austin’s West Mall rally area to protest the implementation of the state's new "campus carry" law, they had no way of knowing that news coverage of their rally would be overshadowed by a campus shooting taking place at that very moment in Oregon. Oblivious to the carnage unfolding halfway across the country, speaker after speaker took the stage to explain how the presence of guns would impede the free exchange of ideas and hinder their ability to speak openly on controversial topics.

Ironically, every one of these speeches took place in an area of campus where the licensed concealed carry of handguns is already legal. For almost two decades, state law has allowed concealed handgun license (CHL) holders to carry their handguns in the publicly accessible outdoor areas of college campuses. Yet none of the protesters at the Gun Free UT rally seemed particularly uneasy about expressing their views outdoors on the West Mall.

This is just the latest example of the cognitive disconnect demonstrated by gun-control activists in Texas who have no problem seeing a movie at a theater, shopping at a mall or worshipping at a church that allows concealed carry but are absolutely terrified of stepping into a classroom that does the same.

Rather than try to explain why the same trained, licensed, carefully screened adults age 21 and older who aren't causing problems across the street at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum or four blocks away at the Texas Capitol would cause problems in UT-Austin buildings, gun-control activists

insinuate that the debate is about keeping guns out of the hands of immature, binge-drinking college students. They quip about drunk frat boys mixing guns and beer pong, despite the fact that campus carry will not change the laws at fraternity houses, bars, tailgating events, off-campus parties or anywhere else students are likely to consume alcohol (in reality, most college parties take place in locations where concealed carry is already allowed). They wax poetic about their deep concern that campus carry will lead to an increase in student suicides, despite the fact that the new law won't change who can buy a gun or obtain a CHL, the fact that 90 percent of suicides occur in the victim's home while 95 percent of UT-Austin students over the age of 21 live off campus, and the fact that any CHL holder can already legally keep a handgun in a car parked on campus.

In the aftermath of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., the debate over campus carry has largely shifted to a futile argument about which side is proved right by this latest tragedy. Not helping matters is Oregon's difficult-to-parse campus carry law. Although state law specifically allows concealed carry on campus grounds, Oregon colleges can ban guns in campus buildings, resulting in most having a campus carry policy similar to the current law in Texas. Umpqua Community College has a policy against anyone, including campus security and retired police, carrying guns in campus buildings.

This is beside the point, though. Campus carry allows licensed individuals an optional measure of personal protection; it doesn't inoculate an entire campus against violence. Rather than look for proof where none exists, we should let this tragedy serve as a reminder that violence can strike anywhere.

Outside of Texas, more than 150 U.S. college campuses have allowed licensed concealed carry for an average of more than five years without a single resulting assault, suicide attempt or fatal accident. Why should we expect any less in Texas? Time and time again, Texas concealed handgun license holders have been shown to be among the most law-abiding segments of the population (committing violent crimes at about one-fifth the rate of the general public). Why should these carefully vetted individuals who are allowed the means to protect themselves virtually everywhere else in the state be placed at the mercy of any criminal or lunatic willing to disregard an honor-system-based school policy?

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Southwest Regional Director, Students for Concealed Carry

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/16/2015

UT-AUSTIN NEWSPAPER SWEEPS PRO-CAMPUS CARRY EDITORIALS AND FACTS UNDER THE RUG

SWEEPS PRO-CAMPUS CARRY EDITORIALS AND FACTS UNDER THE RUG It’s no surprise that many students at

It’s no surprise that many students at the University of Texas at Austin would rather dangle dildos from their backpacks than allow licensed concealed carry on their campus—the school’s student newspaper is actively working to keep students from seeing the pro side of the campus carry debate. Since the beginning of the 2015 Texas Legislative Session, the Daily Texan has published 5 anti-campus carry opinion pieces for every 1 pro-campus carry opinion piece. One could argue that this is simply a case of more anti-campus carry pieces being submitted to the publication, if not for the fact that the paper’s editors are clearly looking for any excuse not to publish pro-carry columns.

During UT’s spring Semester, Madison Welch—then SCC’s Southwest regional director—submitted four op-eds to the Daily Texan. She received no reply to the first three (one of which was later carried by both The Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle). Finally, after the fourth submission, then- editor-in-chief Riley Brands wrote back, “We generally restrict op-eds to UT students.” This struck Madison as an odd policy, especially since the student papers at SMU, UNT, and UT-Arlington later had no problem carrying those same op-eds. Throughout the legislative session, other student papers also ran pieces by SCC, as they have for years.

Still, SCC’s state leaders would have accepted the Texan’s unusually strict submission policy if the paper hadn’t then offered a highly dubious justification for refusing to print an op-ed submitted on October 14, by Allison Peregory, a UT-Austin junior who serves as SCC’s University of Texas campus leader. In response to Peregory’s submission of THIS 498-word column, current Daily Texan Editor-In-Chief Claire Smith sent the following reply:

Unfortunately, we are unable to publish this guest submission. First, we are unable to verify that there has never been an incident at a university due to campus carry, as the author stated. Secondly, some of the rhetorical statements and devices of the op-ed may be the opinion of the author, but cannot be published as fact by a newspapers [sic]; for instance, the author writes that campus carry will be a "total non-issue" in Texas, but it has already created issues on campus through protests, counterprotests, the resignation of several professors, and the safety concerns of many students, none of which are non-issues.

As you contrast that rejection letter with the relatively benign op-ed Alison submitted, keep in mind that Smith campaigned for the elected position of editor-in-chief on a platform of ”A more inclusive opinion section to better represent the diversity of belief present on campus.” She even penned a column titled Inclusiveness is the key to a vital Daily Texan.” Apparently, inclusiveness is only the policy of the Daily Texan when being inclusive doesn’t conflict with Smith’s stated position against campus carry.

The best possible response to Smith’s rejection letter comes from Peregory herself, who replied:

On March 4, you told SCC’s previous regional director that, unlike every other student paper SCC has ever submitted to, the Texan only prints guest columns from students at the university. Now, seven months later, after the Texan has gotten into the practice of running several anti-campus carry pieces a week, you tell mea student at the university—that you can’t print my pro-campus carry op-ed because I failed to prove a negative (if only there were some sort of journalistic rule/guideline about this) and because it expresses opinions (if only there were some sort of outlet for opinionssome sort of opinion piece in which a non-subjective author could editorialize on an issue).

Nowhere in my piece does it claim, “there has never been an incident at a university due to campus carry.” What it claims is, “Currently, more than 150 U.S. college campuses allow the licensed concealed carry of handguns (no, Oregon's Umpqua Community College isn't one of them). After allowing campus carry for a combined total of more than 1,500 semesters (an average of more than five years), not one of those colleges has seen a single resulting assault, suicide attempt, or fatal accident.” If you’re having trouble verifying that claim, I suggest you ask the editors of The Texas Tribune, the Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle, and The Texas Tribune (again) how they verified it. And those are just the major papers that have printed this claim within the past year. I could go back years, showing you national, state, metropolitan, and student papers across the U.S. that have printed variations of this fact.

If that’s not good enough for you, there is also this: During his September 21 interview with The Texas Tribune's Evan Smith, UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves said, "Part of what the working group is doing is looking at other states

that have campus carry

still unconvinced but genuinely want to fact-check my piece, why not place a call to Steven Goode, chair of UT- Austin’s campus carry working group? Given that this is the type of thing his committee is tasked with researching,

maybe he can give you an answer that is to your satisfaction.

as

far as we know, as far as I know, there haven't been any significant problems." If you’re

As for the line “Protest the new law all you want, but understand that--as is currently the case in Utah, Colorado, Mississippi, and Idaho--campus carry will be a total non-issue in the Lone Star State,” that is a prediction, not an analysis of the current state of the UT-Austin campus. Some people were initially upset about campus carry coming to Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Mississippi, but their predictions of violence never came to be, and their protests eventually died down. You’ve printed plenty of editorials and op-eds expressing very dire predictions of what campus carry will lead to on the UT-Austin campus—are you honestly saying you can’t print an op-ed predicting the opposite?

I long ago accepted that my personal beliefs don’t align with the majority at UT-Austin, but I always assumed that I had the same right as anyone else to have my opinion heard. I am beyond disgusted by the lack of journalistic and editorial integrity demonstrated by the editors of The Daily Texan.

Sincerely,

Allison Peregory

PS. Just to be clear that what we’re talking about is evidence of absence, not absence of evidence, I want to point out that when SCC was formed in 2007, our founding members spoke to officials (typically chiefs of campus police) at the schools in Utah and Colorado where campus carry was then allowed, to confirm that they hadn't had any assaults, suicide attempts, or deaths related to CHL holders. Since then, we've monitored reports from those schools and the others that have begun allowing campus carry, for any reports of assaults, suicide attempts, or deaths related to CHL holders. We haven't found any. This claim has been checked and printed by countless reputable media outlets over the years, so I have a hard time believing that your refusal to print it is based on anything more than personal bias.

Below is the list of relevant opinion pieces published by the Daily Texan since January 1, 2015. There are

20 anti-campus carry pieces and just 4 pro-campus carry pieces. The average time between pro-campus

carry pieces was 84 days, while the average time between anti-campus carry pieces was only 13 days.

Although each of the pro-campus carry pieces had an anti-campus carry counterpoint published within

24 hours (three counterpoints were published on the same day as the pro piece; one was published the

day after the pro piece), eight of the anti-campus carry pieces ran during a week in which no pro-campus carry pieces were published.

PRO-CAMPUS CARRY:

ANTI-CAMPUS CARRY:

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/27/2015

The New York Times Doesn't Know the Difference Between a Scientific Study and Propaganda

AUSTIN, TX - The New York Times, which would never cite a study from the National Rifle Association, much less any of the nation’s much-more-radical gun-rights organizations, recently based an entire editorial (http://is.gd/LQHzvS) on a deeply flawed (http://is.gd/NnjccG) and completely unscientific study from the Violence Policy Center, arguably the most radical (http://is.gd/T1AzbA) gun-control organization in America. The Times’ October 26 editorial “The Concealed-Carry Fantasy” refers to the Violence Policy Center as a “gun safety group” (emphasis added) and treats the VPC’s farcical “Concealed Carry Killers” study as a purely scientific endeavor.

If you don't want to read through the analysis (linked above) of the study’s many shortcomings, here is a quick hypothetical scenario to illustrate just one of the ways in which the Violence Policy Center’s numbers are flawed:

A Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holder in Michigan decides he's going to murder his wife. He waits until she goes to sleep, carefully removes a wire from their grand piano, and uses it to strangle her in their bed.

The next day, the man's father-in-law, who is also a Michigan CPL holder, is so distraught over his daughter's death that he goes out to his garage, ties an extension cord to the garage door opener, and hangs himself with it.

On the VPC's list of “Concealed Carry Killers,” this would be counted as two deaths caused by concealed handgun license holders, despite the fact that neither man's CPL was a factor in either death.

A concealed handgun license does not impact a person's legal right to possess a weapon other than a handgun; does not impact a person's legal right to possess a weapon of any kind (including a handgun) in the home; does not offer any strategic, tactical, or legal advantage to someone seeking to carry out a premeditated crime (the person isn't going to encounter a checkpoint where authorities search him for weapons and then verify that he has permits for those weapons before letting him proceed); and does not impact a person's ability to commit suicide at home, where 90% of suicides occur (http://is.gd/IJlqWW). However, to the ideologues conducting the Violence Policy Center’s “study,” the scenario above would comprise two more examples of why the licensed concealed carry of handguns presents a clear and present danger to public safety.

The reality is that the vast majority of scientific, peer-reviewed studies on licensed concealed carry have concluded that it cannot be shown to lead to an increase in homicides or suicides. According to Texas Department of Public Safety statistics, Texas concealed handgun license holders commit violent crimes at approximately 1/5 the rate of the general population (http://is.gd/Smydoh). According to the Michigan State Police, Michigan concealed pistol license holders commit suicide at approximately 38% the rate of the general adult population (http://is.gd/NnjccG). More than 150 U.S. college campuses have, for an average of more than five years (more than 1,500 semesters), allowed licensed concealed carry in campus buildings, without a single report of a resulting assault, suicide attempt, or accidental death. The New York Times and the gun-control organizations they parrot may not want to admit it, but the unvarnished numbers show time and time again that licensed concealed carry is not a problem in the places where it’s allowed.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/28/2015

What The University Star Got Wrong

The Texas State University student newspaper The University Star is catching up to UT-Austin’s Daily Texan in the competition to be the Lone Star State’s least-competent student news publication. To see The Daily Star’s latest deeply flawed article, click here. Then come back and read this litany of corrections:

The first campus carry bills were filed in the 81st (2009) Texas Legislative Session, not the 82nd (2011), and they were filed by Senator Jeff Wentworth and Rep. Joe Driver, not by Rep. David Simpson, who wasn’t even in the Texas Legislature at that time.

Rep. Driver’s bill (HB 1893) was coauthored by 75 of the House’s 150 Representatives, including several Democrats.

Senator Wentworth’s bill (SB 1164) was coauthored by 14 of the Senate’s 31 Senators, including two prominent Democrats. It passed out of the Senate by a vote of 20 to 11 (four of the 20 were Democrats). However, due to a Democratic “chub” (aka filibuster) of a Republican-backed voter ID bill in the House, Senator Wentworth’s campus carry bill (along with hundreds of other bills that were still pending at the time of the filibuster) never reached the House floor.

In 2011, the primary campus carry bills were SB 354 by Senator Wentworth and HB 750 by Rep. Driver. As a freshman legislator, Rep. Simpson did file his own campus carry bill in 2011, but it was eclipsed by Rep. Driver’s bill, which Rep. Simpson ended up joining as a coauthor. SB 354 was coauthored by 15 of the Senate’s 31 Senators, and HB 750 was coauthored by 88 of the House’s 150 Representatives. Opponents in the Senate were able to use the Senate’s old two-thirds rule to block a floor vote on SB 354 (Sen. Wentworth had only 20 of the 21 votes he needed to reach the two-thirds threshold for a floor vote); however, Senator Wentworth offered the SB 354 language as an amendment to another bill, and that amendment was accepted by a vote of 20-10 (one of the 20 was Senator John Whitmire, a prominent Democrat and the longest-serving member of the Texas Senate). After passing out of the Senate, that bill was killed on a point of order in the House.

In 2013, the primary campus carry bills were SB 182 by Senator Brian Birdwell and HB 972 by Representative Allen Fletcher. SB 182 was coauthored by 14 of the Senate’s 31 Senators, and HB 972 was coauthored by 65 of the House’s 150 Representatives. HB 972 passed out of the House by a vote of 102 to 41; however, opponents in the Senate were again able to use the two-thirds rule to block a floor vote (as in 2011, the sponsor had only 20 of the 21 votes he needed to reach the two-thirds threshold for a floor vote).

During both the 2009 and 2011 Texas Legislative Sessions, campus carry was every bit as hot a topic on Texas college campuses and in the Texas Capitol as it was during the 2015 Texas Legislative Session. House and Senate committee hearings on the bills spilled over into overflow rooms, typically drawing 100-200 witnesses, and sometimes lasted late into the night. During both sessions, the consensus among both sides was that campus carry had a very real chance of passing. Both sides took the legislation very seriously; nobody saw it as a laughing matter.

Campus carry got a little less attention during the 2013 session; however, at the beginning of the 2015 session, pundits across the state noted that, due to Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan Patrick’s promise to do away with the Senate’s traditional two-thirds rule, campus carry had a better chance than ever of passing.

At no point during the 2015 Texas Legislative Session did any lawmaker file or publicly consider an amendment that would have allowed unlicensed persons to carry handguns on college campuses or that would have lowered the age limit from 21 to 18.

As for the article’s many claims about professors and university employees being legally prohibited from speaking out against pending legislation, the only thing Texas law says regarding lobbying by state employees is, “A state agency may not use appropriated money to attempt to influence the passage or defeat of a legislative measure.” To suggest that that one line of text prohibits a university employee from so much as using a university computer to research a proposed law is an absurd claim without sound legal basis.

Anyone who genuinely wants to understand why Students for Concealed Carry supports the legalization of licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses should visit WhyCampusCarry and spend some time researching SCC’s position.

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FOOTNOTES

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NOTE #1: This NBC Nightly News segment about SCC's Texas State University chapter aired nine months before the start of the 2009 Texas Legislative Session: https://youtu.be/In8vpNWmqDc

SIDE NOTE A: Here is an archive of SCC's response to the counterpoint Lori Haas, the mother of a surviving victim of the Virginia Tech massacre, offers at the end of the NBC news segment:

SIDE NOTE B: Here is a statement from a woman whose daughter did NOT survive the Virginia Tech massacre: http://youtu.be/fHHUUqhZ7U0

NOTE #2: This November 30, 2010, segment of Austin's Fox 7 News reports on Texas State University's student government voting to endorse campus carry legislation in the then-upcoming 2011 Texas Legislative Session:

NOTE #3: Any media inquiries should be directed to SCC Southwest Regional Director Antonia Okafor (antonia.okafor@concealedcampus.org) and/or the SCC board of directors (organizers@concealedcampus.org).

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/09/2015

CAMPUS CARRY OPPONENTS AREN'T AFRAID TO HAVE HEATED DEBATES OUTSIDE "GUN-FREE" ZONES

AUSTIN, TX - The same organization that claims campus carry will "put a chill on public debate" and "intimidate faculty from tackling controversial issues" will once again hold an anti-campus carry rally in an area of the University of Texas at Austin campus where the licensed concealed carry of handguns is already legal. This is the fourth such rally since April 28 to take place in an area of the UT-Austin campus where the possession of firearms is legal.

