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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
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
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 point—campus carry allows licensed
INDIVIDUALS an optional measure of PERSONAL protection; it doesn’t inoculate an entire campus against
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
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.
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."
In wake of Oregon tragedy, gun control activists miss the point
By Antonia Okafor, Oct. 13, 2015
Special to the Texas Tribune
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
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 10/16/2015
UT-AUSTIN NEWSPAPER SWEEPS PRO-CAMPUS CARRY EDITORIALS AND FACTS UNDER THE RUG
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 me—a 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 opinions—some 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....as far as we know, as far as I know, there haven't been any significant problems." If you’re
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 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
(firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or the SCC board of directors (email@example.com).
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
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
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
ridiculous—for 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 holders—individuals who are already allowed to have guns at home and already allowed
to have guns in their cars parked on campus—to 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...has concluded that there is no evidence that licensed concealed carry leads to an
increase in either violent crime or gun deaths.”)
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.'"
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 statistics—which are never offered with any type of context—are at best misleading and at worst
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
carry—he 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 holder—he 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...where the point of the attack is simply to kill as many people as possible," but this finding
combined with the relatively low rate of licensure during the 2000-2013 period does give us reason to believe that
maybe—just maybe—it'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?
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
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.
Okafor: Rhetoric about effects of campus carry on minorities misplaced
By Antonia Okafor - Special to the Austin American-Statesman
Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015
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
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
The situation may be scary, but it will not be dangerous
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
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,
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
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
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.
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 Legislature—first under Democratic control and then under
Republican control—has 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
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.
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...a bias against rural Texans"), against a handful of fact-based
arguments supporting such bans.
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 crime—weapons 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
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 Falkenberg—like so many opponents of campus carry—somehow 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
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.
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
During the December 6 episode of Inside Texas Politics on WFAA—ABC’s Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate—Fort 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
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
Ramsey—executive editor and co-founder of the Texas Tribune—stated, "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
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
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.
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
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
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 room—this 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
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-
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 professor—a
professor who, by declaring his or her office "gun-free," has publicly announced his or her opposition to campus
carry—that 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" office—an occupant who, based on the fact that he or she has a private office, is very possibly the license
holder's superior—that 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 check—a 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 training—the people college administrators
should feel most comfortable having armed on campus—will 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 techniques—one 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 campus—unloading 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...prohibiting or placing
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.
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
challenges—challenges likely to succeed and likely to cost the university significant time and money.
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
employee—the 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.
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 chambers—the
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 members—including sometimes firing with the handgun held in a
sideways cant—than 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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...it would effectively prohibit
license holders in those facilities from carrying concealed handguns on campus, in violation of S.B. 11."
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
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.
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 group—a 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 obvious—the 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
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 law—specifically,
the scope and intent of the "reasonable rules" university presidents are allowed to make—in 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 policies—many of which (e.g., signs and storage lockers)
require a modest financial investment—that 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 empty—a 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 offices—a 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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/07/2016
SCC's Response to Planned Anti-Campus Carry March by Members of the Modern Language Association
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
on—Just 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 Austin—will 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 Texas—a 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...We found that the evidence does not support the claim that a
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...Most respondents reported that
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 carry—including a 2015
study from Texas A&M University—which have found that concealed carry cannot be shown to lead to an increase
in violent crime.
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
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 that—not counting parking structures, where the university has no authority to ban concealed carry—the
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
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
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 chamber—a 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
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
Again, I thank the committee for offering me the opportunity to speak, and I'll be happy to take any questions at
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.
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
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 constituents—two 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."
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 environments—there 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....Most respondents reported that campus carry had
not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs."
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?"
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 blockbuster—Jaws. The risk of
dying from a shark attack was just as low then as it is today—in fact, there were no fatal shark attacks in U.S.
waters that year—but 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...We found that the evidence does not support the claim that a 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...Most respondents reported that campus carry had not
had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs."
Those findings are consistent with the preponderance of peer-reviewed studies on licensed concealed carry—
including a 2015 study from Texas A&M University—which 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 academics—men and women trained
to rely on empirical data when drawing conclusions—have 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.
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
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 schools—the locations dictated by
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 group—or to any
501(c)(3) non-profit organization designated by the gun-control group—that can, by March 31, 2016, prove any of
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
A. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC);
B. The Leadership Institute (LI);
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;
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
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 theory—specifically, 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 evidence—both circumstantial—to 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
unusual—it 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
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.
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
prophecy—they'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 concern—be it campus carry,
insufficient state funding for higher education, UT’s deteriorating campus infrastructure, or Austin’s oppressively
hot summers—that harsh cacophony of voices is going to have an adverse effect on recruiting, whether justified
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
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
SCC—the nation's only advocacy group dedicated to lobbying for the legalization of campus carry—has
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 study—which was conducted by a gun-control
group and was not peer reviewed—plainly 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...We found that the evidence does not support the claim that a
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...Most respondents
reported that campus carry had not had much direct impact on student life or academic affairs."
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 causation—legalizing campus carry didn't cause enrollment to go up—however, 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 paranoia—that has
already taken a toll on the Lone Star State.
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."
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
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 which—due 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
carry—the 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.
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, which—on the advice of legal counsel—overruled 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
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
students—the members of the university community most likely to hold a license to carry a concealed
handgun—to 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
Furthermore, SB 11 requires universities to "widely distribute the rules, regulations, or other provisions"
created by the university president—a 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 policies—along with
UT-Austin's empty-chamber policy—likely 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.
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 rumors—rumors 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
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...CLICK. Per UT-Austin's campus carry policy, your gun's chamber is empty. Even if you had an extra
second to chamber a round, you'd need both hands free to do so.
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
"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):
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 even—given her young age—that 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
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.
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.
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 day—or just over $6.2 billion per year—as 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...may not provide notice by a communication described by
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."
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."
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 clear—a 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."
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.
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
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
locker—and 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...The
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."
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
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."
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."
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 universities—Texas Tech and Texas A&M—
considered 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
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 protect the identities of concealed handgun license
(CHL)/license to carry (LTC) holders and to ensure that handguns stay out-of-sight and out-of-mind on college
campuses, UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy would require lawfully armed license holders to self-identify
themselves as such, to faculty and/or staff who may be responsible for such decisions as whether or not a license
holder receives tenure, whether or not a license holder gets into a particular graduate program, or whether or not
a license holder receives a letter of recommendation.
It is not reasonable to think that if a license holder requests that a meeting happen outside of the other party's
office, the other party won't ask for an explanation or, at the very least, intuit that the license holder is carrying a
gun. Given the level of animosity that many UT-Austin faculty and staff have exhibited toward campus carry, this
is a daunting position for license holders.
UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy won't, as the university's campus carry policy working group
claims, protect government employees' "constitutionally-protected right of privacy in their offices."
No court of law has ruled that a "right of privacy" equals a right to complete autonomy. For example, the "right of
privacy" doesn't mean that, within the confines of his or her office, a professor may violate UT-Austin's policy
against engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.
Texas currently has almost 1.5 million state employees, none of whom are allowed to arbitrarily criminalize
licensed concealed carry in their offices. The policy adopted by UT-Austin isn't protecting some long-maintained
right of government employees; it's creating a brand new (and legally dubious) right especially for a handful of
university employees, including most of the members of the campus carry policy working group.
UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy will prohibit many if not most CHL/LTC-holding faculty, staff, and
graduate students from lawfully carrying concealed handguns on the UT-Austin campus.
Because the duties of a faculty member, staff member, research assistant, or teaching assistant may require
entering one or more private offices one or more times each day, the gun-free-offices policy will leave many if not
most license holders unable to carry on campus at all. UT-Austin's campus carry policy prohibits leaving a gun in
an unattended backpack, purse, desk, or office; therefore, any license holder whose daily routine involves even
the possibility of entering a "gun-free" office will be unable to exercise the lawful right to carry that the Texas
Legislature clearly intended to protect.