The rally, sponsored by the group Gun Free UT, is scheduled to take place at 12 PM Tuesday, November 10, in the west mall rally space on the UT-Austin campus. Because Texas law does not classify the publicly accessible outdoor areas of a college campus (e.g., UT-Austin's west mall rally space) as part of the "premises" of the college, and because this event is not sponsored by the university, nothing in the Texas Penal Code prohibits a concealed handgun license (CHL) holder from carrying a concealed handgun at the rally.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), asked, "If these faculty and students aren't afraid to directly challenge concealed handgun license holders at a rally where license holders can carry guns, why should we believe that students or faculty will be afraid to discuss controversial issues in a classroom where license holders can carry guns? For that matter, why should students or faculty be more concerned about speaking their minds in a classroom where a license holder might be carrying a gun legally than in a classroom where a criminal or lunatic might be carrying a gun illegally?"

After Texas Senate Bill 11 (the campus carry law) takes effect on August 1, 2016, the firearm restrictions in campus buildings will still be much more stringent than are the current firearm restrictions in UT-Austin's west mall rally space. Under the campus carry law, only trained, licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 or above) will be allowed to carry concealed handguns in campus buildings. Under the current law, any non-felon over the age of 18 may lawfully possess a long gun (rifle or shotgun) in the publicly accessible outdoor areas of campus. Okafor noted, "At this rally, an eighteen-year-old who has undergone no training, vetting, or licensing could legally have an AK-47 with a folding stock stuffed inside his backpack, yet members of Gun Free UT are more than willing to stand in front of the crowd and discuss one of the most controversial topics to affect college campuses in the past decade."

This isn't the only way in which the rhetoric of Gun Free UT conflicts with the reality of campus carry. The group also claims that campus carry will lead to an increase in student suicides, despite the fact that 90% of suicides occur in the victim's home while 95% of UT-Austin students over the age of 21 live off campus, the fact that CHL holders are already allowed to store handguns in their cars parked on campus, and the fact that more than 150 U.S. college campuses have allowed campus carry for an average of more than five years (a combined total of more than 1,500 semesters) without a single resulting suicide, suicide attempt, homicide, assault, sexual assault, or accidental death.

When it comes to polling data and scientific studies, Gun Free UT repeatedly ignores the preponderance of data, which conflict with their position, and cites outliers that support their position. They ignore two impartial University of Texas/Texas Tribune polls that found more Texans in favor of campus carry than opposed to it and, instead, cite a gun-control group's internal poll that claims the opposite. They ignore the vast majority of peer- reviewed studies (including a 2015 study from Texas A&M University) showing that licensed concealed carry cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime and, instead, cite one of the only studies to find the opposite.

Okafor concluded, "If anything reflects poorly on Texas universities, it's not the state's new campus carry law; it's the poor reasoning skills demonstrated by the academics who oppose it." ###

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/10/2015

ANTI-CAMPUS CARRY PROFESSORS TAKE A DECIDEDLY UNACADEMIC APPROACH TO ACITVISM

AUSTIN, TX - For a group ostensibly founded and run by professional researchers, Gun Free UT makes numerous claims that wouldn't pass peer review. While much of the organization's literature and talking points are just plain ridiculousfor example, a statement from the Warfield Center for African and African American studies, declaring, "[W]e demand that firearms be banned in all spaces occupied by Black people on our campus"others are factually and statistically indefensible.

There is no disputing the fact that Texas concealed handgun license (CHL) holders are convicted of violent crimes at approximately 1/5 the rate of the general population. However, Gun Free UT claims, “Conviction rates are unreliable, because CHL holders tend to escape prosecution.” The group's only source for this claim is a link to an article titled “Why Americans Don't Treat Fatal Gun Negligence as a Crime"—an article that neither explicitly nor

implicitly makes the claim in question. Instead, the article is about America’s reluctance to convict individuals responsible for fatal gun accidents. Nothing in the article suggests that America’s unwillingness to convict for negligent shooting deaths is more applicable to CHL holders than to the general population; therefore, Gun Free UT’s claim is completely without merit.

According to the CDC, there were 1,066 accidental shooting deaths (approximately 59 per year) in Texas between 1996 and 2013. If we use the percentage (0.6%) of criminally negligent homicide convictions involving CHL holders as an estimate of the percentage of fatal gun accidents for which CHL holders were responsible, we can estimate that CHL holders were responsible for six fatal shootings (one every three years) during that period. Given that only about 25% of fatal gun accidents occur outside the home, under non-hunting-related circumstances, we can roughly estimate that two of those fatal gun accidents (one every nine years) involved licensed concealed carry. By comparison, during the nine-year period from 2005 to 2013, lightning killed 19 people in Texas.

As mentioned in SCC's previous press release, Gun Free UT selectively cites outlier studies and polling data that support the group's position, while ignoring the vast majority of relevant studies and polling data, which contradict the group's position. As also mentioned in the previous press release, Gun Free UT makes the dubious claim that allowing CHL holdersindividuals who are already allowed to have guns at home and already allowed to have guns in their cars parked on campusto carry guns in campus buildings will lead to an increase in suicides, even though there hasn't been a single resulting suicide on any of the 150+ U.S. college campuses that currently allow concealed carry in campus buildings (and have done so for an average of more than five years).

There also hasn't been a single report of a firearm-related assault committed by a CHL holder on any of those 150+ campuses, yet Gun Free UT argues, "Allowing guns on campus will arm the perpetrators of sexual violence." The group points to a study by The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, when claiming, "[S]exual violence has increased on campuses where Concealed Carry has been implemented." Given that not one of those sexual assaults was committed by a CHL holder with a handgun, this is a completely specious argument. (Note that SCC has never claimed that campus carry lowers crime rates. SCC's literature plainly states, "[C]oncealed carry is about personal protection, not public protection.” With regard to crime rates, SCC simply notes, "Virtually every peer-

reviewed study on the subject

increase in either violent crime or gun deaths.”)

has

concluded that there is no evidence that licensed concealed carry leads to an

Unfortunately, this epidemic of absurd claims and baseless arguments now seems to have spread to other campuses in the University of Texas System. The department of political science at UT-Arlington reportedly passed a resolution declaring, "The Department requests that the university administration and the University of Texas System allow for faculty to take non-coercive measures to protect themselves and their students without penalty; measures such as holding office hours electronically or by telephone; declaring offices and classrooms as gun-free zones; or cancelling classes in the event of a need to be home with family members rather than bringing them-- particularly children--to campus."

It's bad enough that these professors think they deserve to be the only state employees in Texas with the authority to arbitrarily determine the concealed carry policy in their work space. The fact that they also think they need to take steps to keep their children away from licensed concealed carry on campus proves that they are truly out of touch. Are we to assume that these professors also keep their children away from most movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, and restaurants in Texas? Are we to assume that they keep their children away from all public parks, city and state museums, and municipal libraries in Texas?

The professors of Gun Free UT and their likeminded colleagues at UT-Arlington aren’t doing much to assure the parents of Texas college students that their sons and daughters are in capable hands. Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, summed up the situation, saying, "The professors protesting the Lone Star State's new campus carry law are simply playing into the stereotype of academics as 'out-of-touch ivory tower elites.'"

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/12/2015

GUN FREE UT'S CLAIMS ABOUT CHL HOLDERS AND MASS SHOOTINGS DON'T STAND UP TO SCRUTINY

AUSTIN, TX - The anti-campus carry professors behind Gun Free UT love to cite statistics suggesting that a concealed handgun license (CHL) holder is more likely to commit a mass shooting than to stop one; however, Gun Free UT's statisticswhich are never offered with any type of contextare at best misleading and at worst untrue.

Gun Free UT likes to claim that concealed handgun license holders have committed twenty-nine mass shootings since 2007; however, an examination of those twenty-nine incidents reveals twenty-six in which licensed concealed carry played no part whatsoever, two in which it is highly unlikely that licensed concealed carry played any part, and one in which licensed concealed carry very well may have played a part. The one incident in which licensed concealed carry may have played a part resulted in only three murders (the minimum to qualify as a "mass killing"), took place during a confrontation at the home of the perpetrator's ex-wife, and involved a perpetrator who should have been ineligible to own a gun, much less obtain a concealed handgun license, but still received a Pennsylvania license due to an error in the criminal database.

Gun Free UT points out that one CHL holder was paralyzed while attempting to intervene in a mass shooting; however, the group fails to include the context that this incident took place in a state with no training requirement for license applicants and that the license holder broke one of the first rules of licensed concealed carryhe inserted himself into a crime that did not already involve him. When he reached the gunman, he chose to issue a warning rather than open fire, which gave the gunman time to turn and shoot.

Gun Free UT notes that another CHL holder was killed while attempting to confront an active shooter; however, the group fails to include the context that this license holder was killed by the until-then unseen partner of the confronted gunman. This license holder was unfortunate enough to encounter one of the 1.25% of active-shooter incidents involving more than one gunman.

Gun Free UT claims that a CHL holder almost shot the wrong person during the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; however, this is untrue. The armed citizen who attempted to intervene during the shooting was not a license holderhe was carrying a handgun under the authority of Arizona's then-six-month-old "constitutional carry" (aka unlicensed carry) law. By his own admission, he had no formal training, which means he could not have been licensed under the previous law. Furthermore, it's worth pointing out that, although he did make the mistake of inserting himself into a crime that did not already involve him, he at least had the good sense not to draw his weapon.

Gun Free UT argues, "The FBI found only 1 of 160 active shooter incidents between 2000-2014 was stopped by a CHL holder, and he was a Marine; 21 incidents were stopped by UNARMED civilians"; however, this assumes that armed license holders were present at most of those incidents. A quick look at Texas Department of Public Safety statistics shows that the average rate of concealed handgun licensure among Texans from 2000 to 2013 (the FBI study referenced by Gun Free UT actually extended through 2013, not 2014) was 1.45%. That means that only one person out of every 69 was licensed to carry a concealed handgun, and we can assume that far fewer actually carried guns on a daily basis. Furthermore, many of the active shooter incidents listed occurred in locations where licensed concealed carry was prohibited. Of the 21 incidents stopped by unarmed civilians, 11 occurred in schools.

According to one gun-rights research group, there have been "only two mass public shootings since at least 1950 that have not been part of some other crime where at least four people have been killed in an area where civilians

are generally allowed to have guns." This source obviously isn't unbiased, and they admit to having looked only at

"public shootings

combined with the relatively low rate of licensure during the 2000-2013 period does give us reason to believe that maybejust maybeit's unreasonable to assume that CHL holders would have been directly involved (not just somewhere nearby) in a large number of active-shooter incidents. Isn't it at least somewhat telling that Gun Free UT can only report two incidents of license holders being injured or killed during active-shooter incidents?

where

the point of the attack is simply to kill as many people as possible," but this finding

To suggest that more mass shootings/active-shooter incidents should have been stopped by CHL holders is to suggest that license holders should have been acting as de facto security guards for everyone around them. However, as already mentioned, license holders are taught to move away from danger and to avoid inserting themselves into any crime that doesn't already involve them. Licensed concealed carry is about personal protection, not public protection. At the first sound of gunshots, a well-trained, self-aware CHL holder is going to look for cover and then look for an exit before even thinking about trying to engage an unknown assailant.

Gregg Easterbrook famously said, "Torture numbers, and they'll confess to anything." It's true that both sides of this debate have a sizable pool of statistics to pull from. But the statistics cited by Gun Free UT are largely red herrings and rebuttals to straw man arguments.

They claim, "In Colorado and Utah, states with classroom carry, for example, the presence of guns in dorms has led to increases in campus rape reports," despite the fact that the study cited as a source for that claim clearly states that its results "certainly do not prove that concealed carry causes more crime" and despite the fact that neither Colorado nor Utah has seen a single report of an on-campus sexual assault committed by a license holder with a handgun.

They claim, "The NRA has blocked the study of crime rates by CHL holders and other gun-violence related claims," even though the source they cite refers only to federal funding for the CDC (there is no mention of CHL holders) and doesn't address the fact that Texas still maintains data on convictions of CHL holders and that universities still manage to get funding for gun-violence research.

They claim, "Concealed carry permits do not decrease crime," but a decrease in crime was never one of the talking points behind Texas Senate Bill 11 (campus carry). Remember, campus carry is about personal protection, not campus protection. We're not trying to supplement campus police; we're just trying to ensure that trained, licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) enjoy the same rights on campus as virtually everywhere else.

Students for Concealed Carry isn't perfect. We've caught ourselves using misleading or downright false statistics in the past. But when we did, we stopped using those statistics. We didn't build an entire campaign around them.

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By Antonia Okafor - Special to the Austin American-Statesman

Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015

American-Statesman Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015 In a desperate final bid to halt the

In a desperate final bid to halt the implementation of Texas’ new campus carry law, the University of Texas professors behind Gun Free UT are feverishly trying to bury the issue beneath a mountain of racially divisive rhetoric.

On Oct. 29, Gun Free UT released a statement from UT-Austin’s Department of African Diaspora Studies, arguing, “African Americans are disproportionately affected by the saturation of our society by firearms,” and concluding, “[We] demand that firearms be banned in all spaces occupied by Black people on our campus.”

On Nov. 10, Gun Free UT issued a mission statement/legal strategy declaring: “America has all along been about the sheer display of white male power (with guns): over Indians, over slaves, over females, over Mexicans, over Asians, over African Americans, and over Arabs, now [sic] The return of the vigilante movement is a giant, collective white push back against the Civil Rights Movement and against the unintended consequences of globalization, migration, and demography…This is a battle over our individual right to determine the nature of the community of trust within our classroom, well established by constitutional law. This right has now been challenged, assaulted by a toxic ideology of white racism and libertarianism.”

As a black woman and a graduate student at UT-Dallas, I have no interest in displaying white male power to slaves, women, African-Americans, or anyone else, and I’m certainly not interested in pushing back against the Civil Rights Movement or promoting an ideology of white racism. I am, however, interested in being able to defend myself should the need arise.

From my perspective, the statement from the African studies faculty is a great argument for campus carry. Criminals who might target me because of my race or my gender just like the criminals who might target someone because of the person’s religion or sexual orientation — have no qualms about breaking an honor-system-based gun ban. Campus carry isn’t about arming dangerous bigots; it’s about ensuring that I’m able to defend myself if confronted by one.

Starting next summer, my little brother will be a chemical engineering trainee with NASA. He also happens to be a 6 feet 2 inches and a muscular young man with shoulder-length dreadlocks. I would be naïve to say that he has never and will never be profiled, but I understand that society shouldn’t try to protect him by oppressing others. We don’t fix the ignorance of a few by denying rights to everyone. The answer is to respect the rights of law-abiding students of all races, creeds and nationalities, while simultaneously working to cure the causes, not the symptoms, of systemic racism.

When my brother was at the University of Houston, he often sent me frantic, late-night text messages describing the sound of gunshots nearby. Those texts didn’t make my mother and I wish the university had stricter gun bans in place; they made us wish there was something more my brother could do to protect himself.

I don’t think it’s a racist or radically libertarian idea to suggest that the buildings at a state college should operate under the same laws as the buildings at any other state institution. License concealed carry poses no more threat to college classrooms than to municipal libraries, public parks, city and state museums, or the Texas Capitol all of which are required by law to allow it. Students and faculty of all races will be in no more danger in classrooms that allow concealed carry than in movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, grocery stores, banks, or restaurants that like most private businesses allow concealed carry.

I’m not concerned about the racial ideology of someone who has gone through the training, testing, and extensive state and federal background checks to obtain a concealed handgun license. I’m worried about the racial ideology of the criminals and lunatics willing to ignore the state laws and school policies that currently render me defenseless.

Antonia Okafor is a graduate student at UT-Dallas and serves as the Southwest director for Students for Concealed Carry.

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The situation may be scary, but it will not be dangerous By Allison Peregory Special to

By Allison Peregory

Special to the Houston Chronicle

November 21, 2015 Updated: November 21, 2015 8:58pm

As an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin, I understand why many students are concerned by the state's new law legalizing the licensed concealed carry of handguns in college buildings. Most of my fellow students aren't old enough to buy a handgun, much less carry one. When they hear that some of their peers will soon be allowed to carry guns on campus, once the law takes effect next August, they foresee a never-ending cavalcade of assaults, accidents, suicides and threats. However, based on all available evidence, those predictions are wrong.

Currently, more than 150 U.S. college campuses allow "campus carry," as it has come to be known. After allowing campus carry for a combined total of more than 1,500 semesters (an average of more than five years), not one of those colleges has seen a single resulting assault, suicide attempt or fatal accident. There isn't a single report of campus carry leading to even a weapon being brandished in anger, much less a death.

Misconceptions about campus carry abound. Although the bill passed by the Texas Legislature doesn't change who can carry a gun and doesn't change the laws at fraternity houses, bars, tailgating events, off-campus parties, or anywhere else students are likely to consume alcohol, the notion that "campus carry" means giving guns to the immature and the inebriated is ubiquitous in speeches and editorials opposing it. Although the new law has no bearing on a student's ability to own a gun, opponents predict an increase in student suicides, completely ignoring the fact that 90 percent of suicides occur in the victim's home (at UT-Austin, 95 percent of students over the age of 21 live off campus) and the fact that a concealed handgun license (CHL) holder can already store a handgun in a car parked on campus.

For nearly 20 years, Texas law has allowed licensed adults age 21 and above to carry concealed handguns in locations such as movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, restaurants, grocery stores, banks, state offices, public museums, municipal libraries and even the Texas Capitol. Concealed carry is already legal in the parking garages and public outdoor areas of college campuses, and Texas colleges have been required since 2013 to let licensed students, faculty and staff keep handguns in locked automobiles. Almost two decades after allowing

licensed concealed carry into virtually every nook and cranny of society, Texas still hasn't devolved into a bloody, lawless wasteland.

Most of my fellow Longhorns probably never think about concealed carry when they're shopping or dining on "The Drag," a row of retail stores and restaurants near campus. Students have no reason to think about it because the people legally carrying guns there pose virtually no threat to public safety. Statistically, Texas CHL holders commit violent crimes at approximately one-fifth the rate of the general population.

A Texan is significantly more likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered or negligently killed by a CHL holder.

Nobody can deny that gun violence is a major problem in America; however, there is a big difference between owning a gun and having a concealed handgun license. If all Americans committed murder at the same rate as Texas CHL holders, the U.S. would have a murder rate comparable to the famously low rates in England, Australia and Canada.

Anyone who believes that gun owners need to compromise should embrace Texas' CHL program as the ultimate compromise. In exchange for undergoing a licensing process that includes training, testing and extensive state (Texas Department of Public Safety) and federal (FBI) background and fingerprint checks, CHL holders are afforded the right to carry guns in public. That is a true compromise - the kind in which both sides give a little and both sides get a little.

Students who disagree with the new law have every right to protest it, and state colleges should make no attempt to silence those protests, no matter how unseemly. However, any postsecondary student should be able to look at these facts and see the high probability that, as is currently the case in Utah, Colorado, Mississippi and Idaho, campus carry will be a total nonissue in the Lone Star State.

Peregory, a pre-law junior, serves as the UT-Austin campus leader for Students for Concealed Carry.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/22/2015

BEFORE SAYING ANOTHER WORD ABOUT CAMPUS CARRY, OPPONENTS NEED TO READ TEXAS' GUN LAWS

AUSTIN, TX - In an op-ed published in the Sunday, November 22 edition of the Houston Chronicle, UT-Austin senior Mac McCann argues, "Because of reciprocity agreements with 39 states, CHL holders from other states (like Alabama, where 18-year-olds can get a license) could carry in UT buildings as well"; however, had Mr. McCann bothered to read Texas' reciprocity agreement with Alabama, he would have seen that it very clearly states that Alabama license holders must "comply with all laws, rules, and regulations of the State of Texas governing concealed carry, including age restrictions [emphasis added]."

In his opening line, Mr. McCann states, "Texas Senate Bill 11 will provide zero benefits, undermine the UT community's right to self-govern, and will create (and already has created) a climate of fear." Students for Concealed Carry obviously disagrees that allowing trained, licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) the same measure of personal protection in college buildings that they already enjoy virtually everywhere else equates to "zero benefit," and we contend that any "climate of fear" on the UT-Austin campus was brought there by the fear mongers who insist on portraying campus carry as something more than an extension of a law already in place throughout the rest of Texas.

As for the suggestion that the University of Texas at Austin has a right to self-govern, the Texas Legislature has, for at least three decades, made it abundantly clear that any right to self-govern (aka the right of “local control”) does not extend to governance of firearms. The state’s thirty-year-old firearm-ordinance preemption law was passed by a Democratic legislature and has been repeatedly (2007, 2011, 2013, 2013, 2015) strengthened by Republican legislatures. Since 2003, Section 30.06(e) of the Texas Penal Code has invalidated any concealed-carry-prohibited sign posted by a governmental entity to a location where concealed carry is not statutorily prohibited under Section 46.03 or 46.035 of the Penal Code. The Texas Legislaturefirst under Democratic control and then under Republican controlhas consistently voted against local control of firearms; therefore, to suggest that colleges and universities have a right to "self-govern" guns is to suggest that they are entitled to a measure of control not afforded to counties, municipalities, or any other state institution.

Mr. McCann goes on to make numerous other dubious arguments, such as pointing out that there are few violent crimes on college campuses (rebutted here), claiming (without any factual basis) that "multiple [Umpqua Community College] students on campus that day did actually have concealed handguns on them at the time of the shooting" (rebutted here), arguing that campus carry will require Texas universities to expend tens of millions of dollars (rebutted here, here, and here), claiming that CHL holders are likely to get shot by police during an active-shooter situation (rebutted here and here), suggesting that it's unfair to give more control to private universities than to public universities (rebutted here), arguing that campus carry will "[limit] dialogue within classrooms" (rebutted here), and claiming that campus carry has already caused one UT professor to resign (rebutted here).

Mac McCann, like most of UT-Austin's anti-campus carry activists, speaks from a position grounded not in reality but in a perceived reality. Like Gun Free UT, he's so convinced of the inherent rightness of his position that he can't be bothered with facts or logic. The campus carry opponents at the University of Texas aren't "armed with reason"; they're armed with fear, prejudice, and conventional wisdom masquerading as reason.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/02/2015

IN THE MEDIA, OPPONENTS OF CAMPUS CARRY SEEK LOW-HANGING FRUIT

AUSTIN, TX - When opponents of campus carry start a sentence with "Supporters of campus carry claim," what they typically mean is, "Someone peripherally related to the issue said something easily dismissed as inaccurate, irrational, or offensive."

In the December 2 edition of the Houston Chronicle, columnist Lisa Falkenberg criticizes the rhetoric of campus carry supporters, writing, "C.J. Grisham, a prominent open carry activist-cum state Senate candidate, accused the private schools [that have opted out of campus carry] of jumping on a 'bandwagon of ignorance.' He added in an interview with the Chronicle's Benjamin Wermund: 'If they want their students to be victims, they have every right to let their students be victims.'"

If Falkenberg was looking for a quote to illustrate the position of campus carry activists, why did she choose one from the former president of an open carry organization rather than one from the college-based, campus-carry- specific organization responsible for virtually every pro-campus carry op-ed and press release penned during the now eight-and-a-half-year-long battle over licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses? C.J. Grisham isn't an elected official or the nominee of a political party; he's a primary candidate associated with a tangentially related gun-rights issue. So why was his quote chosen to represent the pro-campus carry side of the debate? It was chosen because it fits Lisa Falkenberg’s predetermined narrative.

Although the thesis of Falkenberg's opinion piece is that students' measured discourse over campus carry should be an example for politicians, the statement from Grisham is the only time her 1,066-word column quotes anyone on the pro-campus carry side of the debate. Instead, she quickly abandons the pretense that her column is about student discourse and, instead, dedicates the bulk of her word count to making a case against campus carry.

After touting the bona fides of Rice University's Undergraduate Student Association's president (her parents were in the military, and she grew up in a home with guns, so we're expected to accept that she "understands

arguments on both sides of the issue"), Falkenberg juxtaposes tired gun-rights platitudes ("the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun") and comically weak criticisms of campus gun bans

("opposition to guns on campus [is] based on arguments supporting such bans.

a

bias against rural Texans"), against a handful of fact-based

Not trusting readers to catch the message underlying this intentionally lopsided comparison, Falkenberg explicitly states, "Gun data is extremely complex, but most of it seems to support Rice's decision to opt out.” Falkenberg then proceeds to ignore the most relevant data (i.e., Texas Department of Public Safety statistics on convictions of concealed handgun license holders for violent crimes, the fact that Texas CHL holders are already allowed to carry concealed handguns in locations that differ very little from college campuses, the dearth of CHL-related crimes on the 150+ U.S. college campuses that currently allow licensed concealed carry in campus buildings, and the fact that licensed concealed carry is already allowed in the parking garages and publicly accessible outdoor areas of Texas college campuses) and, instead, focuses on three studies, one of which offers no evidence that licensed concealed carry poses a danger to the public and one of which she grossly misinterprets.

Falkenberg writes, "One [study], published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2012, showed concealed handgun license holders are largely law-abiding, but 'when they do break bad, they've got a gun.' Their convictions are for offenses more likely to be violent, to involve firearms and to result in death."

Interestingly, the study in question concurred with SCC's claim that license holders are significantly less likely than nonlicensees to commit violent crimes; however, because the study found that license holders are much, much less likely to commit the more-common crimes of assault, robbery, or burglary but only much less likely to commit

a sexual offense, a weapons offense, a crime involving the intentional killing of another person, or the crime of

"deadly conduct," the researchers concluded that the difference must be the result of easy access to guns. That conclusion has two glaring flaws.

The first flaw is that the Texas Department of Public Safety crime data on which the study relied does not list the type of weapon used or, in many cases, whether a weapon was used at all; does not indicate the location where the crime occurred; and does not offer any indication as to whether licensed concealed carry was a factor. If a researcher wishes to consider only crimes in which easy access to a handgun carried under the authority of a concealed handgun license was a factor, the researcher must exclude crimes that did not involve a handgun; premeditated crimes for which a CHL could have offered no legal or strategic advantage and, therefore, could not have been an enabling factor; crimes that took place in the perpetrator's home, where a license was not needed to possess a handgun; crimes in which the perpetrator retrieved a handgun from his or her private motor vehicle, where the perpetrator did not need a license to possess a handgun; and crimes committed in a statutory "gun- free" zone, where licensed concealed carry was not permitted. Such exclusions were not possible using the data utilized for this study.

The second flaw is that there is a better explanation for why this subset of crimes constitutes a higher percentage of convictions among CHL holders than among the general population: Someone with a clean criminal record and

a desire to abide by the law (i.e., someone willing to undergo training, testing, and extensive background checks

to comply with an honor-system based concealed-carry law) is highly unlikely to suddenly turn to the type of criminal activity (e.g., burglary, robbery, or simple assault) indicative of a lifelong criminal. The key factor isn’t that having a concealed handgun license makes CHL holders more likely to commit a sexual offense, a weapons

offense, an intentional killing, or “deadly conduct” (note that, although these crimes constituted a higher percentage of the overall convictions among CHL holders, CHL holders were convicted of such crimes at much lower rates than were nonlicensees); the key factor is that being a generally law-abiding citizen makes CHL holders much less likely to commit the type of crime that reflects a casual disregard for the law.

The study notes, "CHL holders’ convictions were much more likely than nonholders' convictions to be for a sexual offense (ratio = 2.25)," but concedes, "Demography likely lies at the root of this difference. Many of these convictions among CHL holders involved sexual offenses against children, crimes that are almost solely the province of adult men, often those middle-aged or older." Following this concession, the study focuses on the three remaining categories of crimeweapons offenses, intentional killings, and "deadly conduct." As previously stated, the researchers had no way of knowing how many of each type of crime actually involved licensed concealed carry, and each of these three categories presents its own unique considerations.

Although the study claims, "Deadly conduct demands possession of a firearm," the Texas Penal Code actually states, "A person commits [deadly conduct] if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury" (there is no requirement that the crime involve a firearm). The penal code does go on to state, "Recklessness and danger are presumed if the actor knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded," and the penal code does elevate deadly conduct from a Class A misdemeanor to a third-degree felony if it involves knowingly firing a gun in the direction of a person, habitation, building, or vehicle; however, the crime of deadly conduct does not "demand" possession of a firearm.

Furthermore, under the Texas Penal Code, threatening or assaulting someone with a firearm constitutes aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony that CHL holders commit at less than 16% the rate of the general population. Therefore, it's unlikely that many if any of the recorded convictions for misdemeanor deadly conduct involved a CHL holder snapping and pointing a handgun at someone, and it's unlikely that many if any of the convictions for third-degree felony deadly conduct involved a CHL holder snapping and firing a gun at someone. What is likely, given that deadly conduct involves reckless acts, not deliberately harmful acts, is that many of the convictions of CHL holders (who tend to be gun enthusiasts) for deadly conduct involved unsafe behavior while hunting or target shooting (e.g., discharging a firearm in the direction of a neighbor's house).

During the period of this study (2001-2009), Texas CHL holders were convicted of any form of murder (aka intentional killing) at less than 33% the rate of the general population. That is consistent with the overall rate at which CHL holders are convicted of any form of murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide. As explained earlier, the fact that murder accounts for a higher percentage of total criminal convictions of CHL holders is likely attributable to the fact that someone with a clean history and a desire to follow the law is unlikely to have motive to commit a crime like burglary, robbery, or simple assault (crimes indicative of a lifelong or career criminal) but might, under extreme circumstances, have motive to commit murder. With that in mind, it's important to remember that CHL holders still commit murder at only 1/3 the rate of the general population. Statistically, you'd be much safer locked in a room filled with randomly selected CHL holders than in a room filled with people (including children) chosen at random from the general population. To look at the risk another way, consider that a Texan is significantly more likely to be struck by lightning (odds: 1/1,190,000) than to be murdered or negligently killed by a CHL holder (odds: 1/9,759,726).

The study in question accurately points out that weapons offenses often involve carrying a concealed handgun into a location where doing so is illegal. This is a nonviolent crime that contributes little to the debate over whether licensed concealed carry presents a clear and present danger to public safety. More significantly, individuals willing to disregard laws dictating where they're allowed to carry concealed handguns are unlikely to be deterred by a state law or school policy prohibiting guns on college campuses (or anywhere else not equipped

with screening measures such as metal detectors). Therefore, there is no practical way for such convictions to inform the debate over campus carry.

Falkenberg goes on to point out, "Earlier this year, another study by the A&M researcher [who conducted the aforementioned study], published in the Journal of Criminology, found that more CHLs do not reduce crime, nor do they increase crime." Like most journalists and editorialists who mention this study, Falkenberg skims over the part about licensed concealed carry not increasing crime. This study, like the preponderance of peer-reviewed studies on the subject, concluded that licensed concealed carry cannot be shown to lead to an increase in crime, yet Falkenberglike so many opponents of campus carrysomehow believes that it bolsters her case.

Falkenberg then misstates the findings of a study by the gun-control conglomerate Everytown for Gun Safety. Citing the study, Falkenberg claims, "No more than 13 percent of the 133 mass shootings in public spaces over the past nearly seven years took place in so-called gun-free zones." However, the study actually found that only 37 of the 133 recorded mass shootings took place in public spaces (the rest took place entirely in private residences) and that 17 (46%) of those mass shootings "took place entirely in public spaces that were so-called 'gun-free zones.'"

Not only does Falkenberg misstate the findings of this study (which was conducted by an activist group and was not peer reviewed); she misinterprets the nature of the study itself. She cites the study in response to "the claim that Rice and other gun-free campuses are sitting ducks for a deranged gunman," yet the study she cites isn't about incidents involving deranged gunmen (aka active-shooter incidents); it's about incidents (including domestic disputes, botched robberies, drug deals gone wrong, etc.) in which three or more people were shot and killed. Of the 37 mass shootings that, according to Everytown, occurred in whole or in part in public places, only four were active-shooter incidents occurring in locations where CHL holders are generally allowed to carry concealed handguns, in states with shall-issue licensing laws. In one of those four incidents, the public portion of the shooting involved the gunman shooting from his car, and with regard to another of the four, there is conflicting information as to whether concealed carry was actually allowed at the location where the shooting occurred.

It is unclear whether active shooters hoping to rack up high body counts actually seek out "gun-free" zones, but it is disingenuous to point to the aforementioned Everytown study as evidence that such shootings typically occur in locations where CHL holders are allowed to carry concealed handguns.

Whether regurgitating tired red herrings about binge drinking and the maturity of college students or suggesting that an individual's ability to defend himself or herself should be decided by the same type of uninformed popular vote used to pick the winner of American Idol, Falkenberg brings nothing new to this debate. Her column isn't about praising the intellectual discourse demonstrated by the "Lone Star leaders of tomorrow"; it's about reiterating the same unsubstantiated, anti-campus carry talking points we have all heard a thousand times before.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/08/2015

DOUBLE STANDARD FOR PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLEGES EXTENDS FAR BEYOND CAMPUS CARRY

AUSTIN, TX - Allowing only private colleges to opt out of Texas’ new campus carry law may be a double standard, but it's the same double standard that always exists between the custodians of public property and the owners of private property.

During the December 6 episode of Inside Texas Politics on WFAA—ABC’s Dallas-Fort Worth affiliateFort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy commented, "Let's talk about why private campuses opt out [of campus carry]. I mean, [Senator] Brian Birdwell carried the bill. The biggest employer in his district is Baylor University, so I

think we know why private universities [can opt out]."

That statement ignores the fact that the language allowing private colleges to opt out originated in campus carry legislation authored by former Texas Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio), whose district encompassed the state's fifth-largest public university but no large private universities.

Long before Senator Birdwell or even the NRA got involved with the issue of campus carry, Students for Concealed Carry publicly endorsed the idea that private colleges, like all private property owners, should be allowed to regulate what is and isn't allowed under their roof(s). The ability of private colleges to operate free of many of the restrictions placed on public colleges is fundamental to the existence of private colleges. When you consider that private colleges have wide latitude to require church attendance, enforce morality codes, and place restrictions on students' freedom of speech, it makes sense that those same institutions would be allowed to restrict the rights of concealed handgun license holders on campus. There is nothing unethical or unusual about allowing private property owners to set their own policies but requiring state-funded colleges to honor state-issued licenses.

SCC has long suspected that most if not all private colleges would initially opt out of any campus carry law passed by the Texas Legislature. If private colleges were willing to allow campus carry, at least a few surely would have exercised their authority, under the previous law, to create written policies allowing campus carry. SCC's hope is that once the administrators of private colleges see campus carry safely and successfully implemented on public college campuses, they'll reconsider the wisdom of denying trained, carefully screened adults the same measure of personal protection those licensed holders are already allowed virtually everywhere else.

During the same roundtable discussion in which Bud Kennedy made the aforementioned statement, Ross Ramseyexecutive editor and co-founder of the Texas Tribunestated, "I think [mass shootings like we saw in San Bernardino and Colorado Springs] make the decisions [private colleges] have already made [to opt out] more defensible."

Ramsey insinuates, without any factual basis, that allowing licensed concealed carry places a location at greater risk of an active-shooter massacre. Such an insinuation ignores the fact that Texas concealed handgun license holders commit violent crimes at approximately 1/5 the rate of the general population, that the vast majority of studies on licensed concealed carry have concluded that it cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime, that almost all public active-shooter massacres are premeditated, carefully planned attacks (not the spontaneous act of someone who happens to be carrying a gun at that time), and that most public active-shooter massacres occur in locations where licensed concealed carry is not an option generally available to law-abiding citizens.