It's worth noting that, although the UT-Austin policy would allow a license holder to lock a handgun in a privately
owned or leased motor vehicle, many faculty, staff, and students walk to campus or commute via bus or bicycle,
and many of those who drive are required to park far (sometimes as far as a mile) from the building where they
work. This seeming concession regarding motor vehicles—which is not actually a concession at all but, rather, a
requirement of existing law—does not mitigate the university's gun-free-offices policy in any meaningful way.
UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy could end up being settled in criminal court, at the expense of a
license holder who never intended to violate state law or school policy.
A license holder who carries a concealed handgun into an area of a university campus where the university has
given effective notice, per Section 30.06 of the Texas Penal Code, that licensed concealed carry is prohibited is
guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and a mandatory five-year revocation
of the offender's license to carry. This is a serious crime with serious penalties.
Given that UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy prohibits office occupants from posting signs identifying their offices
as "gun-free" zones, even the most well-intentioned license holder will have difficulty keeping up with which
offices are "gun-free" and which are not. A license holder may forget which office occupants have provided oral
notice that their offices are "gun-free," or an office occupant may forget whom he or she has informed of the
"gun-free" status of his or her office. In short, the odds of a license holder inadvertently carrying a concealed
handgun into a "gun-free" office are extremely high.
If a license holder is caught inadvertently carrying a concealed handgun in a "gun-free" office, the legitimacy of
UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy could end up being settled in criminal—rather than civil—court, at the expense
of someone who never intended to break any law or challenge any university policy.
UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy will embroil the university in expensive court cases that the
university is widely predicted to lose.
There is a reason that legal counsel at Texas Tech and Texas A&M recommended against adopting similar policies
and that no other university publicly considered such a policy. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already
issued an 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." As
SCC previously pointed out, a court decision confirming this opinion could leave UT-Austin open to claims of
"wrongful exclusion," to the tune of millions of dollars in civil penalties.
Attorney General Paxton also opined that "attending or teaching class is the primary reason most individuals are
on campus. If an institution prohibited the carrying of concealed handguns in a substantial number of classrooms,
a court would likely conclude that the effect would be to 'generally prohibit' license holders from carrying
concealed handguns on campus, contrary to the Legislature's express requirements." Given that the general age
limit to obtain a CHL/LTC is 21 and that most persons over that age on the UT-Austin campus are faculty, staff, or
graduate students—the vast majority of whom are required to enter private offices as part of their daily
activities—it stands to reason that if UT-Austin prohibits the carrying of concealed handguns in a substantial
number of private offices, a court will likely conclude that the effect is to "generally prohibit" license holders from
carrying concealed handguns on campus, contrary to the Legislature's express requirements.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, summed up the issue, declaring, "The people who approved
this untenable policy know they won't be the ones paying the legal fees and civil penalties when the policy is
challenged and ultimately struck down in a court of law. They're more concerned with facing their anti-campus
carry colleagues in the university's hallowed halls than with abiding by state law or protecting the university's
bottom line. So, because of them, the turmoil over campus carry at UT-Austin will continue a while longer."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 05/13/2016
SCC's Response to UT Regents’ Decision to Delay Campus Carry Vote
AUSTIN, TX - Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) supports the decision of the University of Texas System board of
regents to take additional time to consider the campus carry policies approved by individual universities, and SCC
encourages the regents to adopt the three motions proposed by Regent Hildebrand. No matter how skillfully
university officials try to talk around it, the reality is that UT-Austin's proposed empty-chamber and gun-free-
office policies are ill-advised and reckless.
During Thursday's meeting of the UT regents, Deputy Chancellor David Daniels defended UT-Austin's decision to
require oral rather than written notice of arbitrarily created "gun-free" offices, saying, "We did not want to have
hallways with signage after signage after signage...It would just create a climate with sign after sign after sign. "
How can any person picture that scenario and not see a campus where licensed concealed carry is generally
prohibited? Hiding the evidence (i.e., doing away with the signs) does not make the policy any less a violation of
the letter and intent of Senate Bill 11. Officials have placed great emphasis on the fact that licensed concealed
carry will generally be allowed in classrooms; however, most of the license holders on campus are faculty, staff,
and graduate students who do not enter classrooms every day but who do enter private offices (other than their
own) every day. If prohibiting concealed carry in a significant number of classrooms is not allowable, how can it be
allowable to prohibit concealed carry in office after office after office (thousands of offices, according to Gun Free
In justifying the decision not to require or even allow signs identifying offices as "gun-free" zones, both Deputy
Chancellor Daniels and UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves repeated the bogus anti-concealed carry talking point
that Texas law requires “no guns” signs that are two feet wide by three feet tall. In reality, many private
businesses post fully compliant signs that are 1/4 that size.
In explaining how UT-Austin's gun-free-offices policy would be implemented, President Fenves, stated, "The
training for faculty is that they make a verbal notification at the beginning of each semester. The intent is that
that is for the semester, and they would have to renew that verbal notification each semester, to the students in
their class. And if a visitor in their office is not in the class, it's the faculty member's responsibility to issue the
verbal notification." This ignores the reality that, in general, most persons over the age of 21 who enter a
professor's office are not students in the professor's class. It also ignores the fact that there are many staff
members who have private offices but do not teach classes. Under this policy, the occupant of a “gun-free” office
must remember to vocalize the "gun-free" status of his or her office to every courier, maintenance worker, I.T.
technician, cleaning crew, research assistant, and colleague who enters.
Not only does this gun-free-offices policy create a minefield of criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones; it creates
an ever-changing minefield of criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones. The occupant of an office could decide to
change his or her policy two or three times during a semester or to have the policy apply only to certain license
Contrary to what Deputy Chancellor Daniels said during Thursday’s meeting, giving one person verbal notice that
concealed carry is prohibited does not automatically mean that concealed carry is (or must be) prohibited for
everyone. Texas Penal Code Section 30.06 states that concealed carry is only prohibited for a license holder who
has "received notice" that concealed carry is prohibited and who has not otherwise received "effective consent"
that he or she has been granted an exception to that notice.
This means that, under UT-Austin's proposed campus carry policy, an office occupant could pick and choose which
license holders are allowed to carry concealed handguns in the office and which ones potentially face a year in jail,
a $4,000 fine, and a five-year revocation of their concealed handgun licenses if they carry into the office. In one
office, licensed concealed carry might be perfectly legal for faculty but a serious crime for students. In another
office it might be allowable for a few close friends of the occupant but a serious crime for everyone else.
Conversely, an office occupant could decide to generally allow licensed concealed carry in his or her office but to
criminalize it for just one person (e.g., a professional or academic rival). And as outrageous as it sounds, an office
occupant could decide to give notice to only members of a certain gender, race, or creed. In other words,
‘Licensed concealed carry is okay for most license holders, but for you and your kind, it'll get you a year in jail.’
President Fenves noted, "There is well-known precedent that government employees have some autonomy and
privacy rights even in government-owned offices." What he didn't say is whether he believes that Texas is
violating this measure of "autonomy and privacy rights" for the roughly 1.5 million state employees whose offices
aren't located on the UT-Austin campus and who have no right to arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry
in their offices. He also failed to address whether the existence of this allusive right means that the other 13
campuses in the UT System will be violating the rights of their employees by not ensuring a similar measure of
As noted in a previous SCC press release, a right to privacy does not exempt occupants of government offices
from government policy. For example, the "autonomy and privacy rights" afforded to occupants of private offices
at UT-Austin do not grant those occupants the right to use chewing tobacco in their offices. Even in private offices,
any use of tobacco products—including smokeless tobacco—is strictly prohibited by UT-Austin's tobacco-free
campus policy. Clearly, the right to privacy and autonomy touted by President Fenves and the university's campus
carry policy working group is nothing more than misdirection intended to justify an otherwise legally untenable
policy desired by many of the UT-Austin employees lucky enough to have a private office (including those
employees who comprised a majority of the working group).
With regard to the proposed empty-chamber policy, President Fenves justified the measure by claiming, "The
data shows that the most [negative] incidents [related to campus carry]—in fact, all recorded incidents—have to
do with accidental discharge." What he didn't say is that, according to his university's own campus carry working
group, "all recorded incidents" equals a grand total of four accidental/negligent discharges (during a combined
total of well over 1,000 semesters of campus carry), none of which resulted in life-threatening injury and none of
which involved a holstered handgun. The reality is that simply requiring that handguns remain concealed (as
mandated by SB 11) and holstered (as mandated by UT-Austin policy) addresses the causes of all four recorded
incidents. The empty-chamber requirement contributes nothing in terms of safety and a great deal in terms of
President Fenves sidestepped suggestions that the empty-chamber policy might make an accidental/negligent
discharge more likely, claiming, "An individual that's lawfully licensed to carry a weapon is responsible for it and
has to...train properly in handling it. So that is their responsibility." This statement is dripping with irony, given
that he is endorsing a policy that contradicts license holders’ training and given that the campus carry working
group to which he repeatedly implored the regents to defer made the case against handling unholstered guns on
campus. In explaining why on-campus gun lockers are not a viable option, the working group wrote:
Every knowledgeable source we consulted unequivocally stressed the danger that accompanies the
transfer of a handgun to a storage unit. A policy that increases the number of instances in which a
handgun must be stored multiplies the danger of an accidental discharge. We believe this danger would
be especially acute in gun lockers placed around campus. These are most likely to be used when a license
holder is attempting to store a handgun while heading to class. It is all-too easy to imagine that there will
be days when a license holder is running a bit late and thus will be less cautious in storing the handgun.
This substantially raises the risk of accidental discharges on campus.
A person need not be a firearms expert to understand that the handling of the handgun, not the storing of the
handgun, is what makes gun lockers an unsafe option. Expecting license holders to not only handle but
manipulate (i.e., load and unload) their handguns in campus parking lots or in discrete alcoves on the edge of
campus not only duplicates all of the risks of gun lockers but magnifies those risks to the power of ten. If
expecting a rushed student to slip a gun into a locker is unsafe, expecting a rushed student to unload a gun
borders on criminal negligence.
Near the end of the discussion, Regent Vice Chairman Jeffery Hildebrand proposed three motions:
1. Doing away with UT-Austin's empty-chamber requirement.
2. Requiring that any UT-Austin office occupant seeking to designate his or her office as a "gun-free" zone be
required to present a "reasonable justification" to the university president and obtain the approval of the
3. Requiring all 14 campuses in the UT System to adopt a policy requiring that any handgun carried by a
licensed student or employee be carried in a holster that completely covers the trigger guard and that
provides sufficient tension to retain the weapon even if unexpectedly jostled.
Students for Concealed Carry supports all three of these motions, with two caveats:
1. Motion number two should be amended to include some form of strict scrutiny so that the university
president does not become a rubber stamp for any member of the campus community who wants a "gun-
free" office. If the regents are not comfortable with Regent Brenda Pejovich's recommended language,
which would duplicate the Texas A&M language requiring that the occupant of the office demonstrate
"that the carrying of a concealed handgun by a license holder in the office presents a significant
risk of substantial harm due to a negligent discharge of the handgun," we ask that the occupant
of the office at least be required to demonstrate a unique risk or threat that cannot be claimed
by a significant number of his or her colleagues. (Remember, per the policy approved by
President Fenves, designating an office as "gun-free" will not enable the occupant to avoid
uncomfortable or heated discussions—for example, informing a student that he or she has failed
a class—with lawfully armed license holders).
2. Motion number two should be amended to require that any "gun-free" office be posted with a valid 30.06
sign (which, as previously noted, can be as small as 12" x 18").
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, "Contrary to what some might think, SCC is not
planning to sue every university that enacts a campus carry policy with which we disagree. No other university has
approved a policy so egregious that we feel litigation is necessary; therefore, it is particularly galling that UT-
Austin has approved two such policies. Thankfully, Thursday's meeting of the board of regents was very
encouraging, and we are now cautiously optimistic that the UT System will pull us all back from the precipice."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 05/15/2016
UT-Austin's Double Standard for Private Offices
AUSTIN, TX - If officials at the University of Texas at Austin believe that university employees are entitled to the
"autonomy" to prohibit licensed concealed carry in on-campus offices, why has the university never adopted a
policy allowing employees the autonomy to allow licensed concealed carry in on-campus offices?
Under the old state law prohibiting guns on campus, which remains in effect until August 1, universities have the
authority to create "written regulations or written authorization" allowing concealed carry in a particular place or
by a particular person or group. If, as UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves and the university's campus carry policy
working group claim, there is legal precedent guaranteeing government employees autonomy in their offices, why
would that autonomy encompass the right to prohibit concealed carry but not the right to allow it?
In their final report, the working group defends their proposed gun-free-offices policy, stating, "We believe this
policy is consistent with Texas House of Representatives Policy and Procedure Manual § 3.14, which provides that
House members may control access to their offices and may, at their discretion, exclude visitors." What the
working group doesn't mention is that, although a member of the Texas House may prohibit a person from
entering the member's office, the member may not prohibit licensed concealed carry in the office. State law
explicitly states that a policy or proclamation prohibiting concealed carry in a House member's office would not
only have no force of criminal law—per Texas Penal Code Section 30.06(e)—but also be a direct violation of Texas
Government Code Section 411.209, punishable by a civil penalty of $1,000-$1,500/day for the first offense and
$10,000-$10,500/day for each subsequent offense. The reality is that the UT-Austin policy could hardly be less
consistent with Texas House policy.
The working group also cites O’Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987), in which the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed
that government employees enjoy Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure in
their offices. However, enjoying Fourth Amendment rights is not the same as enjoying complete autonomy.
Nothing in the court's ruling or in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution exempts a government-
employed occupant of a government-owned office from a rule or regulation that lawfully applies to every other
If UT-Austin officials don't see anything wrong with prohibiting concealed carry in every employee's offices, and
if—as noted in previous SCC press releases—UT-Austin officials see nothing wrong with prohibiting an employee
from using chewing tobacco or engaging in sexual relationships with adult students in his or her office, why are
officials suddenly claiming that a university employee has a constitutionally protected right to autonomy in his or
SCC Southwest Director Antonia Okafor commented, "Whereas the Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry
takes great care to avoid claiming constitutional rights that have not been affirmed by the Supreme Court, UT-
Austin officials seem more than willing to play fast and loose with the Constitution if doing so serves their self-
That self-interest is alluded to in the footnotes of the working group's final report:
We note, however, that this recommendation, although phrased in terms of the right of an occupant,
would favor faculty over staff and students. While there are staff members and even some students who
occupy offices on campus to which they are solely assigned, a faculty member is much more likely to have
an office of which he or she is the sole occupant. This recommended rule, therefore, would have the
overall effect of giving faculty members more control over their work environment than staff or students
would enjoy. Our concern is that this policy will perpetuate structural inequalities between faculty and
staff members at UT Austin.
Why would the working group endorse a policy that will "perpetuate structural inequalities between faculty and
staff"? The answer is simple—although most UT-Austin employees do not have a private office, almost all
members of the campus carry working group do. (NOTE: The working group has gone on record as saying that no
member of the group supports campus carry.) In simplest terms, the working group couched a self-serving policy
in bogus legalese.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 05/19/2016
How did a UTPD officer shoot himself in the leg?
AUSTIN, TX - The University of Texas Police Department is being surprisingly tight-lipped about the cause of an
unintentional shooting that sent one of its officers to the hospital Tuesday morning. Anyone with extensive
firearms experience knows that the cause of an unintentional shooting—commonly referred to as an accidental or
negligent discharge—is seldom a mystery. The lack of information regarding this incident in which a UTPD officer
was shot in the leg with his own gun is all the more surprising in that it was reportedly witnessed by two other
According to the UT Police Department, the firearm involved is a Glock 22 .40-caliber pistol. Michael Cargill, the
owner of Central Texas Gun Works, an Austin-based shooting school and gun store, commented, "Rain, sleet, or
snow, [Glocks] don't go off unless you pull the trigger." He noted that a Glock pistol incorporates three
independent safety mechanisms to prevent the gun from firing unless the trigger is pulled. That three-part safety
system comprises an integrated trigger safety, an internal firing pin safety, and a drop safety.