When commenting on Texas’ new campus carry law, too many editorialists/columnist are content to rely on preconceived notions and decades-old prejudices rather than in-depth analysis of the facts. However, the facts are readily available for anyone who cares to look.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/09/2015

STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY DENOUNCES MOCK MASS SHOOTING PLANNED FOR UT-AUSTIN CAMPUS

AUSTIN, TX - Often, the hardest thing about fighting for licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses is undoing the damage done by the small subset of gun rights activists who believe that theatricality and intimidation are adequate stand-ins for rational discourse and fact-based arguments. Case in point: the open carry

activists who plan to stage an open carry march and mock mass shooting on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "I'm astounded that eighteen months after most of the state's open carry groups figured out that carrying rifles and shotguns into restaurants and grocery stores isn't a solid public-relations strategy, one such group apparently thinks that introducing openly carried long guns, fake blood, and the sound of gunshots into a university community that is highly uncertain about the new campus carry law and understandably concerned about recent high-profile mass shootings is a smart idea."

When SCC held its first empty holster protest in 2007, the organization instructed participants to provide advance notice to campus security and school administrators (using a provided form letter) and gave participants a list of six steps they could take (e.g., never placing anything inside a protest holster) to avoid even the slightest chance of alarming someone or causing confusion over the intent of the protest. The groups Come and Take It and DontComply.com, on the other hand, seem to be going out of their way to invite fear and confusion with their planned protest.

Retired SCC Director of Public Relations Wes Lewis, who served on SCC's original board of directors and helped plan the first empty holster protest, remarked, "Some of these so-called gun rights groups seem to be little more than anarchists cloaking their antics in the legitimacy of the Second Amendment. Whoever and whatever they are, they need a remedial course in how to win friends and influence people."

Responding to the suggestion that this type of public protest is why open carry legislation finally passed in 2015, Lewis added, "Anyone who credits these in-your-face protests with the passage of open carry legislation is choosing to ignore the two 800-pound gorillas in the roomthis past [legislative] session was the first time the NRA made open carry a priority and the first time gun rights advocates in the Texas Legislature weren't hamstrung by the Senate's old two-thirds rule."

Asked what, if anything, this type of protest has accomplished, Lewis replied, "If anything, I'd say these antics are responsible for making gun rights a much more partisan issue in the Texas Capitol. When [SCC] lobbied for campus carry in 2009, we enjoyed the support of several high-profile Democrats. Now, thanks in part to the public backlash caused by certain open carry groups, most Democrats wouldn't touch a gun rights bill with a ten-foot pole."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/11/2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of UT-Austin's Campus Carry Recommendations

AUSTIN, TX - The final report of the campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin will go down in history as simultaneously featuring some of the finest research on the subject of licensed concealed carry on college campuses and offering two of the most poorly conceived recommendations concerning the same. Although the report's factual research demonstrates the wisdom of placing professional academics in charge of researching an important sociopolitical issue, the report's recommendations demonstrate the impracticality of tasking those same academics with formulating policies regarding the appropriate utilization of firearms for self- defense.

The working group recommends that "[the] occupant of an office to which he or she has been solely assigned and that is not generally open to the public should be permitted, at the occupant’s discretion, to prohibit the concealed carry of a handgun in that office" and that "if the occupant’s duties ordinarily entail meeting people

who may be license holders, the occupant must make reasonable arrangements to meet them in another location at a convenient time." This recommendation, which is clearly tailored to suit the needs of professors meeting with students during posted office hours, creates two distinct problems. The first and least of these problems is that it places any student with a concealed handgun license ("conceal" is defined, in part, as "to keep secret; to prevent or avoid disclosing or divulging") in the uncomfortable position of potentially having to inform a professora professor who, by declaring his or her office "gun-free," has publicly announced his or her opposition to campus carrythat the student regularly carries a gun to class. The second and much more serious problem is that it renders many faculty, staff, and students unable to carry a concealed handgun on campus at all (potentially conflicting with both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill 11, which states that a university's campus carry policy may not "have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus of the institution").

Half of the individuals (and likely a majority of the CHL holders) on the UT-Austin campus are faculty, staff, graduate research assistants, or graduate teaching assistants. The duties of a faculty member, staff member, research assistant, or teaching assistant may require entering one or more private offices multiple times each day. Given that the working group's recommended polices would also dictate that "[license] holders who carry a handgun on campus must carry it on or about their person at all times or secure their handgun in a locked, privately-owned or leased motor vehicle," any faculty member, staff member, research assistant, or teaching assistant required to enter a "gun-free" office in the course of his or her duties would be unable to carry a concealed handgun on campus. Because many in the UT-Austin community rely on the university's bus route to get to campus and because even those who drive to campus are often required to park a mile or more away and catch a bus to the office, few license holders working on campus would have the option of running to their cars to drop off their handguns between meetings.

Are these licensed faculty, staff, researchers, and teaching assistants expected to inform the occupant of a "gun- free" officean occupant who, based on the fact that he or she has a private office, is very possibly the license holder's superiorthat standard operating procedures must be changed so that the license holder never has to enter the office? Or are these license holders expected to forgo their newly legislated right to have their preferred measure of self-defense on campus?

The working group also makes a couple of recommendations about how concealed handguns should be carried on campus. The first recommendation is that "[handguns] including those carried in backpacks and handbags must be carried in a holster that completely covers the trigger and the entire trigger guard area. The holster must have sufficient tension or grip on the handgun to retain it in the holster even when subjected to unexpected jostling." This recommendation aligns with the generally accepted best practices for concealed carry; therefore, no rational person can argue that such a policy is not "reasonable," per the statutory requirement of Senate Bill 11. However, the working group also recommends that "[semiautomatic] handguns must be carried without a chambered round of ammunition." This recommendation contradicts the generally accepted best practice for concealed (or open) carry. More specifically, it contradicts the method of carry taught by every shooting school, police academy, and military branch in the U.S. There is no way that this policy can be considered "reasonable" under any common definition of that term.

The reason all U.S. firearms instructors teach that semiautomatic handguns should be carried with a loaded chamber is that the number one factor in determining the outcome of a defensive shooting is the defensive shooter's ability to quickly and efficiently present his or her weapon to the target. In the context of daily carry (as opposed to a SWAT team breaking down the door of a meth lab, with their guns at the ready), this means presentation from the holster.

A review of training manuals or YouTube videos (search “presentation from the holster”) reveals slight variations in presentation technique (draw stroke) but few, if any, techniques in which the shooter draws the weapon and then chambers a round. It’s generally accepted that—in the context of self-defense shootings, which typically

happen at close range—one’s ability to quickly and cleanly present from the holster is more important than even one’s aim. Being forced to draw one’s weapon and then load the first round (a procedure that typically takes both hands) is a serious impediment to being able to quickly and cleanly present to the target. Chambering a round in the heat of battle also denies the defensive shooter an opportunity to perform a chamber checka safety check typically performed when loading a firearm. At close contact (any distance close enough for an assailant to grab the defender's gun), having an empty chamber can essentially render the defender's handgun useless.

In the context of campus carry, being forced to draw one’s weapon and then chamber a round (load the chamber) forces anyone who has received any level of U.S. firearms training to completely retrain himself or herself. That means that even those CHL holders with law enforcement or military trainingthe people college administrators should feel most comfortable having armed on campuswill be forced to completely relearn how to perform the most critical action involved in using a handgun defensively. Texas universities should enact policies designed to help license holders perform to the peak of their abilities, not policies that turn even the most experienced shooters into neophytes.

Because most license holders would not want to carry with an empty chamber all of the time, this policy would force them to try to master (and regularly practice) two different techniquesone for on-campus carry and one for off-campus carry. Furthermore, using one technique on campus and another off campus would result in many license holders choosing to transition their weapons while in their cars parked on campusunloading the chamber after arriving on campus and reloading it before leaving campus. From a safety standpoint, encouraging license holders to unholster and manipulate their firearms is the surest way to guarantee an eventual

accidental/negligent discharge. And given that Texas law already dictates that colleges (both public and private)

"may not adopt or enforce any rule, regulation, or other provision or take any other action

restrictions [emphasis added] on the storage or transportation of a firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned or leased motor vehicle by a person, including a student enrolled at that institution, who holds a license to carry a concealed handgun," it’s doubtful that anything in UT-Austin's campus carry policy can prohibit a license holder from chambering or unchambering rounds in his or her parked car.

prohibiting or placing

From the standpoint of both the legislative intent of Texas Senate Bill 11 and the generally accepted best practices for defensive firearm use, these two recommendations of UT-Austin's campus carry policy working group fail to pass muster. They are not only bad; they are discriminatory (against those who work on campus) and dangerous (for any license holder who might actually need to utilize his or her handgun in self-defense and for anyone parked near or walking past a license holder’s car). If UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves wishes to act responsibly, he will reject these two recommendations. If he does not, the policies will almost certainly face legal challengeschallenges likely to succeed and likely to cost the university significant time and money.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/14/2015

Further Analysis of UT-Austin's Campus Carry Recommendations

AUSTIN, TX - This past Friday, Students for Concealed Carry released a lengthy statement (http://is.gd/TA7hPR) explaining why two of the rules proposed by the campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin are ill-conceived and contrary to both the letter and intent of the state's new campus carry law (Texas Senate Bill 11). However, even at 1,500 words, that release wasn't long enough to describe every problem inherent in those two proposals.

As detailed in SCC's previous release, the working group's proposal that university employees be allowed to designate their offices as criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones would ensure that any concealed handgun license holder required to visit a "gun-free" office as part of his or her daily duties as a university employee,

research assistant, or teaching assistant would be unable to lawfully carry a concealed handgun on campus. This proposal is all the more egregious in that it would bestow upon academics a right not enjoyed by any other state employeethe right to arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry on state property. UT's campus carry working group, which comprises mostly university employees, has decided that university employees are deserving of a right not granted to state agency employees, county employees, municipal employees, state legislators, or any member of the state's executive branch, including the governor and lieutenant governor.

As explained in SCC's earlier statement, the working group's proposal that any license holder carrying a semiautomatic handgun be required to carry the gun without a round in the chamber conflicts with the generally accepted best practices taught by every firearms school, police academy, and military branch in the nation. This proposal is ostensibly intended to prevent the accidental/negligent discharge of a license holder's firearm; however, not one of the U.S. college campuses that currently allow licensed concealed carry has seen an accidental/negligent discharge of a holstered firearm. In fact, such incidents are virtually unheard of anywhere.

The working group's report cites four on-campus accidental/negligent discharges, none of which involved a holstered firearm and none of which resulted in life-threatening injuries. Two of the incidents involved individuals (one a cadet at a police academy and one a staff member at a dental school) showing their weapons to classmates or coworkers. The other two involved license holders (one professor and one student) each carrying a handgun in a pants pocket, without a holster (a practice widely acknowledged by experts to be unsafe because a foreign object or finger can inadvertently engage the trigger).

The cause of the first two incidents is addressed by the state's new campus carry law, which dictates that intentionally displaying a handgun on a college campus will be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, and a mandatory five-year revocation of the offender's license to carry a handgun. The cause of the second two incidents is addressed by the working group's proposed requirement that each handgun be carried in a holster that covers the trigger guard (a reasonable requirement that mirrors the generally accepted best practices for carrying a handgun).

Because the working group's proposed empty-chamber policy contradicts basic firearms training in order to address a concern that is already addressed in other, more reasonable ways, it is both superfluous and dangerous. In addition to the dangers listed in SCC's previous release, such a policy would greatly complicate the deployment of a license holder's handgun during an active-shooter situation. Under such circumstances, a license holder would have two choices: 1) Wait until confronted by the shooter to load the chamber, potentially denying the license holder adequate time to respond, or 2) Draw the weapon and chamber a round prior to actually encountering the shooter, potentially causing confusion among bystanders and/or first responders. Even if the license holder were hiding alone in an office, classroom, or closet, the distinctive sound of a round being loaded into the chamber of a gun could alert a gunman to the license holder's hiding place (and to the fact that the license holder is armed) or give bystanders and first responders the mistaken impression that the person hiding there is actually the gunman.

If UT's campus carry working group intended to ensure that handguns remain holstered, the group seriously erred in proposing this empty-chamber requirement. SCC's previous statement explains how this rule would almost certainly result in license holders manipulating their firearms in private automobiles parked on campus (something state law says universities can't stop license holders from doing), but there is also a legitimate concern that this policy might make license holders quicker to unholster their guns when faced with an unidentified or unconfirmed threat. A license holder who learns that a gunman has been reported nearby might be tempted to try to surreptitiously (without intentionally displaying the weapon) draw his or her handgun and chamber a round (in violation of school policy but not state law) so as to better prepare himself or herself to respond to a threat. Such an action would greatly increase the odds of an accidental/negligent discharge, a dangerous misunderstanding (i.e., the license holder being mistaken for the reported gunman), or both. In short, the working group's proposed empty-chamber rule has the potential to turn a false alarm into a tragedy.

Most of the policies proposed by UT's campus carry working group are reasonable and in keeping with both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill 11. However, the gun-free-offices provision and the empty-chamber provision are neither reasonable nor in keeping with the law. Supporters of the law will spare no effort or expense to see those provisions struck down.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/17/2015

UT-Austin's Proposed Campus Carry Rules and "Israeli" Carry

AUSTIN, TX - We at SCC have made our opposition to UT-Austin's proposed empty-chamber requirement loud and clear. As we've repeatedly stated, carrying a semiautomatic handgun with an empty chamber flies in the face of the standard training offered by every U.S. firearms school, police academy, and military branch. In fact, we know of only one professional fighting force that regularly carries semiautomatic handguns with empty chambersthe Israeli army (hence, this method of carry has come to be known as "Israeli" carry). However, before proponents of UT-Austin's proposed empty-chamber requirement begin pointing to the Israeli army as proof that this method of carry works, they should take a look at the totality of the Israeli method and ask themselves whether this is truly the method they want to see implemented at Texas colleges.

Unlike all U.S. methods of carry, which were designed with the goal of using minimal force (or, preferably, only the threat of force) and incurring zero collateral damage (i.e., dead or wounded bystanders), the Israeli method was developed as an assassination technique and later adapted for rapidly stopping terrorist attacks by suicide bombers and the like. Proper aiming is made difficult, nay, impossible by the need to draw the weapon and immediately rack the slide (as opposed to the U.S. method of drawing the weapon and immediately bringing the sights into line with the shooter's dominant eye). The idea behind the Israeli method is to fire as many shots as possible as quickly as possible, without pausing to aim, hesitating to assess whether the threat has been neutralized, or stopping to consider where missed shots may strike. In many ways, it bears more resemblance to the shooting style adopted by U.S. gang membersincluding sometimes firing with the handgun held in a sideways cantthan to the shooting techniques used by U.S. law enforcement.

In a June 2003 article for Soldier of Fortune magazine (it's not one of the periodicals we subscribe to, but we tracked down a copy), police/SWAT firearms instructor Jim Shults breaks down the Israeli shooting method, which was a short-lived fad in the U.S., and explains its many shortcomings. Here are a few notable excerpts:

All of the U.S. techniques teach that you draw a loaded and chambered pistol and depending on the instant threat either fire or present the pistol as a threat with your finger off the trigger (which can be reached and functioned in a tiny fraction of a second if necessary). The Israeli method trains that once you draw, you immediately begin firing and fire a lot. There is no gun-presenting to show some idiot 20 feet from you that you want him and his friends to go away. Nope, when you draw "Israeli-style" you start blasting. Remember, you will fight like you train. If trained to immediately fire after the draw, odds are great you will do just that. No U.S. technique or U.S. instructor teaches that you shoot every time you draw unless you see an instant and deadly threat which can instantly reach you; a guy with a knife 25 feet away from you is not a draw-and-shoot threat.

In all U.S. firearm schools (military, SpecOps, law enforcement and civilian), aiming is taught. This is not precise target-aiming. We are talking about getting the front and rear sights on the target and firing,

if necessary. With very little training this can be accomplished nearly instantly. Okay, it's the heat of a life and death battle and you start shooting with the nifty Israeli instinctive-shooting training (not aiming). Assuming you survive and win the fight, try to explain to a judge and jury, with the "encouragement" of the prosecutor and police officers, that those shots you sprayed over the landscape smashing into cars, buildings and bystanders were the result of you taking a "Mossad" course on how not to aim your pistol.

It takes no talent to fire and hit a bad guy 3 feet away, unless you still have to chamber a round. Up-close a blind man can get hits, but just 4 or 5 yards can make all the difference in any real accuracy in the "crap your pants"-pressure of a gunfight.

As John Farnam states when talking about aiming, "You can never shoot fast enough to make up for misses in a gunfight." One of the basic elements taught in American schools is to draw quickly and shoot slowly (relatively) because only hits count.

The Israeli slide-manipulation method is a disaster in waiting. I guarantee you that in a once-in-a- lifetime, "holy-crap"-panic, self-defense encounter, the odds of you drawing your empty pistol, rotating it, pulling it to your shoulder while precisely gripping the rear of the slide with your fingers, properly chambering and getting it running is Mission Impossible! Real life isn't a gun range; there is no rehearsal. What if you miss the grip and thrust out a pistol with nothing in the chamber? What if you don't get a good enough grip on it to fully rack the slide (short-racking)? Sure, none of us have ever done that. What about a misfeed and you thrust the pistol out with a stoppage? In the heat of battle you will not notice the problem until you try to fire; whoops, too late. Besides, what kind of idiot brings an "unloaded" pistol to a gunfight?

For reprint permission, contact Soldier of Fortune senior editor Harold Hutchison at hchutch@gmail.com.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/22/2015

Students for Concealed Carry Statement on Opinion of Texas Attorney General

AUSTIN, TX - Students for Concealed Carry is grateful to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for his commitment to preserving the integrity of the state's new campus carry law; however, we feel that the media is focusing on the wrong aspect of the attorney general’s recently issued opinion on the matter.