The trigger safety is a small button-like lever built into the face of the trigger. The trigger cannot move rearward—
meaning the firing mechanism cannot be activated—until the lever is depressed. The firing pin safety is a steel pin
that blocks the firing pin channel, making it impossible for the firing pin to reach the chambered round of
ammunition until the trigger is pulled. The drop safety locks the firing pin in place until the trigger is pulled. All
three safeties are passive, or automatic, meaning the shooter does not have to manually activate or deactivate
them—they're always engaged until the trigger is pulled.
The result is that there is no conceivable way the officer's gun could have been made to fire by dropping or
jostling it and that it absolutely could not have gone off while simply sitting untouched in the officer's
department-approved holster. In simplest terms, the officer's gun was incapable of firing without the trigger being
UTPD's reluctance to acknowledge that the officer accidentally pulled the trigger was immediately mocked by gun
enthusiasts; however, the department's reticence to admit what happened raises a serious question. As Antonia
Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, put it, "Is it more likely that the University
of Texas Police Department is sitting on a multi-million dollar lawsuit over the first recorded incident of a Glock
magically discharging on its own or that the department doesn't want to admit that the officer's gun discharged
while he was performing the same type of risky gun manipulation that the university's proposed campus carry
policy would require license holders to perform on a daily basis?"
By creating the impression that the gun simply went off while sitting in the officer's holster, UTPD is generating
fodder for anti-campus carry activists whose lack of knowledge about firearms leads them to believe that the
university's proposed empty-chamber policy is safer than the method of carry taught by every police academy,
military branch, and civilian firearms school in the nation. However, the reality is that a modern handgun secured
in a proper holster will not discharge until and unless it is removed from the holster and that any policy requiring
license to carry (LTC) holders to unholster their firearms on or near campus will only increase the risk of
potentially deadly gun accidents.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 05/22/2016
The False Premise of #CocksNotGlocks
AUSTIN, TX - The website for the anti-campus carry #CocksNotGlocks protest claims that the point of the protest
is to illustrate the absurdity of laws under which UT-Austin students "would receive a citation for taking a dildo to
class before [they] would get in trouble for taking a gun to class"; however, the reality is that dildos are not
banned at UT-Austin and that, even under Texas Senate Bill 11, handguns will be much more heavily restricted on
the university campus than will sex toys.
This coming fall, University of Texas at Austin students opposed to the state's new campus carry law will protest
the law by hanging dildos from their backpacks. Although Students for Concealed Carry fully supports the right of
students to protest in this manner, SCC is compelled to point out that the #CocksNotGlocks protest is based on a
The basis for the claim that dildos are "illegal" on the UT-Austin campus is a Texas law stating, "A person commits
an offense if he intentionally or knowingly displays or distributes an obscene photograph, drawing, or similar
visual representation or other obscene material and is reckless about whether a person is present who will be
offended or alarmed by the display or distribution," and a university policy stating, "No person or organization will
distribute or display on the campus any writing or visual image, or engage in any public performance, that is
Although a phallic sex toy could conceivably be ruled "obscene," a ban on the display or distribution of an object is
not the same as a ban on the object itself. Every student at UT-Austin currently has and will retain the right (under
school policy and all applicable laws) to possess a dildo on the university campus. However, under the campus
carry law, anyone other than a law enforcement officer or licensed adult (age 21 or above) who possesses a
handgun on campus will be guilty of a third-degree felony punishable by ten years in prison, a $10,000 fine, a
mandatory lifetime prohibition against obtaining a license to carry, and a mandatory federal lifetime prohibition
against owning a gun.
A student who displays obscene material on the UT-Austin campus is in violation of a petty crime punishable by a
$500 fine. Under the campus carry law, a license holder who displays a handgun on the UT-Austin campus will be
guilty of a serious crime punishable by a year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and a mandatory five-year revocation of the
offender's license to carry.
Last but not least, university officials have clearly stated that the display of dildos in protest of campus carry is a
constitutionally protected expression of free speech and that neither campus law enforcement nor school officials
will take any action against students who participate in the protest. There is no such exception to the policies and
laws against the display of handguns on campus.
Students who oppose campus carry have every right to carry dildos in protest; however, they have no basis to
claim that those dildos are somehow more heavily regulated than are the concealed handguns carried by trained,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 05/24/2016
Jefferson and Madison: The Anti-Campus Carry Meme that Won't Die
AUSTIN, TX - Based on the frequency with which the talking point is repeated on social media, anti-campus carry
activists seem to think they've landed a knockout blow by noting that in 1824 Thomas Jefferson and James
Madison voted to prohibit students from possessing guns at the University of Virginia. Presumably, the activists
(including the nation's largest gun control conglomerate) parroting this meme think the national debate over
campus carry hinges on whether two Founding Fathers thought there should be some restrictions on firearms on
a university campus. However, contrary to what the individuals and groups celebrating this discovery seem to
believe, the only thing they've proved is that they understand neither the issue at hand nor the almost two-
hundred-year-old policy decision they've chosen to trumpet.
It would be easy enough to dismiss this revelation by pointing out that Jefferson and Madison never voted on the
licensed, concealed carry of handguns—a concept that did not yet exist in 1824—but, instead, voted to approve a
comprehensive code of conduct prohibiting (unlicensed, unvetted) students (of every age) from possessing a host
of items ranging from horses to menservants to "weapons or arms of any kind." However, merely pointing out
the differences between what Jefferson and Madison voted on and the type of campus carry law passed by the
Texas Legislature doesn't acknowledge the deeper flaw in these activists' reasoning.
Since its founding in 2007, the Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry has put out enough press releases
and op-eds to rival the word count of a medium-sized novel. Yet one thing conspicuously absent from those pages
is an absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment. The case made by SCC and accepted by the Texas
Legislature does not include, much less hinge on, the notion that campus carry is a right endorsed by the Founding
Fathers or guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. That is a question for a higher court than our own; therefore, we
choose to focus on the pragmatic, day-to-day considerations of allowing licensed concealed carry on Texas college
This isn't to say that SCC's leaders and members aren't strong supporters of the Second Amendment or that none
of them ever use the phrase "Second Amendment rights" as an epithet for "gun rights," but you won't find a
single essay, press release, op-ed, or formal testimony from Texas Students for Concealed Carry that addresses
the question of whether Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or any other Founding Father wanted guns on college
campuses. What you will find are page after page of facts and statistics regarding licensed concealed carry in
Texas and on the U.S. college campuses that already allow it. You'll also find pages upon pages of logically sound
rhetoric about why licensed concealed carry is unlikely to be more of a problem on Texas college campuses than
it is anywhere else.
The fact that opponents of campus carry must resort to this type of straw man argument suggests that their
quivers are relatively empty compared to those of us on the other side of the battle. Without evidence that
licensed concealed carry makes college campuses less safe, they’re forced to emphasize that campus carry
doesn't statistically lower crime rates (another straw man argument), that the 96.3% of the population without a
license to carry stops more crimes than the 3.7% of the population with a license to carry, and that students who
carry guns illegally are more likely to engage in risky behavior than are students who don't carry guns at all.
While our opponents struggle to decide whether their next self-published article should be titled, "Campus carry
still not proven to cure cancer," or, "Study concludes that guns contribute to high death toll in Syria," Students for
Concealed Carry will continue to examine the facts of the issue at hand.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 06/02/2016
Texas Students for Concealed Carry: Response to Shooting at UCLA
AUSTIN, TX - For the past nine years, Students for Concealed Carry has consistently made the case that
college campuses are not immune to violent crime and that vetted, licensed adults should, therefore,
enjoy the same measure of personal protection on campus that they’re allowed virtually everywhere
else. Yet every time there is a shooting at a supposedly "gun-free" college or university, opponents of
campus carry point to the incident as if it somehow proves the dangers of laws and policies allowing the
licensed, concealed carry of handguns at institutions of higher education—laws and policies that clearly
played no part in a shooting on a "gun-free" campus.
Immediately following the first reports of Wednesday's murder-suicide at the University of California,
Los Angeles (UCLA), the blogosphere and social media lit up with claims that this murder of a university
professor, by a student who then took his own life, somehow proves that Texas' campus carry law,
which takes effect August 1, places professors in the crosshairs of students agitated about failing grades
or controversial classroom lectures. The people who espouse that view are unswayed by the fact that
this shooting took place in a state that recently made it a crime for a license holder to possess a gun on a
university campus; the fact that none of the 100+ U.S. college campuses that allow licensed concealed
carry has seen a single resulting murder, suicide, assault, or suicide attempt; or the fact that most
colleges and universities lack any type of screening measure to prevent someone (e.g., a disgruntled
student intent on shooting a professor) from bringing a gun onto campus illegally. If this premeditated
shooting at UCLA calls any policies or laws into question, it is the policies and laws denying law-abiding
professors the means to defend themselves where they’re most vulnerable.
Michael Newbern, assistant director of public relations for Students for Concealed Carry and a part-time
instructor of engineering economics at Ohio State University, commented, "Many opponents of campus
carry live so far inside the bubble that every campus shooting, no matter the circumstances, reinforces
their simplistic view that guns plus college equals tragedy. At Students for Concealed Carry, we prefer to
look at the specific circumstances of a shooting and the totality of the evidence regarding campus carry.
Our sympathies are with the families and friends touched by this tragedy, but we will not sit idly by while
this incident is misconstrued as somehow reflecting lawful campus carry.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 06/02/2016
Facts of UCLA Shooting Undermine Comparisons to Texas Campus Carry Law
AUSTIN, TX - After opponents of campus carry spent much of Wednesday claiming that the shooting of a
professor at UCLA proves that students upset over grades are liable to snap and turn violent, police
reported Thursday that the gunman was himself a doctor of engineering and that he began his killing
spree almost 2,000 miles away in Minnesota and then drove to Los Angeles with the express intent of
targeting the murdered professor. Reports state that the body of an earlier victim has been located in
Minnesota and suggest that the killing stemmed from an intellectual property dispute involving research
on which the killer and the UCLA professor collaborated.
Michael Newbern, assistant director of public relations for Students for Concealed Carry and a part-time
instructor of engineering economics at Ohio State University, commented, "This killer traveled 1,900
miles—the equivalent of crossing Texas three times—yet opponents of campus carry want to point to
this incident as evidence that Texas professors would be safer if licensed students were still required to
leave their guns in their cars. Let's stop pretending that a 'gun-free' zone is going to stop a determined
killer or that the only thing stopping licensed, carefully vetted students from killing their professors is a
short walk to the parking lot."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 06/03/2016
An Exercise for Professors Afraid of Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX - Here is a fun exercise for Texas professors nervous about the state's new campus carry law:
You can estimate the number of times you'll be shot by LTC-holding students in the coming year, by
taking the number of times you were assaulted by students during the previous year and dividing that
number by 800. This isn't a purely scientific analysis of the issue, but for those who care to play along, it
does offer some insight into the level of risk posed by campus carry.
Professors, if you want the most accurate results, you should count only assaults that involved a deadly
weapon (e.g., a laptop computer wielded like a club; a pair of scissors used as a shiv; basically, anything
that had the potential to maim or kill); however, if you choose to include unarmed assaults, you won’t
see too much deviation in your results.
Statistically, only about 0.68% of Texans of typical college age (18-23) are licensed to carry a handgun, so
we'll estimate that 0.75% of your students are license to carry (LTC) holders. Because statistics show that
LTC holders commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at 1/6 (16.7%) the rate of the general
population, we can estimate that 0.125% (0.0075 x 0.167) of last year's student-led assaults against you
were committed by LTC holders.
This allows us to estimate that for every 800 (1 ÷ 0.00125) times you were assaulted by a student (with a
deadly weapon) during the previous school year, you will be assaulted by one LTC-holding student in the
coming year. There is no guarantee that the LTC-holding student will shoot you rather than throw yet
another laptop at you, but this gives you a ballpark figure to work with.
So, professor, what number did you get?
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Professors
opposed to campus carry argue that they frequently deal with disgruntled or distressed students, yet
these professors never mention how frequently they're assaulted by those students. Unless we're to
believe that a student who'll use a gun in anger won't throw a punch in anger, university police logs
must show assaults on professors to be a daily occurrence. Otherwise, this moral panic over campus
carry is much ado about nothing."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 06/09/2016
Students for Concealed Carry Issues Brief to Texas Attorney General
AUSTIN, TX - Students for Concealed Carry has issued a brief to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in
response to opinion request RQ-0109-KP by Texas Representative Abel Herrero (D-Corpus Christi),
chairman of the House Committee on Jurisprudence, regarding the authority of a junior or community
college to prohibit the carrying of handguns in classrooms or other areas where minors attend class or
are routinely present.
The full brief is available here: http://tinyurl.com/scc-tx-ag-brief
Concealed Carry Won’t Change College Campuses
June 17, 2016
by Antonia Okafor
Special to Inside Sources
A young African-American woman with black framed glasses stands to ask her question. “I am
outspoken,” she says, eliciting laughter and nods from the women around her, “and my question is,
should someone like me, opinionated as I am, be concerned about campus carry?”
This question, asked of me during a June 5 panel discussion at the University of Texas at Austin, reflects
the latest tack of anti-campus carry activists. Unable to present factual evidence that the licensed,
concealed carry of handguns makes college campuses less safe, they’ve turned to the argument that the
law makes it difficult, nay impossible, for academics to debate controversial ideas. This is the latest
iteration of opponents’ ever-changing strategy to combat what is commonly known as “campus carry.”
During the 2015 Texas legislative session, Everytown for Gun Safety ran a TV commercial warning Texans
that the then-pending campus carry law would “force colleges to allow guns” at “frat parties.” Members
of the group’s grassroots division Moms Demand Action visited the capitol and delivered pingpong balls
and red plastic cups to lawmakers, along with notes asserting that guns and beer pong don’t mix.
That tactic fell apart when UT-Austin’s campus carry policy working group pointed out that the new law
“does not affect fraternity or sorority houses or other private residential facilities” — the locations
where almost all college parties occur.
During the fall of 2015, the group Gun Free UT testified at campus forums that campus carry has been
proven to lead to an increase in sexual assaults and that — despite the fact that the new law won’t
change who can own a gun or possess a gun in a car parked on campus — it will greatly increase the risk
of student suicides.
Then the university’s working group issued a report stating, “We found that the evidence does not
support the claim that a 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
The argument that campus carry will lead to violence is flimsy at best. More than 100 U.S. college
campuses have allowed licensed concealed carry for an average of more than six years, with no reports
of resulting threats, assaults, suicide attempts or fatalities. The UT-Austin working group reported, “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.”
Opponents briefly tried arguing that campus carry is a multi-million dollar unfunded mandate on public
universities, but that argument fell apart when the chancellors of the state’s university systems testified
before the Texas Senate that the new law is expected to constitute a very minimal expense.
With few options left, opponents struggled to settle on a new tactic. Gun Free UT briefly tried rallying
support behind the idea that campus carry is a subversive display of “white male power” intended to
“push back against the Civil Rights Movement.” I put that nonsense to rest by pointing out that, as a
black woman, I’m not interested in promoting white male power or pushing back against the Civil Rights
Movement; I just want the means to protect myself.
After much deliberation and many missteps, opponents finally settled on a new strategy — they would
claim that campus carry threatens their First Amendment right to freedom of speech and, therefore,
impedes the core mission of an institution of higher education.
Despite UT-Austin’s working group report stating, “We reached out to 17 research universities in the
seven campus-carry states. … Most respondents reported that campus carry had not had much direct
impact on student life or academic affairs,” the argument that concealed carry threatens the very fabric
of higher education was chosen as the anti-campus carry movement’s Hail Mary play.