In the wake of Attorney General Paxton's official opinion, issued Dec. 21 in response to a request by Senator Brian Birdwell, author of the campus carry law, the media has fixated on the portion of the opinion that states, "If an

institution placed a prohibition on handguns in the institution's residential facilities

license holders in those facilities from carrying concealed handguns on campus, in violation of S.B. 11."

it

would effectively prohibit

SCC agrees with that opinion; however, our research and calculations suggest that any policy regulating licensed concealed carry by dorm residents will affect no more than a half-dozen license holders on any given campus, including the state's largest universities. Furthermore, the campus carry working group at the University of Texas at Austin has shown that campus carry policies can be drafted in such a way as to address the unique security concerns posed by dorms but not create an outright "prohibition on handguns in the institution's residential facilities."

The policy proposed by the UT-Austin working group would apply only to dorms, not on-campus apartments; would apply only to dorm rooms, not the common areas of residential halls; would apply primarily to dorm residents and staff, not visiting families; and would allow a licensed staff member living in a university dorm to keep a handgun in his or her dorm room as long as the gun is locked in a gun safe (there are many quick-access gun safes available). It is the opinion of SCC that all that is need to bring this policy into compliance with the law is to develop a safe-storage system for the tiny handful of licensed students who live in dorms (e.g., allowing them to store their guns at the university police headquarters, as many universities around the country already do).

With that said, we believe that Attorney General Paxton's opinion does cast serious doubt on another policy proposed by the UT-Austin working group. Responding to Senator Birdwell's question as to whether a university could allow individual professors to designate individual classrooms as gun-free zones, the attorney general writes, "No provisions within S.B. 11 authorize a president or chief executive officer to delegate this authority to individual professors, and reading S.B. 11 as a whole suggests that the Legislature did not intend to allow such piecemeal regulation of handguns on campus." SCC believes that this opinion casts serious doubt on the working group's proposal that "[the] occupant of an office to which the occupant has been solely assigned and that is not generally open to the public should be permitted, at the occupant’s discretion, to prohibit the concealed carry of a handgun in that office."

SCC has repeatedly (EXAMPLE 1, EXAMPLE 2) argued that UT-Austin's proposed gun-free-offices policy would violate both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill 11, and we feel that Attorney General Paxton's opinion corroborates our position. We now hope to see Senator Birdwell or another state official request an attorney general opinion on whether the law permits a university to require that a semiautomatic handgun carried by a license holder on campus be carried with an unloaded chamber, as would be mandated by the policies proposed by the UT-Austin working group. We believe that this proposed empty-chamber policy, like the proposed gun- free-offices policy, would violate both the letter and intent of SB 11.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/22/2015

Texas Tech Doesn't Understand How a Football Game Differs from a Ballet Recital

AUSTIN, TX - In a Dec. 22 post on The Dallas Morning News's "Trail Blazers Blog," journalist Tom Benning reports that the campus carry task force at Texas Tech University has proposed allowing faculty and staff to designate their offices as gun-free zones and prohibiting concealed carry at large recital halls and theaters when those venues host performances.

Students for Concealed Carry recently issued two lengthy statements (#1, #2) denouncing a similar gun-free- offices policy proposed by the campus carry working group at the University of Texas at Austin, as a violation of both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill 11. Subsequently, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a formal opinion stating, "No provisions within S.B. 11 authorize a president or chief executive officer to delegate this authority to individual professors, and reading S.B. 11 as a whole suggests that the Legislature did not intend to allow such piecemeal regulation of handguns on campus."

In one area, the proposals of Texas Tech's campus carry task force exceed those of the University of Texas at Austin's campus carry working groupa proposed ban on licensed concealed carry at recital halls and theaters. Benning's blog post quotes Texas Tech Provost Lawrence Schovanec, the leader of the TTU task force, as saying, “What’s so different from going to where you have volleyball game [sic] with maybe a thousand in attendance, or having a performance in a large performance hall with a similar number of people?” The fact that Schovanec even has to ask this question leads us to question whether he was the best man to lead Texas Tech's task force.

If venue size was the Texas Legislature's primary concern in prohibiting licensed concealed carry at high school, collegiate, and professional sporting events, why didn't they simply prohibit concealed carry at venues seating more than 1,000 people? Why did they choose to allow concealed carry in a 50,000-seat arena when it's hosting a concert but choose to prohibit concealed carry in that same 50,000-seat arena when it's hosting a sporting event?

The answer is obviousthe legislature believes that sporting events are fundamentally different from other large-venue events.

Stage plays, ballet recitals, and student film festivals seldom play host to intense interscholastic rivalries. The question of mixing guns with team rivalries, not the question of mixing guns with large venues, was almost certainly what prompted the Texas Legislature to prohibit licensed concealed carry at sporting events but allow it at concerts, movie theaters, municipal theaters, etc.

SCC Southwest Director Antonia Okafor noted, "UT students aren't likely to show up at a Texas Tech production of Les Misérables with 'Hook 'em Horns' painted across their bare stomachs, and Tech students aren't likely to rush the stage after a particularly good orchestra performance and tear down the lighting truss, so where does Tech's campus carry task force get off claiming that sporting events and theatrical performances are practically the same thing?"

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/05/2016

SCC Calls on Texas Governor to Include Campus Carry in Any 2016 Special Session

AUSTIN, TX - Although the committees and working groups tasked with developing campus carry policies at Texas universities have thus far eschewed such obvious nonstarters as banning licensed concealed carry in classrooms and banning concealed carry campus-wide during final exams, major universities such as the University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Texas, Texas Tech, and the UT Medical Branch at Galveston are considering policies that would prohibit concealed carry by large segments of the campus community, prohibit concealed carry in large areas where concealed handguns present no unique threat to public safety, or require license holders to carry handguns in a manner that conflicts with basic firearms training. For this reason, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) calls on Governor Greg Abbott to include an order to clarify the state's campus carry lawspecifically, the scope and intent of the "reasonable rules" university presidents are allowed to makein any 2016 special session of the Texas Legislature.

At some point between now and April, the Texas Supreme Court will issue its highly anticipated ruling on whether the Texas Legislature has adequately funded the state's public K-12 schools. If the court finds against the state, that ruling may force a special legislative session this summer. In that event, Students for Concealed Carry believes that it would be fiscally prudent for Governor Abbott to include in his special session call a mandate to clarify the state's impending campus carry law.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, explained the logic behind SCC's request, stating, "With activists on both sides of this debate already lining up plaintiffs to sue their respective universities if the campus carry policies enacted by those universities aren't to their liking, it's highly probable that the threatened lawsuits would cost the state far more than the roughly one million dollars required for a thirty-day special session. If it's possible to avoid those costly lawsuits by ironing out the law's ambiguities during a special session that has to happen anyway, the state would be fiscally irresponsible not to seize that opportunity."

When Tarrant County Community College in Fort Worth lost a 2009 lawsuit to Students for Concealed Carry, the court ordered TCC to pay $240,000 to SCC's lawyers. Because that payment was in addition to the fees TCC paid

its own attorneys, it's reasonable to estimate that that single lawsuit cost the college close to half a million dollars. It's also reasonable to estimate that unresolved ambiguities in the state's campus carry law could result in a half- dozen or more lawsuits against state institutions.

The leaders of SCC's Texas chapter do not invoke the specter of a special session lightly. They understand that special sessions are disliked by both the legislative and executive branches of the Texas government and that Governor Abbott has vowed to avoid a special session if at all possible. However, SCC's Southwest director, Texas director, and campus leaders feel that the campus carry committees and working groups at multiple Texas universities have forced the state's hand. The alternative to a special session is to not only burden the state with multiple costly lawsuits but also to force the Texas Legislature to spend yet another regular session debating campus carry and to allow universities to implement policiesmany of which (e.g., signs and storage lockers) require a modest financial investmentthat may be invalidated thirteen months later. It makes more sense to fix the law before it takes effect and before its ambiguities take a financial toll on the state.

This measure of last resort wouldn't be necessary if the campus carry committees and working groups had followed the clear intent of the campus carry law (Senate Bill 11) passed during the 2015 Texas Legislative Session. Unfortunately, some university presidents thought it wise to appoint committees that don't include a single supporter of the new law. The inevitable result is that these groups went out of their way to try to subvert the legislature's intent, thereby forcing the State of Texas into the position in which it now finds itself.

The campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin apparently thinks it reasonable to require any license holder carrying a semiautomatic handgun to leave the gun's chamber emptya practice that conflicts with the teachings of every firearms school, police academy, and military branch in the U.S. (RELATED).

Both UT-Austin's campus carry working group and Texas Tech University's campus carry task force think it reasonable to let individual faculty, staff, and graduate students arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry in their officesa policy that would render many license holders, particularly graduate students and staff, unable to carry concealed handguns on campus (RELATED).

Texas Tech's task force believes that ballet recitals and symphony performances are fundamentally the same as the university's raucous football and basketball games and that it is therefore reasonable for the institution to expand the state's ban on concealed carry at collegiate sporting events to include collegiate presentations of the performing arts (RELATED).

The campus carry task force at the University of North Texas thinks it is reasonable to prohibit concealed carry in the University Union building, the university's on-campus hub for dining and shopping. This policy would exclude armed license holders from most of UNT's shops and restaurants, which are located on the first and second floors of the University Union.

The campus carry committee at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston thinks it reasonable to prohibit concealed carry in 135 (80%) of the university's 170 buildings (only 15 of which are used for patient care). Among the list of proposed "gun-free" buildings is the Moody Medical Library. The committee justifies this proposal by pointing out that the library houses a collection of rare documents and antique microscopes that could be damaged by gunfire.

SCC is not opposed to limited restrictions on concealed carry in truly sensitive areas; however, as UTMB's sensitive-library proposal demonstrates, some of these committees and working groups have extremely active imaginations when thinking up excuses to declare an area too "sensitive" for licensed concealed carry. Multiple universities, including Texas Tech and UTMB, want to prohibit concealed carry in student recreation centers. They justify this proposal by arguing that they don't trust license holders to keep handguns concealed while working out. That flimsy justification ignores the fact that license holders manage to exhibit sound judgment regarding

when and when not to carry handguns at private health clubs; the fact that these facilities are largely staffed by men and women whose jobs require them to wear business casual attire, not tank tops or swimsuits; and the fact that many of these facilities include student lounges, meeting rooms, and other non-athletic venues.

As of yet, not one official proposal to create a "gun-free" zone at a Texas university has included a suggestion to secure that zone with metal detectors so that it is gun-free in more than name only. None of these so-called "sensitive" areas is so sensitive that a committee or working group has proposed taking steps to ensure that the area is free of illegally carried guns. The consensus seems to be that only legally carried guns present a clear and present danger to chemistry labs, student health clinics, and the like.

Proposing that license holders be required to violate their training, that individual employees be authorized to criminalize concealed carry in state facilities, that concealed carry be prohibited at ballet recitals, that concealed carry be prohibited at restaurants and retail shops, or that concealed carry be prohibited on more than three- quarters of a campus is not reasonable, and the conflict between such unreasonable proposals and the intent of Texas Senate Bill 11 must be resolved. SCC believes that this conflict would best be resolved by the state's legislative body, not its courts. However, SCC's Texas leaders will spend the coming weeks consulting both with Texas lawmakers and with the attorneys retained by SCC's sister organization, the Students for Concealed Carry Foundation, to prepare for all possible contingencies. SCC's fight for campus carry in Texas did not end with the passage of SB 11, and the organization is ready for whatever comes next.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/07/2016

SCC's Response to Planned Anti-Campus Carry March by Members of the Modern Language Association

Carry March by Members of the Modern Language Association AUSTIN, TX - Members of the Modern

AUSTIN, TX - Members of the Modern Language Association, concerned that Texas will soon allow the licensed concealed carry of handguns in university buildings, have decided to examine the new law, study the twenty-year history of licensed concealed carry in Texas, research the experiences of the many U.S. colleges that currently allow concealed carry in campus buildings, and publish a detailed analysis of the issue and its potential impact onJust kidding; they decided to build a book fort in front of the Texas Capitol.

On Friday, January 8, members of the Modern Language Association (MLA)which happens to be hosting its annual convention in Austinwill join with members of Gun Free UT to host an anti-campus carry march to the Texas Capitol, followed by a rally in which the protesters will build a "symbolic gun exclusion zone" out of books,

on the Capitol steps. Selected members will then enter this no-guns-allowed book fort to read from texts that they believe can only be taught in a "gun-free environment."

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented, "It's appropriate that the highlight of this anti-campus carry protest will be a symbolic gun-free zone, since symbolic gun-free zones are exactly what these protesters hope to preserve at Texas universities."

The basis for this protest is the dubious belief that licensed concealed carry on Texas college campuses will inhibit freedom of speech and the free exchange of controversial ideas. Completely ignored by the protesters is the reality that dozens and dozens of U.S. college campuses currently allow licensed concealed carry in campus buildings and that, after allowing campus carry for an average of more than five years, not one of those campuses has reported a single incident of a license holder using a handgun in a threatening manner. The protesters also ignore the successful history of licensed concealed carry throughout Texasa Texan is significantly more likely to be struck by lightning than to be murdered or negligently killed by a concealed handgun license holder, and if all Americans (including children and the elderly) committed murder at the same rate as Texas CHL holders, the U.S. would have a homicide rate on par with the famously low rates in Australia, Canada, and England.

In a January 6 op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman, Diana Taylor, second vice president of the MLA, demonstrates that experience with the types of literary studies that fill MLA's academic journals doesn't translate into expertise on sociopolitical issues. After commending the "thoughtful" report of the campus carry policy working group at UT-Austin, Taylor blatantly contradicts the findings of that report by claiming (without citing a source), "Laws that allow licensed handgun carriers to bring concealed handguns into buildings on campuses have proved to actually increase the likelihood of violence in general."

The report of UT-Austin's admittedly anti-campus carry working group states, "Our examination of states that already have campus carry revealed little evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to campus carry,

and none that involves an intentional shooting

causal link exists between campus carry and an increased rate of sexual assault. We found no evidence that

campus carry has caused an increase in suicide rates on campuses in other states." The report goes on to state,

"We reached out to 17 research universities in the seven campus-carry states

campus carry had not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs." The working group’s findings are consistent with the preponderance of peer-reviewed studies on licensed concealed carryincluding a 2015 study from Texas A&M Universitywhich have found that concealed carry cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime.

We

found that the evidence does not support the claim that a

Most

respondents reported that

Texas has seen enough silly protests from both sides of the campus carry debate. The time for theatrics has passed; now is the time for a serious discussion about the implementation of the law. That is why Students for Concealed Carry has asked Texas Governor Greg Abbott to include campus carry in any special legislative session called during 2016. The state’s campus carry law should clearly define the authority of universities to regulate concealed carry on campus, so as to finally put an end to a debate that grows messier and costlier with each passing day.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/27/2016

Jan. 26, 2016, Testimony of SCC Southwest Director Antonia Okafor, Before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs

My name is Antonia Okafor. I am a graduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, and I am here in my capacity as the southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry.

Madam Chair and members of the committee, I want to thank you for holding this hearing and for offering me the opportunity to testify about the various ways in which the campus carry law is being implemented at Texas's many universities. As I reference various proposed policies, please bear in mind that, because some universities have not yet made their policy drafts public, some of this information is based on preliminary media reports and may not accurately reflect the final drafts.

My organization respects that university presidents and system chancellors have a difficult task in implementing this new law, and we commend institutions such as the University of Texas at Tyler and Texas State University for addressing legitimate concerns while respecting the clear intent of the law.

Unfortunately, a handful of universities are considering policies that would undermine the intent and, in some cases, the very letter of the legislation signed by Governor Abbott.

The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston wants to prohibit concealed carry in 80% of its buildings, despite the fact that only 9% of its buildings are used for patient care. The handout we provided you in advance of this meeting includes a copy of the campus carry map created by the UTMB campus carry committee. On it you'll see thatnot counting parking structures, where the university has no authority to ban concealed carrythe committee recommends prohibiting concealed carry in 135 of its 170 buildings. Just fifteen of those 170 buildings are identified as being used for patient care.

UTMB even wants to ban concealed carry in its medical library because the library houses a collection of rare documents and antique microscopes that they believe could be damaged by gunfire. We at SCC do not believe that the legislators who concluded that licensed concealed carry can be safely allowed near students would agree that it cannot be safely allowed near rare artifacts. If that were the case, concealed carry would surely be prohibited at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum or even here in the Texas Capitol. More significantly, we believe that prohibiting licensed concealed carry on more than three-quarters of a campus clearly violates the law's prohibition against rules or regulations that "have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus."

Both the University of North Texas and Texas Tech University want to prohibit concealed carry at large venues that host events such as performances of the performing arts. This means that a license holder attending a play at UNT or Texas Tech would be denied the same right he or she enjoys when visiting a movie theater in Denton or Lubbock. We do not think it is reasonable to claim that the size of the venue necessitates prohibiting licensed concealed carry at a performance of a university choir or symphony, given that concealed carry is already allowed at countless musical and theatrical performances throughout the state, including at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which each year attracts a crowd twice the size of Lubbock's total population and four times the size of Denton's total population.

The ACL Music Festival also serves as a strong rebuttal to UNT's proposal that the university president be allowed to ban concealed carry campus wide for up to seven days when the university hosts a large-scale event involving the presence of alcohol. We believe that proposals such as these have less to do with the uniqueness of the campus environment than with task force members not understanding how licensed concealed carry is managed throughout the rest of the state.

This problem of being unfamiliar with and perhaps even paranoid about concealed carry is also demonstrated by several universities suggesting that concealed carry be banned at student recreation centers because, in their view, license holders cannot be trusted to keep their handguns concealed while working out. This proposal ignores the fact that license holders manage to exhibit sound judgment regarding when and when not to carry handguns at private health clubs; the fact that recreation centers are largely staffed by men and women whose

jobs require them to wear business casual attire, not tank tops or swimsuits; and the fact that many of these facilities include student lounges, meeting rooms, and other non-athletic venues.