In reality, academics already have no way of knowing if someone is carrying a gun in class. Given that
Texas license to carry holders comprise less than 1 percent of undergraduates and are convicted of
aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at one-seventh the rate of unlicensed Texans, legally carried
guns aren’t the guns to worry about.
Just as anti-campus carry activists aren’t afraid to hold rallies in locations where concealed carry is
allowed, they won’t be afraid to have debates in classrooms where it’s allowed. Concealed carry hasn’t
changed the tenor of the Texas Capitol or any other location, and it won’t change Texas college
Antonia Okafor is southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/07/2016
Students for Concealed Carry Responds to Constitutional Challenge from UT-Austin Professors
AUSTIN, TX - The lawsuit filed yesterday by three professors at the University of Texas at Austin, in an
attempt to block the implementation of Texas’ impending campus carry law, is without legal precedent
or factual foundation. At best it is a Hail Mary pass; at worst it is an attempt to manipulate the UT board
of regents, which is scheduled to vote on the university's campus carry policies next week.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented:
The suit's suggestion that campus carry is “dangerously experimental” is, on its face, laughable.
Licensed concealed carry has been allowed throughout most of Texas for more than twenty
years, with no indication that it has led to an increase in violent crime or gun accidents. It's been
allowed on more than 100 U.S. college campuses for an average of seven years, without a single
report of a resulting assault, suicide attempt, or fatality of any kind. To put it in terms these
professors should understand, the clinical trials are over, and campus carry has been shown to
pose little risk to public safety.
The suit states, "Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or
restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to
Rather than comment on the absurd constitutional arguments raised by this lawsuit, SCC prefers to
leave that to the nation's legal experts and encourages news outlets to reach out to constitutional law
scholars, to get professional analysis of this desperate publicity stunt. With regard to the claim that
students will be allowed to carry guns "without any limitation or restriction," SCC is compelled to point
out that Texas law places many restrictions on who can obtain a license to carry (LTC) a handgun and
that fewer than 1% of undergraduates are estimated to possess an LTC. Furthermore, the campus carry
law allows college/university presidents discretion to create limited "gun-free" zones in areas deemed
The notion that three professors whose jobs were never impeded by the fact that any student might be
carrying a gun illegally will suddenly have their jobs impeded by the fact that one student out of every
hundred might—after having passed an extensive vetting process—be carrying a gun legally is nothing
more than posturing on the part of activists who disagree with the new law.
The plaintiffs’ case reads more like a legislative argument than a judicial argument. Although their
complaint is loosely couched in constitutional language, they’re really just asking a federal judge to
second-guess the wisdom of the Texas Legislature. Their only evidence that the new law will make them
less safe is a vague—and obvious—assertion that students sometimes get upset. But here is a reality
check: People also get upset at the driver's license office, the property tax office, and the Texas Capitol—
three of the many state facilities where licensed concealed carry is allowed by state law and where
employees have no authority to designate their personal workspaces as "gun-free" zones.
In simplest terms, the plaintiffs in this case have no case. The facts on which the Texas Legislature based
its decision to pass Texas Senate Bill 11 are sound, and the irrational fears of a few professors who've
spent too much time in the ivory tower bubble are not sufficient cause for a federal court to overturn a
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/12/2016
Armed Citizens and the 1966 University of Texas Sniper Attack (RE-RELEASE)
Students for Concealed Carry is re-releasing this statement, which first appeared as an Oct. 30, 2015,
post to the Students for Concealed Carry blog, in response to recent news coverage of both the July 7
sniper attacks in Dallas and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the UT-Austin sniper attack.
AUSTIN, TX - The August 1, 1966, sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin bears little resemblance to
more-recent campus shooting sprees (e.g., Virginia Tech and Umpqua Community College). Rather than walking
from classroom to classroom, executing victims, the shooter used a scoped rifle to pick off victims from an
elevated position. Police officers on the ground quickly realized that their handguns were of little use against a
sniper barricaded in a tower.
Of all the college massacres that have occurred in the U.S., the UT tower shooting is among the least relevant to
the current debate over legalizing the licensed concealed carry of handguns on college campuses (aka “campus
carry”). However, anti-campus carry advocates are now twisting one element of this tragedy, trying to use it as
evidence that more guns invariably equal more problems.
Within the past year, anti-campus carry activists have begun claiming that the citizens who used hunting rifles to
return fire at the UT sniper prevented first responders from reaching wounded victims on the ground. This claim,
which seems to have first appeared more than 46 years after the shooting, comes from Claire Wilson James, the
first person shot during the attack. During the 2013 and 2015 Texas Legislative Session, James testified before
legislative committees, in opposition to Texas’s then-pending campus carry legislation. During her testimony, she
made the now widely repeated claim that armed citizens impeded her rescue.
In an interview conducted a few weeks after her 2013 testimony, James said, “I’ve heard from the police that
stopped [the shooter] that day that [the armed citizens] actually made the situation more dangerous and put the
people who were trying to save us at risk.”
This claim doesn’t show up in other accounts of the incident, and the same interview includes some rather bizarre
statements from James. She says, “We need to have a universal background check before someone can carry a
concealed weapon”; however, in reality, an applicant for a Texas concealed handgun license undergoes state and
FBI fingerprint and background checks that far exceed any proposed universal background check system. She also
says, “[The shooter] aimed for the chest of his victims … to kill them, but he aimed at my stomach” (James was
eight months pregnant at the time; her baby did not survive); however, the shooter, who shot James from an
elevated position while she was moving, was killed in the standoff and never had a chance to tell anyone where
he was aiming.
James’s claim that the armed citizens impeded first responders is contradicted by other eyewitnesses (including
Ramiro Martinez, one of the three police officers who, along with an armed citizen, stormed the tower) who
credit the armed citizens with preventing greater loss of life.
One of the most comprehensive collections of eyewitness testimony on the UT sniper attack is “96 Minutes,” a
2006 ‘Texas Monthly’ article by Pamela Colloff. In the article, Colloff shares the accounts of numerous
eyewitnesses, including James. If James said anything to Colloff about the armed citizens impeding her rescue,
Colloff—who dedicates several paragraphs to eyewitness accounts of the armed citizens—neglected to include it
in the article.
Colloff does, however, include this quote from Bill Helmer, a writer who was a graduate student at UT-Austin
when he witnessed the shooting: “I remember thinking, ‘All we need is a bunch of idiots running around with
rifles.’ But what they did turned out to be brilliant. Once [the sniper] could no longer lean over the edge and fire,
he was much more limited in what he could do. He had to shoot through those drain spouts, or he had to pop up
real fast and then dive down again. That’s why he did most of his damage in the first twenty minutes.”
Claire Wilson James’s story, like the stories of the other victims from that day, is tragic. The story of hunters
stepping up to assist an outgunned police force (at that time, Austin had no SWAT team, and officers did not
routinely carry rifles in their squad cars) is an intriguing historical footnote. However, neither the tragedy that
befell James nor the actions of the armed citizens who tried to stop the shooter has much to do with a law
allowing the licensed concealed carry of handguns on Texas college campuses.
Whereas the UT sniper attack lasted 96 minutes, a typical shootout (the kind not involving an assailant firing from
a highly elevated, fortified position hundreds of yards away) lasts only three to ten seconds. Whereas one witness
to the sniper attack recalled, “It seemed like every other guy had a rifle,” Texas Department of Public Safety
statistics suggest that the rate of concealed handgun licensure among Texas college students is less than 1%.
Unlike the armed citizens who rushed toward the UT tower, Texas CHL holders are taught to move away from
danger and avoid interfering in any incident that doesn’t already involve them. Although the armed citizens who
responded to the UT sniper attack were free to rush about campus with their rifles on full display, Texas’s new
campus carry law will requires CHL holders to keep their handguns concealed until and unless they encounter an
immediate threat (the sound of gunshots in the distance does not constitute an immediate threat).
Given that Claire Wilson James’s account seems to be the only eyewitness account suggesting that armed citizens
impeded the rescue of victims, given that James apparently didn’t make this claim until the Texas Legislature
began considering campus carry legislation, and given that simple physics shows that gunfire aimed at the Tower's
231-foot-high observation deck would pose little threat to first responders on the ground, her claim seems
dubious at best. And given that the UT sniper attack was not the type of attack against which a CHL holder might
easily make a difference and that the armed citizens who responded with rifles were not CHL holders (Texas didn’t
begin issuing CHLs until 1996) and had likely never received instruction in how to handle such a situation, this
incident is a very poor indicator of how campus carry might impact a campus shooting.
NOTE: The coinciding of the August 1 effective date of Texas Senate Bill 11 (campus carry) and the 50th anniversary
of the UT sniper attack is an unfortunate coincidence. When the conference committee that reconciled the House
and Senate versions of the bill decided to push back the bill’s effective date, they wanted the new date to precede
the mid- to late-August start of the 2016 fall semester. The first of the month seemed like an obvious choice.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/13/2016
SCC's Statement on the University of Texas System Board of Regents' July 13 Votes on Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX - On July 13, the University of Texas System board of regents clearly demonstrated that its
members have not read, much less given serious consideration to, the arguments and written
statements provided to the regents by Students for Concealed Carry. In discussing the UT-Austin policy
that would allow occupants of private offices to designate those offices as criminally enforceable "gun-
free" zones, the regents repeated—without challenge—several anti-campus carry talking points that SCC
thoroughly debunked in statements delivered to the regents via both email and fax.
Despite SCC's clear evidence to the contrary, UT Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster repeated the bogus
anti-campus carry talking point that the gun-free zone sign required by Texas Penal Code Section 30.06
must be two feet wide by three feet tall in order to be enforceable. In reality, an enforceable 30.06 sign
can be as small as 12 inches by 18 inches.
Likewise, despite SCC's clear evidence to the contrary, the regents accepted—without challenge—UT-
Austin President Gregory Fenves' false assertion that an office designated "gun-free" by the occupant is
"gun-free" to all license holders, including the occupant. In reality, a person authorized to give 30.06
notice can give or withhold that notice at his or her discretion, creating one class of license holder for
whom concealed carry is legal and a second class of license holder for whom concealed carry is
punishable by a year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and a mandatory five-year revocation of the person's license
to carry a handgun.
At no point did any of the regents raise the point that this gun-free-offices policy will make it impossible
for many if not most license holders at the University of Texas at Austin to carry concealed handguns on
the campus of the institution. At no point did any of the regents ask why, if UT-Austin believes so firmly
in a person's right to autonomy in his or her private office, did the university not previously adopt a
policy granting office occupants the authority to allow licensed concealed carry in their private offices.
At no point did a regent question why the employees at a single state university should be the only
Texas state employees authorized to arbitrarily criminalize licensed concealed carry in their workspaces.
Thankfully, input from the UT System's own law enforcement experts was enough to persuade the
regents to strike down the university's absurd empty-chamber policy. However, striking down only the
empty-chamber policy is a half measure. As long as the gun-free-offices policy stands, the university
remains out of compliance with both the letter and intent of Texas Senate Bill 11.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Now that
the University of Texas System has shown that it cannot be trusted to follow the letter and intent of
Texas' campus carry law, licensed students, faculty, and staff must turn to the courts for enforcement
and to the Legislature for a page-one rewrite to strip universities of this measure of discretion with
which they clearly cannot be trusted."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/18/2016
UT-Austin’s Campus Carry Policy Demonstrates That Local Control of Campus Carry Won't Work
AUSTIN, TX - After the Texas Legislature granted public institutions of higher education the authority to create
reasonable campus carry regulations, officials at the state's largest university demonstrated that they don't know
the meaning of "reasonable." By upholding a policy allowing occupants of private offices at the University of Texas
at Austin to designate those offices as criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones, the University of Texas System
board of regents joined UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves and the UT-Austin campus carry policy working group
in disregarding both the facts of the issue and the intent of the campus carry law. Now the Texas Legislature must
act to revoke universities' rulemaking authority and place control of the law back where it belongs—in the hands
Like President Fenves and his campus carry working group, the UT regents not only discounted but failed to even
consider factual evidence and logical arguments demonstrating that the proposed gun-free-offices policy would
prohibit many if not most license to carry (LTC)/concealed handgun license (CHL) holders at UT-Austin from
carrying concealed handguns on campus, would place those license holders who do carry on campus at risk of
unwittingly committing a serious crime with serious consequences, would require those license holders who do
carry on campus to self-identify as armed license holders to their professors and/or employers, would delegate to
UT-Austin employees a measure of authority not shared by any other state employee, would embroil the
university in costly lawsuits, and would not prevent faculty from having to issue bad grades or bad news to
lawfully armed students.
Students for Concealed Carry therefore calls on the Texas Legislature to amend Texas Government Code Section
411.2031 to strip public institutions of higher education of discretionary authority over campus carry.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "The Texas Legislature
gave universities enough rope to either steer their own ships or hang themselves from the yardarm, and the
University of Texas at Austin chose to hang itself. Now the people of Texas want their rope back."
All SCC Statements Regarding UT-Austin's Gun-Free-Offices Policy: http://tinyurl.com/scc-on-gun-free-
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/25/2016
The Campus Carry Debate Isn't as Simple as Guns Versus No Guns
AUSTIN, TX - Since the earliest days of the nearly decade-long debate over allowing concealed carry on Texas
college campuses, opponents of the idea have clung to the mistaken belief that the debate is about whether a
campus with guns is more or less safe than a campus without guns. They apparently find it easier to wrap their
heads around the simple dichotomy of 'guns versus no guns' than to grasp the nuance of a debate about whether
criminals should be the only ones carrying guns on campus or whether vetted, licensed adults should be allowed
the same measure of personal protection on campus that they're already allowed virtually everywhere else.
Recently, this simplistic 'guns versus no guns' view has manifested itself in opponents' assertion that the
confusion caused by protesters who were openly carrying rifles when a sniper attacked a Black Lives Matter
protest in Dallas proves the dangers of campus carry. In a July 25 column in The Tribune of Humble, Tex., Dave
Some of the people marching in the Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas July 8 -- when five cops were killed
and seven others were injured, plus two civilians -- were carrying assault rifles.
Suspecting that the gun-toters might be involved in the ambush on the cops, a picture of one of them was
put up by the police on social media, to help track him down. It gained national attention.
Fortunately, he and the other gun-toting marchers weren't taken out by law enforcement.
So, now, allowing more guns on campus. Will it help prevent violence, or help subdue it if it occurs?
In an interview published July 22 on the blog CultureMap Austin, bestselling author Elizabeth Crook, whose 2014
novel Monday, Monday depicts a fictionalized account of the August 1, 1966, sniper attack at the University of
Texas at Austin, states, "As for campus carry, I absolutely do not think it will deter random acts of violence, I think
it’s pretty certain to create them. We saw during the recent horrendous shooting of police in Dallas how armed
civilians endangered themselves, confused police, and were of course utterly ineffective in stopping the sniper."
To these people it makes no difference that the armed citizens who caused confusion for Dallas police were
carrying rifles, not handguns; that the guns were carried openly, not concealed; that the guns—at least some of
which were purportedly unloaded—were carried as a form of protest, not as a measure of self-defense; that
proponents of campus carry have never claimed that the licensed, concealed carry of handguns offers defense
against a sniper firing from a concealed position; that concealed carry is about personal protection, not public
protection; or that Texas license to carry (LTC) holders are taught to move away from the sound of gunfire and
stay out of the way of police.
As is the case with opponents who point to the 1966 University of Texas sniper attack as evidence that campus
carry is a bad idea, those who point to the July 7 sniper attack on Dallas police understand neither the facts of the
referenced crime nor the real arguments behind campus carry.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, “Only after opponents
realize that the campus carry debate isn't as simple as 'guns versus no guns' will we, as a society, be able to have
an intellectual, fact-based conversation about this deeply nuanced issue.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/28/2016
Campus Carry and the University of Texas: Unfortunate Timing and Revisionist History
AUSTIN, TX - Nobody in the Texas Legislature ever intended for the effective date of the state's campus carry law
to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1966 tower shooting at the University of Texas at Austin. The
selection of August 1, 2016, as the effective date for Texas Senate Bill 11 was part of a compromise worked out by
the ten-member conference committee tasked with reconciling differences between the House and Senate
versions of the bill.