SCC is particularly concerned that both Texas Tech and the University of Texas at Austin want to let occupants of private offices designate their offices as criminally enforceable “gun-free” zones. Because the duties of a faculty member, staff member, research assistant, or teaching assistant may require entering one or more private offices multiple times each day, this policy would leave many license holders unable to carry on campus at all.

Consider, for example, an I.T. technician who must troubleshoot computers in numerous offices, a teaching assistant who must visit a professor's office multiple times a day, or a research assistant who must coordinate with professors and graduate students in a half-dozen private offices? If, as the University of Texas has proposed, license holders are prohibited from leaving a handgun in a desk drawer or unattended backpack, how are these license holders supposed to accommodate an ever-changing patchwork of "gun-free" offices? Given that most license holders on campus are likely to be faculty, staff, or graduate students, a policy that renders many if not most faculty, staff, and graduate students unable to lawfully carry on campus must be viewed as a general prohibition.

Furthermore, why should employees of state colleges be the only state employees with the authority to arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry in their offices? Licensed concealed carry is currently allowed in every office in this building. We at SCC do not think it reasonable for an employee of a state university to have more authority over licensed concealed carry than does a county clerk, a municipal waste management supervisor, or even a Texas legislator.

Finally, the most egregious policy proposal comes from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. They recommend that any license holder carrying a semiautomatic handgun on campus be required to carry the handgun with an unloaded chamber. This proposal would require license holders to use an inferior carry method in which very few of them are trained.

Included with the handout we provided you are statements from highly qualified and, in some cases, world- renowned firearms instructors, denouncing this proposed empty-chamber policy. Also included are a couple of SCC's recent press releases, which go into greater detail about the many problems inherent to such a policy.

The short explanation is that requiring a semiautomatic handgun to be carried with an empty chamber would minimize and, in some cases, completely negate the handgun's usefulness in a self-defense scenario. Furthermore, requiring this method of carry would render useless most training received from a civilian shooting school, a police academy, or the U.S. military. After months of heated debates about whether or not license holders have adequate training to carry guns on college campuses, this policy would turn even the most well- trained license holders into neophytes.

Additionally, this policy would create a whole new set of risks. For example, license holders unhappy with the minimal protection offered by a half-loaded gun would almost certainly drive to campus with the chamber loaded and then sit in their cars in the university parking lot, where the university has no authority to regulate concealed carry, and remove the live round from the chambera process much more likely to result in an accidental or negligent discharge than is anything a license holder would normally do during the course of a day. Then, at the end of the day, those same license holders would use the concealment of their cars to reload the chamber before driving home.

Conversely, license holders who walk or ride the bus to campus would be forced to use this inferior method of carry during their commutes. That means that a graduate student who encounters an assailant while walking home would have to rely on a half-loaded handgun for protection.

One of the most perplexing things about this proposed policy is the distinction it draws between semiautomatic handguns and revolvers. Both a double-action revolver and a double-action semiautomatic require roughly the same amount of pressure to pull the trigger, and both fire a round when the trigger is pulled; therefore, this policy seems to indicate an inadequate understanding of modern firearms.

The proposal that license holders carry guns with empty chambers is presumably aimed at preventing accidental or negligent discharges; however, simply requiring every handgun to be kept in a holster that covers the trigger guard is all that is needed to prevent a negligent discharge. This proposed empty-chamber policy is not just unnecessary; it is dangerous and counterproductive on virtually every front. We at SCC cannot conceive of any justification by which this policy could be considered "reasonable."

In conclusion, Students for Concealed Carry believes that the Texas Legislature should clarify the scope and intent of the "reasonable rules" university presidents are authorized to make. We suggest that the legislature study the rules proposed by the various universities, codify those that make sense, and statutorily prohibit those that do not.

Again, I thank the committee for offering me the opportunity to speak, and I'll be happy to take any questions at this time.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/17/2016

SCC's Preliminary Response to Campus Carry Policies Approved by UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves

AUSTIN, TX - Over the past two months, Students for Concealed Carry has repeatedly explained how two of the proposals of UT-Austin’s campus carry working group violate the intent of Texas’s new campus carry law and how one of those proposals greatly increases the odds that a license holder will suffer an accidental discharge on campus. Unfortunately, UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves chose to punt the issue to the courts rather than stand up to a cabal of fear-mongering professors.

SCC is confident that the university’s gun-free-offices policy and empty-chamber policy will not stand up to legal scrutiny; therefore, our Texas chapter will now shift its focus to litigation. Simultaneously, we will continue to work with the governor’s office to explore the possibility of getting a clarification of the campus carry law added to Governor Abbott’s impending call for a special legislative session to address school finance.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/23/2016

What other laws should public colleges be allowed to "opt out" of?

AUSTIN, TX - Following the announcement that UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves will, in accordance with Texas Senate Bill 11, allow the licensed concealed carry of handguns in most university classrooms, numerous pundits and media outlets are once again calling for Texas legislators to allow public colleges to opt out of the state’s new “campus carry” law. In a February 23 editorial, the Austin American-Statesman argues, "Public university officials should have the same authority as private campuses to opt out of campus carry." This raises an obvious question:

In what other areas does the Statesman's editorial board think public colleges should have the same authority as private colleges?

Should public university officials be allowed to require church attendance by students or to prohibit same-sex dating relationships between students? Should they be allowed to limit student speech to only that which aligns with a certain religion or ideology? What if such restrictions are what a majority of students, faculty, and staff really, really want? Shouldn't the majority opinion on campus trump an unpopular law?

The reality is that private schools have always operated under vastly different rules from their public counterparts, and that dichotomy is why Texas' new campus carry law establishes one standard for public colleges and another for private colleges. The same private universities that can dictate which sociopolitical causes students are allowed to support and which movies students are allowed to see can prohibit licensed concealed carry on campus. However, the same state universities that must honor freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc., must also honor a state-issued license to carry a handgun.

SB 11 passed through the Texas Legislature by a wide margin. And contrary to the claims of anti-campus carry activists, those lawmakers were acting in accordance with the wishes of their constituentstwo 2015 polls (the only impartial polls on the subject) conducted as a joint effort of the Texas Tribune and the University of Texas at Austin found more Texans in support of campus carry than opposed to it. Whether campus carry has broad support on a particular campus is not the legislature's concern.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Campus carry hasn't led to the downfall of the University of Utah or the University of Colorado, and it won't be the downfall of the University of Texas. I have little sympathy for the argument that campus carry is an unpopular law, given that just fifty years ago, the law allowing someone like me to attend the University of Texas was itself an unpopular law. There is a reason we don't pass laws the same way we vote for the next American Idol."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/23/2016

Why are professors more afraid of guns carried legally than illegally?

AUSTIN, TX - A slide show at a recent University of Houston faculty senate meeting suggested that professors may want to "be careful discussing certain topics" or "drop certain topics from [their] curriculum" when the state's new campus carry law takes effect. This begs the question: Why should professors be more concerned about the licensed, carefully vetted students who'll be carrying guns legally than about the unlicensed, unvetted students who may already be carrying guns illegally?

During a January 26 hearing of the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs, Joan Neuberger, professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin and co-chair of the Gun Free UT steering committee, testified, "Students come to speak to me in my office all the time….The reason that they can come talk to me and my colleagues is because we create an environment in the classroom that is an environment of absolute trust and respect. And I don't think I can do this if I don't know if the person sitting next to me is carrying a gun in their backpack." Ironically, Dr. Neuberger already doesn't know if the person sitting next to her is carrying a gun in his or her backpack.

College campuses like the University of Texas and the University of Houston are open environmentsthere are no metal detectors or bag checks. A person can just as easily walk into a classroom carrying a backpack full of guns as carrying a backpack full of books. The concerns of Dr. Neuberger and the UH faculty senate are indicative of the mindset that the real danger stems not from criminals who disregard the law but from lawfully armed citizens who suddenly "snap." However, that assumption is not borne out by the facts.

Various studies by forensic psychologists and the U.S. Department of Justice have concluded that the notion of someone simply "snapping" and committing mass murder is a myth. Also, statistics from the Texas Department of

Public Safety suggest that a Texan with a concealed handgun license (CHL)/license to carry (LTC) is only about 1/7 as likely to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as is an unlicensed Texan. Furthermore, the final report of the campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin concluded, "Our examination

of states that already have campus carry revealed little evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to

campus carry, and none that involves an intentional shooting

not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs."

Most

respondents reported that campus carry had

There is simply no justification for a professor who has previously expressed little or no concern about the possible illegal presence of guns in his or her classroom to decide to soften his or her curriculum because of the possible legal presence of guns in his or her classroom.

SCC Southwest Director Antonia Okafor commented, "Do these professors not think that the type of person who'd pull a gun during a classroom debate might also ignore an honor-system-based law prohibiting guns on campus? Do they honestly feel better knowing that any guns in their classrooms are being carried by individuals with a complete disregard for both school policy and state law?"

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/25/2016

Campus carry isn't bad for higher education; paranoia about campus carry is.

AUSTIN, TX - In enlightened modern America, the risk of dying of a shark attack is most frequently referenced in comparison to one's odds of winning the Powerball lottery, but in the summer of 1975, America's coastal tourism business took a major hit as a result of the June release of the world's first summer blockbusterJaws. The risk of dying from a shark attack was just as low then as it is todayin fact, there were no fatal shark attacks in U.S. waters that yearbut a cinema-inspired nationwide bout of galeophobia (fear of sharks) had real, negative consequences on the nation afflicted.

In a speech delivered February 4 at the 2016 National Prayer Breakfast, U.S. President Barack Obama said, "The consequences of [fear] can be worse than any outward threat." That statement is reflected throughout America's checkered past, from fear of witchcraft leading to twenty executions in Salem, Mass., to fear of vaccines leading to a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases. Now, Texas is seeing fear of campus carry take a real, measurable toll on the state's institutions of higher education. However, just as witches were not to blame for the Salem witch trials, and just as vaccines are not to blame for the negative results of the anti-vaccine movement, campus carry is not to blame for the current atmosphere of fear on Texas college campuses.

The professors threatening to resign their positions or remove controversial material from their curricula have no more basis for their actions than did the people who canceled summer vacation plans 41 years ago. All available evidence suggests that licensed concealed carry will not make Texas college campuses any less safe. The report of UT-Austin's campus carry policy working group notes, "Our examination of states that already have campus carry

revealed little evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to campus carry, and none that involves an

intentional shooting

campus carry and an increased rate of sexual assault. We found no evidence that campus carry has caused an

increase in suicide rates on campuses in other states." The report goes on to state, "We reached out to 17

research universities in the seven campus-carry states

had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs."

We

found that the evidence does not support the claim that a causal link exists between

Most

respondents reported that campus carry had not

Those findings are consistent with the preponderance of peer-reviewed studies on licensed concealed carryincluding a 2015 study from Texas A&M Universitywhich have found that concealed carry cannot be shown to lead to an increase in violent crime. Statistically, a Texan is significantly more likely to be struck by lightning than

to be murdered or negligently killed by a concealed handgun license (CHL)/license to carry (LTC) holder. Texas CHL/LTC holders are convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at 1/7 the rate of unlicensed Texans (NOTE: that statistic includes all Texas children in the number of unlicensed Texans; the contrast is even greater when only adults are counted). Therefore, what basis do these professional academicsmen and women trained to rely on empirical data when drawing conclusionshave for taking actions as drastic as resigning their positions or dumbing-down course materials?

When a member of a hate group bombs a house of worship, society doesn't blame the worshipers for scaring the attacker to the point of violence; we blame the fearmongers and hate speakers who taught the attacker to fear and hate what he doesn't understand. Neither Texas's new campus carry law, the legislators who passed it, nor the activists who pushed it are responsible for the actions of professors overwhelmed by unjustified fear. Intellectually, these professors are no different than someone whose actions are defined by an irrational fear of sharks, witchcraft, or vaccines. We can pity them for their inability to function rationally, but we must not acquiesce to their phobic delusions.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/01/2016

SCC's Preliminary Response to the University of Houston’s Draft Campus Carry Policy

AUSTIN, TX - The University of Houston's draft campus carry policy is a major improvement over the policy proposed by the University of Texas; however, the UH policy is too aggressive in attempting to prohibit licensed concealed carry in any location where minor children may be present, something the Texas Legislature never intended.

Students for Concealed Carry commends the University of Houston campus carry task force for avoiding the types of overreaching policies proposed by the University of Texas and for having the foresight to propose policies such as making community gun storage available at the campus police station and allowing faculty and staff to temporarily store handguns in locked desks or cabinets.

SCC's one concern with the UH draft policy is that the task force seems to have operated under the assumption that licensed concealed carry cannot be allowed anywhere children are likely to be present. This was clearly never the intent of the Texas Legislature, which saw fit to allow licensed concealed carry in movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, grocery stores, restaurants, all state museums, all public libraries, and even the Texas Capitol. SCC hopes to see the UH policy refined so that, with regard to locations where children may be present, licensed concealed carry is only prohibited at day care facilities and primary/secondary schoolsthe locations dictated by state law.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/03/2016

SCC makes anti-campus carry conspiracy theorists an offer they can't refuse.

AUSTIN, TX - In response to anti-campus carry activists at the University of Texas and the University of Houston who espouse the conspiracy theory (started by the gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety) that Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) was founded by and is funded by well-financed groups within the Tea Party, libertarian, and gun-rights movements, SCC announced today that it will donate $5,000 to any gun-control groupor to any 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designated by the gun-control groupthat can, by March 31, 2016, prove any of the following:

1.

The national organization Students for Concealed Carry (SCC)/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) currently receives or previously received regular funding from one or more of the following organizations:

A. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC);

B. The Leadership Institute (LI);

C. CampusReform.org;

D. Gun Owners of America (GOA);

E. The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF);

F. The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA);

G. The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR);

H. Texas Gun Rights (TXGR);

I. The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC);

J. The National Rifle Association (NRA);

K. The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA);

L. The Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA);

M. Any national or statewide gun-rights group, Second Amendment organization, firearms trade organization, or firearms manufacturer;

N. The Tea Party Patriots;

O. Tea Party Express;

P. Tea Party Nation;

Q. National Tea Party Federation (NTPF);

R. The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition;

S. FreedomWorks;

T. Americans for Tax Reform;

U. Americans for Prosperity (AFP);

V. Any Tea Party organization;

W. Charles G. Koch and/or David H. Koch (aka the Koch brothers);

X. Any political party;

Y. Any political campaign; or

Z. Any political action committee;

2. The Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus currently receives or previously received regular funding from one or more of the organizations listed in claim #1;

3. One or more of the organizations listed in claim #1 played a role in the conception and/or founding of Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus;

4. One or more of the organizations listed in claim #1 provided startup capital to Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus;

5. One or more of the organizations listed in claim #1 have or had a leadership role in or measure of governance over Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus; or

6. Students for Concealed Carry/Students for Concealed Carry on Campus has ever been governed or controlled by any individual or organization other than the directors publicly named by SCC/SCCC at that time;

Antonia Okafor, Southwest director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Since being founded in 2007 by college students shocked by the Virginia Tech massacre, Students for Concealed Carry has faced occasional

rumors about its origins and funding. Such rumors are without factual basis but serve opponents' intended purpose of derailing any discussion of the facts of campus carry."

The currently circulating conspiracy theoryspecifically, that SCC is a Tea Party front funded and directed by some combination of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Leadership Institute (LI), and/or Gun Owners of America (GOA)stems from a July 5 article in The Trace, the official publication of the gun-control group Everytown for Gun Safety. While it's fair to assume that The Trace is no more impartial on issues of gun rights than is the NRA publication America's First Freedom, SCC doesn't need to rely on ad hominem attacks to rebut the article's claims.

In its 3,252 words, the Trace article, titled "The Secret History of the Campus Carry Movement," offers only two pieces of evidenceboth circumstantialto support its claims. First, it notes that the Leadership institute offers grants to campus-based conservative groups. Second, it notes that the Leadership Institute and Gun Owners of America together advertised in 2006 that they were looking for college students to start "pro-gun" groups on university campuses. Neither of those facts has any connection to the founding, funding, or administration of Students for Concealed Carry.

The Leadership Institute's grant program gives money to small campus groups, not large national organizations. Several of SCC's campus chapters have applied for and received one-time $500 startup grants from the Leadership Institute, but that money was awarded to individual campus chapters, not SCC's Texas chapter or national organization. For example, SCC's University of Texas or University of Houston chapter might get $500 to help with purchasing signs, T-shirts, tabling supplies, etc.; however, SCC's state and national leaders would never see any of that money or even know about it unless someone from that campus chapter happened to mention it to them. Donations received at the campus level help that chapter establish itself on campus but do not help SCC's state- level lobbying efforts and do not influence SCC's agenda, which is set at the national level. Because SCC does not provide funding to campus chapters, campus chapters are free to seek funding as they see fit.

As for LI and GOA placing a 2006 advertisement expressing interest in starting "pro-gun" groups on college campuses, that is what is known as a coincidence (a coincidence that nobody at SCC was aware of until The Trace reported on it). Presumably, the author of the article dug up LI and GOA's ten-year-old advertisement and drew his own conclusions.

Far from "laying the groundwork for SCC," this effort by LI and GOA seems to have gone nowhere, as there was no sign of it a year later when SCC was founded by a political science major at the University of North Texas, in response to the mass shooting at Virginia Tech. Two months after starting SCC, that UNT student got tired of working forty hours a week at an unpaid job and stepped down. Four other unpaid volunteers then stepped up, took over, and developed an organizational structure that allowed SCC to evolve from a Facebook group and one- page website into the thriving organization it is today. Any one of those five founders would have jumped at an offer of funding (particularly, as the article claims, a $50,000/year salary), but no such offer was ever made.

Contrary to the claims made by The Trace, no preexisting organization had any hand in the founding of SCC, no outside organization has ever provided regular funding to SCC, and no organization has ever provided salaries to SCC leaders (who are all unpaid volunteers). SCC has occasionally received help or cooperation from outside organizations, but such help has always been limited in scope. For example, when SCC's Texas chapter held a fundraising drive to raise money to air a pro-campus carry television commercial (to combat the $80,000 anti- campus carry ad buy by Everytown for Gun Safety), the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) donated $1,500, and GOA donated $500. Those are the two largest cash donations SCC or any of its state chapters have ever received from an outside group.

A much more common type of outside help comes in the form of groups cosponsoring events with SCC or working with SCC to push legislation (e.g., SCC and the Second Amendment Foundation co-hosted two national

conferences on campus carry; SCC, the NRA, and the Texas State Rifle Association frequently shared information when working to pass campus carry in Texas). Such cooperation among organizations with a shared goal is not unusualit does not equate to an outside organization secretly directing or funding SCC and doesn't amount to anything resembling the type of conspiracy claimed by SCC's opponents.

In a February 29 op-ed published in Quartz (QZ.com), Lina del Castillo, assistant professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, describes SCC as "the most visible, well-funded peddler of misleading information on pro-campus carry in the nation" (not surprisingly, the phrase "well-funded" links to the July 5 article from The Trace). If Ms. Del Castillo could see SCC's financial statements or witness the sacrifices SCC's leaders have made to keep the organization alive, she would be embarrassed for making that claim. Unlike Everytown for Gun Safety, SCC has no wealthy benefactor or rich donors footing the bill. SCC owes its existence to the small cash donations and huge time donations made by its members. The people who write SCC's press releases and testify on behalf of SCC at Senate hearings and promote SCC on college campuses all do so without compensation, because they believe in and care about this cause.

Opponents' claims about SCC's founding and funding are untrue and unproductive. Those opponents would do well to remember that intellectually honest people can disagree on questions of policy without resorting to conspiracy theories or baseless conjecture to undermine their opponents' views.

Excerpt from SCC's Mission Statement (which hasn't changed since the organization's founding, when it was known as Students for Concealed Carry on Campus):

Both the membership and the leadership of SCCC are made up of individuals with very diverse political backgrounds. Among SCCC’s leaders you’ll find conservatives, moderates, liberals, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Independents, etc. The members of SCCC look beyond partisanship, toward the common goal of achieving state laws and school policies based on factual evidence rather than emotional rhetoric.

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus is not affiliated with the NRA, a political party, or any other organization.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/04/2016

Does campus carry lead to an increase in sexual assaults?

AUSTIN, TX - Here are the bullet points on the debate over whether campus carry leads to an increased rate of on-campus sexual assault:

Campus carry opponents have taken to citing a study conducted by the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, to argue that campus carry leads to an increase in on-campus sexual assaults.

These campus carry opponents ignore the fact that the cited study (which was not peer-reviewed) acknowledges that its "results certainly do not prove that concealed carry causes more crime.”

These campus carry opponents ignore or dismiss the fact that the campus carry policy working group at the University of Texas at Austin concluded, “[T]he evidence does not in any way support the claim of a causal link between campus carry and an increased rate of sexual assault.”

These campus carry opponents argue, Given that Colorado and Utah shield the identities of concealed- carry license holders, there is no way to know if people who hold CHLs were the perpetrators of these acts of sexual violence”; however, that is not entirely true. In both Utah and Colorado, the unlicensed possession of a firearm on a college campus is a crime (a felony in Colorado, a Class A misdemeanor in Utah). Therefore, in any case in which criminal charges have been filed, it would be possible to look at both the police report and the charging documents and ascertain if the crime actually took place on a college campus (the Clery Act data used in the CKGOC study includes surrounding areas), if the suspect is reported to have used a handgun in the commission of the crime, and if the suspect was charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm on a college campus (indicating that the suspect did not possess a concealed handgun license, or CHL).

The campus carry opponents touting this campus-carry-leads-to-rape theory could take these extra steps to corroborate their claims, but they don’t want to because they know that no campus-carry college has reported a sexual assault in which an armed CHL holder was either the assailant or the victim.

According to the 1996-2013 conviction rates maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas CHL holders were convicted of aggravated sexual assault at 1/6 the rate of unlicensed Texans (NOTE: that statistic includes all Texas children in the number of unlicensed Texans; the contrast is even greater when only adults are counted).

According to licensing data maintained by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the rate of concealed handgun licensure among Texans age 18-23 was approximately 0.68% as of January 1, 2015.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/28/2016

Anti-campus carry activists have nothing to fear but fear itself

AUSTIN, TX - Anti-campus carry activists at the University of Texas at Austin have created a self-fulfilling prophecythey've spent so much time and energy claiming that campus carry is going to cause real problems for the university that their warnings are scaring off top talent, causing a real problem for the university. Both the Los Angeles Times and The Daily Texan recently reported that Siva Vaidhyanathan, a finalist for the deanship of UT- Austin's Moody College of Communication, withdrew his name from consideration because he doesn’t believe he would be willing to discipline a professor who refuses to abide by the state's new campus carry law.

As Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) pointed out in a February 25 statement titled "Campus carry isn't bad for higher education; paranoia about campus carry is," fear of campus carry at UT-Austin is causing far more problems than has the actual implementation of campus carry on the more than 100 U.S. college campuses where it's currently allowed. When a thousand professors get together to hype a particular concernbe it campus carry, insufficient state funding for higher education, UT’s deteriorating campus infrastructure, or Austin’s oppressively hot summersthat harsh cacophony of voices is going to have an adverse effect on recruiting, whether justified or not.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, "Campus carry is a molehill that groups like Gun Free UT have made into a mountain. Now those same groups want to blame campus carry when the nation’s top academic talent opts for less mountainous terrain."

Because opponents of campus carry have spent so much time and energy overstating the statistically insignificant dangers of campus carry, it should come as no surprise that people who don’t know any better are starting to

believe them. Well-intentioned but misguided activists at UT-Austin have created a moral panic akin to the equally baseless "Satanic panic" of the late 20th century. And like any moral panic, this one is fueled in part by the media.

The aforementioned L.A. Times article on Texas's campus carry law notes, "The experience of Utah and Colorado does not support the claim that having more gun owners on campus increases security, according to a study last year by the Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus, a nonprofit based in Croton Falls, N.Y. In both states, crime rates on college campuses increased while the student populations dropped."

That is an interesting way of stating the facts, given that neither a promise to lower campus crime rates nor a pledge to increase student enrollment was among the generally accepted talking points for legalizing the licensed concealed carry of handguns on Texas college campuses and that there is no evidence that licensed concealed carry has negatively impacted either crime rates or student enrollment at the colleges where it's currently allowed.

SCCthe nation's only advocacy group dedicated to lobbying for the legalization of campus carryhas consistently pointed out that campus carry is about personal protection, not campus protection; that college campuses are statistically very safe; and that only a tiny percentage of academics are licensed to carry concealed handguns. All of that contradicts the notion that campus carry will lead to a drop in crime rates.

If SCC doesn't think campus carry is likely to lower on-campus crime rates, who does the L.A. Times article seek to rebut with the statement that the history of campus carry "does not support the claim that having more gun owners on campus increases security"? That statement strikes down a straw man constructed by the author and, despite all evidence to the contrary, leaves readers with the distinct impression that campus carry may be responsible for the purported increase in on-campus crime.

Not one college in Utah or Colorado has reported a single incident of a concealed handgun license holder using a handgun to commit a violent crime on campus (and yes, there is a way that anti-campus carry activists and the media could double-check this if they wanted to). There also hasn’t been a single report of an armed license holder being the victim of a violent crime on any of these campuses. Therefore, the findings of the cited study have little bearing on the campus carry debate. In fact, the cited studywhich was conducted by a gun-control group and was not peer reviewedplainly states that its "results certainly do not prove that concealed carry causes more crime."

The final report of UT-Austin's campus carry policy working group notes, "Our examination of states that already have campus carry revealed little evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to campus carry, and

none that involves an intentional shooting

causal link exists between campus carry and an increased rate of sexual assault. We found no evidence that campus carry has caused an increase in suicide rates on campuses in other states." The UT report goes on to

state, "We reached out to 17 research universities in the seven campus-carry states

reported that campus carry had not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs."

We

found that the evidence does not support the claim that a

Most respondents

The L.A Times article's reference to college enrollment is equally egregious, in that the aforementioned study uses only two years of data (2012-2013) to intimate that campus carry leads to a decrease in enrollment. Even a cursory review of the raw numbers reveals that this insinuation isn't supported by a complete view of the data.

After a 2006 court ruling legalized the licensed concealed carry of handguns at all public colleges and universities in Utah, Utah's public colleges and universities saw record enrollment in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. After slight declines in 2012 and 2013, Utah again saw increased enrollment in both 2014 and 2015. There is no reason to assume causationlegalizing campus carry didn't cause enrollment to go uphowever, there is clearly no negative correlation between student enrollment and the legalization of licensed concealed carry on campus.

The reporter for the L.A. Times draws from one dubious study by a group of activists opposed to campus carry, to lend credence to the claims of activists opposed to campus carry. That's not journalism; it's just another form of activism. The article, which includes no comments from proponents of campus carry and makes no attempt to present a clear picture of proponents' arguments, is nothing more than an editorial masquerading as news. Along with other alarmist articles, it’s helping to fuel a moral panic—a totally unwarranted mass paranoiathat has already taken a toll on the Lone Star State.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/29/2016

SCC commends UT-Tyler and Texas State University on well-crafted campus carry policies

AUSTIN, TX - Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) commends the University of Texas at Tyler and Texas State University for adopting campus carry policies that address legitimate concerns while respecting the clear intent of Texas Senate Bill 11. The policies recommended by the UT-Tyler and Texas State campus carry committees and adopted by President Rodney H. Mabry and President Denise Trauth, respectively, create clear, concise policies and limited gun-free zones that neither undermine the state's new campus carry law nor unnecessarily impede the rights of concealed handgun license (CHL)/license to carry (LTC) holders.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, "The university presidents and campus carry committees at UT-Tyler and Texas State have demonstrated that it is possible for a university to adopt a campus carry policy that addresses specific concerns while still respecting the clear intent of Texas Senate Bill 11. Other Texas universities, particularly the University of Texas at Austin, would do well to learn from these examples."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/29/2016

SCC Condemns Texas Tech and UNT Policies Prohibiting Concealed Carry at Ticketed/Large-Scale Events

AUSTIN, TX - Over the past several months, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) has repeatedly criticized policies proposed by the University of North Texas and Texas Tech University that would prohibit the licensed concealed carry of handguns at performance venues and large-scale events on university property. Now that both universities have adopted these policies, SCC is compelled to repeat these criticisms. (NOTE: UNT defines a “large- scale event” as any event at which “attendance is reasonably anticipated to exceed 200 individuals”; Texas Tech's policy specifies "performance venues" and "ticketed events"; both policies also single out events where alcohol is served.)

In the past, SCC has illustrated how unnecessary such policies are by pointing to the example of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, which sees annual attendance of almost half a million people, which allows alcohol sales, and whichdue to being held on municipal property and not meeting any of the criteria of a prohibited place listed under Section 46.03 or 46.035 of the Texas Penal Code—allows licensed concealed carry. However, we’ve recently become aware of another, equally relevant example of a large-scale event that allows licensed concealed carrythe Texas Republican Convention. According to The Dallas Morning News, “A spokesman for the Republican Party of Texas confirmed Monday that both open and concealed carry will be allowed at the state’s convention in May. The state party has allowed guns at its convention in the past.”

Each year, the ACL music festival hosts enough twenty-something concertgoers to fill both the UNT and Texas Tech campuses several times over, and an attendee of the 2016 Texas Republican Convention will no doubt

encounter more heated discussions than he or she would experience in a year on the UNT or Texas Tech campus. Given that Texas universities are supposed to develop campus carry policies based on the “nature of the student population” and the “uniqueness of the campus environment,” what is the rationale for treating a large-scale event at a public university differently than a large-scale concert in a public park or a large-scale political convention at a public conference center?

Why should a concealed handgun license (CHL)/license to carry (LTC) holder who is allowed to carry a concealed handgun in a movie theater in Denton or Lubbock be prohibited from carrying a concealed handgun in a university theater at UNT or Texas Tech? Why should a licensed, vetted adult who is allowed to carry a concealed handgun at a restaurant or movie theater that serves alcohol be prohibited from carrying a concealed handgun at a university function where alcohol is served? Although most campus carry task forces purport to seek to find on- campus corollaries to off-campus concealed carry laws, the reality is that some universities are more interested in creating entirely original policies, with no regard for where licensed concealed carry is allowed throughout the rest of the state.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/31/2016

The University of Texas System Should Take a Lesson from Texas Tech

AUSTIN, TX - The board of regents of the University of Texas System would do well to heed the actions of Texas Tech University, whichon the advice of legal counseloverruled a proposed policy that would have allowed faculty, staff, and graduate students to designate their offices as "gun-free" zones. Both Texas Tech's campus carry task force and UT-Austin's campus carry policy working group recommended that occupants be allowed to prohibit licensed concealed carry in privately held offices. However, whereas UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves chose to adopt the proposed policy, officials at Texas Tech recognized that such a policy would violate the state’s campus carry law.

Reporting for KAMC News in Lubbock, reporter Alyssa Goard writes:

[Interim Texas Tech] President [John] Opperman explained that after [TTU's campus carry task force] released preliminary recommendations in December, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued several opinions arguing that it would be illegal to ban guns from classrooms, faculty offices, and dorms.

"Offices can't be gun free---in the AG opinion was part of the factor there because the same rationale the attorney general used for classrooms applies to offices as well, so offices cannot be excluded," Opperman said.

While Paxton's opinions are not legally binding, Opperman said that TTU's general counsel advised the university to structure their policies keeping Paxton's opinions in mind. TTU's general counsel believed that Paxton's arguments would hold up in a court of law. The university has been seeking legal advice, bracing for the inevitable litigation that will spark related to the campus carry law.

As Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) has explained in multiple press releases and in invited testimony before the Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs, allowing faculty, staff, and graduate students to arbitrarily create a

patchwork of criminally enforceable “gun-free” zones would violate both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill

The law says that any campus carry policies approved by a university president must be "reasonable" and cannot "have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus."

Allowing occupants of private offices to designate those offices as criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones would have the net effect of making it impossible for many if not most faculty, staff, and graduate studentsthe members of the university community most likely to hold a license to carry a concealed handgunto lawfully carry concealed handguns on campus, because their positions often require them to enter one or more private offices on a daily basis. Prohibiting campus carry by the segment of the population most likely to take advantage of the law cannot be viewed as anything less than a general prohibition.

Furthermore, SB 11 requires universities to "widely distribute the rules, regulations, or other provisions"

created by the university presidenta requirement that will be difficult, nay impossible, to fulfill if any

occupant of any private office can declare that office "gun-free" at any time.

Requiring license holders to explain that they cannot lawfully enter a specific office would force them to self-identify to colleagues, employers, and/or instructors, which is in clear conflict with the Texas Legislature's efforts to protect the identities of license holders. Such a policy would also make university employees the only state employees authorized to arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry in their workspace. Given this policy’s clear conflict with legislative precedent, it cannot be viewed as "reasonable" under any standard definition of that word.

UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy is one of two university-approved campus carry policiesalong with UT-Austin's empty-chamber policylikely to face legal challenges this fall. It is a clear violation of both the letter and intent of Texas' new campus carry law, and Students for Concealed Carry will not rest until the policy is struck down.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/01/2016

SCC's Challenge to Anti-Campus Carry Conspiracy Theorists Goes Unanswered

AUSTIN, TX After four weeks, Students for Concealed Carry's offer to donate $5,000 to any gun-control organization that could prove any of the common conspiracy theories about SCC's founding and/or funding came to a close without a single organization attempting to collect. The offer, which was announced in a March 3 press release and prominently advertised, throughout the 29-day challenge, on the front page of SCC's website and at the top of SCC's Facebook page, elicited nary a response from the organizations that were so eager to spread the offending rumorsrumors that have found their way into everything from digital op-eds to serious news articles.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, "It certainly came as no surprise to us that groups like Everytown for Gun Safety and Gun Free UH were nowhere to be found when it came time to substantiate the lies they'd been peddling. Casting baseless aspersions is easy until someone challenges you to prove them."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/11/2016

Students for Concealed Carry's Statement on the Murder at UT-Austin

AUSTIN, TX The recent murder of a female undergraduate on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin serves as a tragic reminder that college campuses, though typically safe, do play host to every form of violent crime found throughout the rest of society. No matter how much we want to believe that universities are safe spaces shielded from the dangers of the "real world," the truth is that the only thing separating most campuses from the rest of the world is a sidewalk. And as we saw at UT-Austin, that sidewalk can be crossed at any time, without warning.

Anti-campus carry activists who harp on the fact that college campuses are statistically very safe (typically on par with affluent neighborhoods in the same city) presuppose that a holder of a license to carry (LTC) a handgun should only carry a gun in places where violent crime is likely. However, like most reasonable people, LTC holders generally avoid places where violence is likely. They choose to carry handguns in case violence finds them some place where they had no reason to expect it, such as at a movie theater, a restaurant, or even a college campus.

The trained, licensed, carefully screened adults (age 21 and above) who regularly carry concealed handguns in presumably safe locations such as shopping malls, churches, libraries, museums, and even the Texas Capitol are the same ones who'll soon be authorized to carry concealed handguns on Texas college campuses. However, UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves and the university's campus carry policy working group have crafted policies that, in conflict with the intent of the campus carry law passed by the Texas Legislature, will leave LTC holders less able to defend themselves on the University of Texas campus than in most other places throughout the state.

Imagine that you're a 22-year-old woman walking back to your car after studying late at the UT library. As you reach for your car door, a man lunges from the shadows and grabs your other arm. Your

adrenaline surges, and your mind goes to the concealed handgun tucked into your waistband. As the man twists your arm and tries to force you to the ground, your free hand grabs the gun. You draw it just as his free hand draws a knife from his pocket. You point the gun at your assailant, squeeze the trigger,

and

second to chamber a round, you'd need both hands free to do so.

CLICK.

Per UT-Austin's campus carry policy, your gun's chamber is empty. Even if you had an extra

Now imagine that you're a female university employee walking through that same garage when a man with a knife steps out in front of you. Your first instinct is to reach for the secret handgun pocket built into the side of your purse, but it's empty. Because you're never sure when your job will require you to visit an office that the occupant has declared "gun-free," you're seldom able to carry your gun on campus. According to state law, you have the right to carry a concealed handgun on campus, but thanks to university policy, you enjoy that right in name only.

The recent tragedy at UT-Austin should serve as a wakeup call to university administrators who seek to handicap LTC holders on campus. Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "The senselessness of this heinous crime reaffirms that we can't try to predict when and where violence will strike. For that reason, vetted, licensed adults should enjoy the same measure of personal protection on campus that they already enjoy virtually everywhere else."

Student for Concealed Carry extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the young woman murdered at UT-Austin. In deference to her family's statement that "the last thing she would want is to be the poster child for any cause," we have refrained from using her name in this release.

RELATED:

"In wake of death, UT confronts questions of security" (Austin American-Statesman):

"Dangers of Waller Creek Where University of Texas-Austin Student Was Killed Long Known" (Patch.com):

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/11/2016

SCC's Response to Slapdash 'Newsweek' Hatchet Job

AUSTIN, TX The same pseudo-journalist who repeated conspiracy theories about SCC's founding and funding, without noting that those theories originated with a national gun-control conglomerate, is back at it with an article that, beginning with the headline itself, is nothing but a straw man argument. In his Newsweek article inaccurately titled "Campus carry advocates suggest gun might have prevented University of Texas murder," Max Kutner makes no attempt to craft anything but a hit piece as he purports to analyze SCC's official statement on the recent murder at the University of Texas at Austin.

For six days following the first news of this tragic crime, Students for Concealed Carry declined media requests for comment and refrained from issuing a press release on the matter. Only once the basic facts of the crime were known and the UT community had had an opportunity to grieve did SCC issue a public statement acknowledging that this senseless murder serves as a painful reminder that college campuses are not immune to violent crime.

In issuing that statement, SCC took care to avoid naming either the victim or the suspected perpetrator and to refrain from saying anything that might be perceived as unsubstantiated speculation as to contributing factors or circumstances under which the outcome might have been different.

The statement released by SCC is not about the specifics of this crime or its victim; therefore, how the victim or her family might have felt about campus carry has little bearing on the matter. We do not suggest that the victim should have been carrying a gun or evengiven her young agethat she should have had the option to carry a gun. Furthermore, we do not postulate that the outcome of this crime would have been different if the victim had been carrying a gun. Our only objective in referencing this crime is to acknowledge the reality that violent crimes do occur on college campuses. That fact does not change based on someone's personal feelings about campus carry.

An academic community should understand better than any other that educated decisions must be informed by factual evidence. It is unrealistic to think that a murder on a college campus will not be cited in a debate about whether or not people need the ability to defend themselves on college campuses. Just as an advocate for school bus safety can cite a tragic school bus accident without crassly politicizing the incident, proponents of campus carry can cite an on-campus murder without crassly politicizing that incident.

Short of completely ignoring a crime that goes to the heart of our organization's mission, we at SCC did everything in our power to be respectful of the victim, the victim's family, and the UT community. We are completely comfortable with the actions we took, and we can only hope that the individuals and organizations who choose to criticize those actions do so out of grief and not out of a cynical desire to effect their own political ends.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/27/2016

Another Pitfall of "Gun-Free" University Offices

AUSTIN, TX - UT-Austin’s suggestion that CHL/LTC-holding students will have to make special arrangements to meet with professors who choose to have “gun-free” offices seems particularly dubious in light of this op-ed by a California professor who admits to having second thoughts about writing a letter of recommendation for a student after recalling that the student is a gun owner: http://chronicle.com/article/Guns-

It seems that perhaps the legal counsel and university presidents at Texas Tech and Texas A&M had good reason

to reject similar proposals. It also seems that the students, faculty, and staff who support Texas’s new campus carry law may have good reason to keep their views to themselves.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/03/2016

Campus Carry Policy Could Cost UT-Austin $17 Million per Day

AUSTIN, TX - If students and parents think tuition at the University of Texas at Austin is too high now, wait until the university's operating costs increase by $17 million per dayor just over $6.2 billion per yearas a result of the institution's refusal to abide by the state's new campus carry law.

By ignoring the opinion of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and proceeding with a plan to allow occupants of privately held university offices to designate those offices as "gun-free" zones, UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves has positioned the university to incur fines of $10,000 per day, per "gun-free" office, under Texas' "wrongful exclusion" law. Now that more than 1,700 UT-Austin faculty members are pledging to refuse to allow campus carry, that adds up to enough fines to bankrupt even America's sixth-largest university.

Under the wrongful exclusion law, which took effect September 1, the Office of the Attorney General is tasked with investigating and litigating complaints regarding state agencies unlawfully prohibiting the licensed carry of handguns on state property. In light of the attorney general's December 21 opinion stating, "No provisions within [the campus carry law] authorize a president or chief executive officer to delegate this authority [to create gun- free zones] to individual professors, and reading S.B. 11 as a whole suggests that the Legislature did not intend to allow such piecemeal regulation of handguns on campus," there is little doubt that the Office of the Attorney General will find UT-Austin's "gun-free" offices to be a violation of the law.

UT-Austin's campus carry policy working group may have had the wrongful exclusion law in mind when they wrote, "We recommend that an office occupant must give oral rather than written notice." The committee claims

that this recommendation is intended to prevent the proliferation of unsightly signs; however, the easiest way for

a professor to give notice to students would be to include written notice in the class syllabus. The sole advantage

of requiring oral notice seems to be that it makes proving that license holders are being wrongfully excluded from an office much more difficult for complainants. Fortunately for proponents of campus carry, the wrongful

exclusion law does not require written notice.

The wrongful exclusion law states, "A state agency

Section 30.06, Penal Code." Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 states, “[A] person receives notice if the owner of the property or someone with apparent authority to act for the owner provides notice [that entry on the property by

a license holder with a concealed handgun is forbidden,] to the person by oral or written communication."

may

not provide notice by a communication described by

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, noted, "SCC is already working on a variety of plans to document incidents of wrongful exclusion on the UT-Austin campus. One of the proposals we're considering is the offering of a cash prize to the student who documents the most verifiable cases of faculty or staff prohibiting licensed concealed carry in offices."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/05/2016

UT-Austin Thinks University Employees Are Above All Other State Employees

AUSTIN, TX - Texas law has long prohibited state employees from arbitrarily criminalizing the licensed concealed carry of handguns in their offices; however, beginning August 1, employees of the state's flagship university intend to play by their own rules, regardless of what lawmakers, the attorney general, or anyone else thinks.

Every employee of the State of Texas, from the person who processed your driver's license application to the governor himself, is required to abide by Texas law regarding where licensed concealed carry is and isn't allowed. Unless a state employee works in one of the very few locations where licensed concealed carry is statutorily prohibited, he or she cannot prohibit it in his or her office. On this point the law is quite cleara state employee must honor a state-issued license to carry (LTC). However, Gregory Fenves, president of the University of Texas at Austin, apparently didn't get that memo.

President Fenves believes that, unlike the 181 members of the Texas Legislature and the members of Texas' executive branch, the faculty and staff at the University of Texas at Austin should not be required to allow concealed carry in their private offices. President Fenves has decided that, despite a warning from the Texas attorney general that doing so would violate state law, he will allow faculty and staff to arbitrarily create criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones on the UT-Austin campus.

Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) has repeatedly made the case that creating a patchwork of "gun-free" offices will prohibit many if not most LTC-holding faculty and staff from carrying concealed handguns on the UT-Austin campus. Recently, SCC even pointed out that if a court of law concurs with the opinion of the Office of the Attorney General, the university's gun-free-offices policy could cost the University of Texas System millions of dollars in civil penalties. Not surprisingly, the media completely ignored SCC's points about why the policy is bad and how it could cost the university financially and focused exclusively on the fact that SCC is considering offering

a cash prize to the student who contributes the most evidence to SCC's legal case against the university.

Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, "One way or another, UT-Austin's gun-free- offices policy will not stand. It flies in the face of both the intent of Texas lawmakers and the opinion of the Texas attorney general. The only question is whether the courts or the legislature will win the race to strike it down."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/09/2016

What the Experts Say About UT-Austin's Empty-Chamber Requirement for Campus Carry

AUSTIN, TX - Students for Concealed Carry reached out to four highly qualified, well-regarded firearms instructors, to get their opinions on the University of Texas at Austin campus carry policy requiring every semiautomatic handgun to be carried with an unloaded chamber. Although SCC has written extensively about this issue (see the related links below), there is no substitute for the opinion of an undisputed expert.

The Experts

T.J. Pilling is the owner and operator of the Tiger Valley firearms training facility in Garland, Texas. Tiger Valley is a professional training provider for local, state, and federal police; private security contractors; and civilian shooters. Their customers include the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the Dallas Police Department, the Waco Police Department, the Baylor University Police Department, the Garland Police Department, the Richardson Police Department, the Plano Police Department, the Houston Police Department, the Round Rock Police Department, Lockheed Martin, and Triple Canopy. Pilling has more than 28 years' experience as a police officer, including managing a police academy firearms training program, working as an undercover narcotics officer, and 23 years as a SWAT marksman. His résumé can be viewed at http://www.tigervalley.com/pdf/resume.pdf.

Karl Rehn is the owner and lead firearms and tactics instructor at KR Training, located an hour east of Austin. Rehn describes himself as, "a UT graduate, former UT employee, and Austin-area firearms instructor who has trained UT staff, faculty, and students, as well as members of Austin PD, Travis County Sheriff's Office, and the UT ROTC program over the past 25 years." His bio can be viewed at http://www.krtraining.com/newinst/karlbio.html.

Bill Rogers is the owner and director of the Rogers Shooting School in Ellijay, Georgia. The Rogers Shooting School primarily instructs military and SWAT units but also offers a limited number of classes for civilians/non-police. Rogers is a former FBI agent with over 40 years of firearms instruction experience. Rogers developed many of the holsters and equipment currently used by police and military. The equipment, training techniques, and training videos developed by Rogers are used worldwide. Information on Bill Rogers and the Rogers Shooting School can be found at http://www.rogersshootingschool.com/info.php.

John Farnam, the president of Defense Training International in Ft. Collins, Colorado, is widely considered to be one of the fathers of modern firearms training. He has personally trained thousands of federal, state, and local law enforcement personnel, as well as non-police, in the use of firearms. He has authored four books on the subject. Information on Defense Training International can be found at http://defense-training.com/about/. More of Farnam's extensive résumé can be viewed at http://www.worldblackbelt.com/who-s-who/living-legends/139- john-s-farnam. A 2012 interview with Farnam can be read at

The Experts' Assessment

Veteran SWAT officer T.J. Pilling notes, "The problem with [the UT-Austin campus carry working group's] recommendation #3, which requires students to carry the weapon without a round in the chamber, is that most accidental discharges happen during loading and unloading the weapon."

UT Alumnus Karl Rehn concurs, stating, "In the most likely scenario, those that want to carry at UT are going to arrive on campus with a round chambered and will have to handle their gun, most likely in the awkward, cramped space inside their vehicle, to un-chamber the round and reholster before leaving the vehicle. That's a far more

likely scenario for a negligent discharge than someone simply unholstering and putting the gun in a storage lockerand the working group has already rejected that idea as 'too dangerous.'"

Pilling continues, "Like the law or not, if statistically you are implementing a carry technique that has the highest potential for negligent discharge, I believe you are setting the campus up for failure. A student coming and going from the campus will constantly be clearing and loading the weapon, which leads to another problem. Since you're requiring them to unload the weapon, are you going to designate a clearing area with a clearing drum? If you don't, I can expect a certain amount of liability since industry standards require police, military, and State Department contractors to have a clearing barrel in areas they are instructed to have a 'clear' weapon.

"When dealing with CHL holders, most larger police agencies determined that unless the person had a criminal offense or the agency had reasonable suspicion that the person carrying the weapon was a risk to the officer, themselves, or someone else, it was far safer to leave the weapon on the person and not risk the person or the officer discharging the weapon."

Rehn expands on this point by explaining the dangers of expecting campus police to verify that the chamber of a lawfully concealed handgun is unloaded (the only reasonable way to enforce such a policy): "Police officers are not trained in the parts and operation of every firearm make and model. Having a police officer handle an unfamiliar gun puts the public at a higher risk of negligent discharge than if the permit holders do the handling, since [the permit holder has] demonstrated familiarity with their own gun during the license to carry training. But the safest policy is to have neither of them handle the gun on campus at all."

These concerns are echoed by former FBI agent Bill Rogers, who states, "This proposed rule does not address the fact that most accidents with pistols happen when loading and unloading the firearm." Rogers also notes the difficult position this policy places license to carry (LTC) holders in, stating, "To cause someone to load a semiautomatic pistol during a life-threatening confrontation will eliminate the possibility of someone being able to defend themselves during many scenarios. Confrontations with civilians and predators happen in close proximity, when time is critical and the use of both hands are not always available."

Firearms training pioneer John Farnam explains, "Who promised you that both of your hands will be available the next time you need your pistol? A pistol is an item of emergency/safety equipment. We carry pistols for unexpected threats. You may be pushing your children behind cover with one hand while trying to draw your pistol with the other, all at the same time. You might find an attacker on top of you, doing his best to stick a screwdriver into your eye. As you fend off the screwdriver with one hand and draw your pistol with the other, how will you then persuade it to fire?"

Rehn adds, "I've taken more than 2000 hours of firearms training. In all those courses the instructors advised against carrying a handgun with an empty chamber [emphasis in the original]. Whether the audience is armed citizens or law enforcement officers, empty chamber carry is discouraged because the gun is only going to be used in a last-resort, time-critical situation where the burden of additional time and complex gun manipulations adds risk and decreases the likelihood of a successful defensive gun use. If the attacker is at close range, the additional time and movement is sufficient to provide the attacker the opportunity to take control of the gun, which could be deadly for the permit holder and others."

Farnam breaks down the issue thusly: "Modern pistols are always carried, in modern holsters, fully loaded

vast majority of modern, autoloading pistols and revolvers are designed and manufactured to be mechanically 'drop-safe.' That is, no external blow to the pistol, no matter the severity, will cause it to discharge. Putting continuous pressure on the trigger is the sole method for persuading these weapons to fire. Thus, carried with an empty chamber, most modern autoloading pistols and revolvers are not one bit 'safer' than if a live round were in the chamber, but they are a good deal less useful."

The

T.J. Pilling concludes by suggesting, "I think a better policy is to make sure that the weapon never leaves the holster unless deadly force is required. Suspend, expel, whatever it takes to make sure [students] understand that deploying a weapon unnecessarily has consequences."

Karl Rehn concurs, writing, "Recommendation #3 from the recent working group report, requiring those carrying on campus to carry without a round chambered, is a dangerously flawed, unenforceable idea and should not be implemented."

Bill Rogers and John Farnam, the two firearms training legends, are a bit more blunt in their assessments.

Rogers writes, "The proposed rule of carrying the pistol unloaded is stupid and dangerous."

Farnam states, "The empty-chamber-carry method provides the user with no safety advantage, but it makes the pistol a good deal less useful." He concludes, "Those who don't carry loaded pistols needn't bother carrying at all."

SCC's Response

In light of such testimony, there is little chance that a Texas court of law will find UT-Austin's empty-chamber policy to be "reasonable," per the requirements of Texas Senate Bill 11. There is, however, an excellent chance that this poorly conceived policy, along with the university’s equally ill-advised gun-free-offices policy, will persuade the Texas Legislature to revisit this issue in 2017.

SCC Southwest Regional Director Antonia Okafor, commented, "The UT-Austin officials who opted for a politically expedient policy over the policy recommended by the experts have surrendered any claim to the moral high ground. It is clear that they care more about the appearance of safety than about the actual safety of faculty, staff, and students."

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/10/2016

What does UT-Austin hope to accomplish with "gun-free" offices?

AUSTIN, TX - Among Texas public universities, the University of Texas at Austin stands alone as the only institution to approve a campus carry policy that would allow students, faculty, and staff to designate individual on-campus offices as criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones. Two other universitiesTexas Tech and Texas A&Mconsidered but, on the advice of legal counsel, ultimately rejected similar policies. As UT-Austin prepares for the inevitable onslaught of lawsuits from not only pro-campus carry organizations but also the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, we should all step back and consider what the university's gun-free-offices policy will and won't accomplish.

UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy won't keep professors from having to give bad news or bad grades to lawfully armed students.

The gun-free-offices policy approved by UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves states, "If the occupant’s duties ordinarily entail meeting people who may be license holders, the occupant must make reasonable arrangements to meet them in another location at a convenient time." That means that if a licensed student wants to be armed when meeting with a professor to discuss a failing grade, an ideological disagreement, or anything else, the student must simply ask for the meeting to be held somewhere other than the professor's office, and the professor is required to oblige.

UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy will require license holders to self-identify to faculty and staff who may have significant influence over the license holder's academic or professional future.

Although the Texas Legislature has gone to great lengths to