The version passed by the Texas Senate established an effective date of September 1, 2015. The version passed by
the House established an effective date of September 1, 2016. The conference committee agreed to a
compromise whereby the bill would take effect in 2016 but before the mid- to late-August start of most fall
semesters, so as to avoid having the law change days or weeks after the start of classes. Because new laws
typically go into effect on the first of the month, the committee settled on an effective date of August 1, 2016,
and that change was ratified by both chambers of the Texas Legislature.
With a bit more time to consider the matter, one of the 181 Texas legislators might have recognized August 1 as
the anniversary of UT-Austin's infamous tower shooting—the first mass shooting at a U.S. college—however, by
the time the conference committee report was issued to the full Legislature, lawmakers had less than 48 hours to
approve it, or the bill would die. Four days after the conference committee report was adopted and three days
after the Texas Legislature adjourned sine die, the Los Angeles Times reported that the campus carry bill would
take effect during the same month as the 50th anniversary of the tower shooting. It wasn't until four months later
that an article in the UT-Austin alumni magazine Alcalde brought public attention to the fact that the bill's
effective date and the 50th anniversary of the shooting are one and the same.
This unfortunate coinciding of dates could have been avoided by establishing an effective date of August 15—a
date that falls after the end of most summer sessions but before the start of most fall semesters—but, as the
saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Although it would be easy to blame Texas lawmakers for forgetting their state's
history, the reality is that even those of us who spend our days researching and writing about campus shootings
didn't notice the connection until it was pointed out to us. Months after the bill was passed, many of Texas' top
journalists learned about the connection for the first time. And in fairness to the Legislature, most people have
enough trouble remembering their loved ones' birthdays and wedding anniversaries, without trying to recall the
date of every mass shooting (at this point, it might be easier to remember the dates not associated with mass
Although the UT tower shooting holds a small place of significance for Students for Concealed Carry—it was the
subject of our first op-ed—it's also a source of continuous frustration. Despite the fact that a sniper firing from a
fortified position high above the ground is not the type of scenario against which a concealed handgun would be
of much use and despite the fact that Texas license to carry (LTC) holders are taught to move away from danger
and avoid interfering with police, the 1966 shooting has become a rallying cry for opponents of campus carry.
A form of revisionist history seeks to portray the armed citizens who used hunting rifles to pin down the sniper
that day as having done more harm than good. Such claims ignore the reports from that time and the firsthand
accounts of the people who were there.
In his 2005 autobiography They Call Me Ranger Ray, Ramiro Martinez—one of two Austin police officers credited
with shooting and killing the lone gunman responsible for the UT tower shooting—wrote:
I was and am still upset that more recognition has not been given to the citizens who pulled out their
hunting rifles and returned the sniper's fire. The City of Austin and the State of Texas should be forever
thankful and grateful to them because of the many lives they saved that day. The sniper did a lot of
damage when he could fire freely, but when the armed citizens began to return fire the sniper had to take
cover. He had to shoot out of the rainspouts and that limited his targets. I am grateful to the citizens
because they made my job easier.
In Pamela Colloff's 2006 Texas Monthly article "96 Minutes," Colloff quotes Bill Helmer, who was a UT-Austin
graduate student when he witnessed the shooting, as saying:
I remember thinking, “All we need is a bunch of idiots running around with rifles.” But what they
did turned out to be brilliant. Once he could no longer lean over the edge and fire, he was much
more limited in what he could do. He had to shoot through those drain spouts, or he had to pop
up real fast and then dive down again. That’s why he did most of his damage in the first twenty
On July 26, 2016, the Texas Tribune published an article on Allen Crum—the armed citizen who helped Ramiro
Martinez and two other officers storm the tower observation deck from which the shooter was firing. In the piece,
journalist Matthew Watkins writes, "[There’s] no question that Crum and the other vigilantes helped. In the days
after the shooting, Austin Police Chief Bob Miles said their gunfire helped pin Whitman down and likely limited
the number of victims."
The circumstances under which these armed citizens responded were unique to that time—a time when Austin
had no SWAT team or portable police radios and when keeping a hunting rifle in a dorm room was both legal and
socially acceptable. This incident in no way reflects how LTC holders, who are taught that their handguns are for
personal protection, not public protection, would or should respond to a modern-day active shooter situation.
Furthermore, there is no question that the riflemen—both average citizens and law enforcement—firing from the
ground created a hazard for the four brave responders who finally reached the observation deck more than an
hour and a half after the first shot rang out. However, for anti-campus carry activists to attempt to further their
agenda by retconning actions that, according to the key players, saved lives is at best unconscionable and at worst
Out of respect for the people impacted by the events of August 1, 1966, Students for Concealed Carry does not
plan to issue any public statements on August 1, 2016. We'll have many years to celebrate the legalization of
campus carry. For one day, Texas can focus on the seventeen lives lost and countless lives affected by the tragedy
fifty years ago.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 07/29/2016
A Short Reply to Ramiro Martinez, Regarding Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX - In a recent interview with USA Today, Ramiro Martinez, one of the two police officers credited with
shooting and killing the perpetrator of the August 1, 1966, tower shooting at the University of Texas at Austin,
offered an unfounded criticism of campus carry. Journalist Rick Jervis quotes Ramirez as saying, "[Campus carry is]
going to open up a Pandora’s box of problems in the future...We now have well-trained police departments to
cope with these problems. Someone running around trying to be a hero will only complicate things."
It's worth noting that, during his 31 years as a Texas police officer, Martinez never dealt with licensed concealed
carry or concealed handgun license holders. He retired in 1991, five years before Texas' concealed handgun
licensing law took effect. When the Texas Legislature debated the law in 1995, it was widely opposed by law
enforcement; however, those attitudes soon changed, both in Texas and across the nation.
A 2013 poll of almost 13,000 current and retired U.S. police officers found more than 91% in favor of concealed
carry. Those officers understand that license holders are significantly less likely to commit a violent crime (or a
crime of any kind) and pose much less threat to the safety of police than do unlicensed citizens.
Two years after Texas' concealed handgun licensing law took effect, Glenn White, then president of the Dallas
Police Association, told The Dallas Morning News, "I lobbied against the law in 1993 and 1995 because I thought it
would lead to wholesale armed conflict. That hasn't happened. All the horror stories I thought would come to
pass didn't happen. No bogeyman. I think it's worked out well, and that says good things about the citizens who
have permits. I'm a convert."
Unfortunately, Ramiro Martinez, who heaped praise on the armed citizens who pinned down the UT tower
shooter, never had a chance to become a convert, because he never had the pleasure of interacting—in a law
enforcement capacity—with Texas concealed handgun license (CHL)/license to carry (LTC) holders. If he had, he'd
understand that license holders are preempted—by their training, by an innate sense of self-preservation, and by
laws requiring license holders on college campuses to keep their handguns concealed unless and until they
encounter an immediate threat—from "running around trying to be a hero."
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "The people of Texas
and the University of Texas will always owe Mr. Martinez a debt of gratitude for his heroic actions on August 1,
1966, but his views on campus carry are rooted in ideas that are a quarter-century out of date."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/02/2016
To have their opinions respected, students must show they can function in the real world
AUSTIN, TX - Whether the topic is the presidential campaigns of Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders or the controversial
use of trigger warnings and "safe space" designations, the most common criticism of modern college students is
that we lack any experience with, understanding of, or ability to function in the "real world." Although such
criticism is often unfounded or based on half-truths, the editorial board of The Daily Texan—the student paper at
the University of Texas at Austin—recently played into those stereotypes with a temper tantrum suggesting that
the board doesn’t understand life outside of college and can't handle not getting their own way.
On a day when proponents of campus carry took a step back to let UT-Austin commemorate the 50th anniversary
of the 1966 tower shooting, the Texan editorial board published an overly emotional, poorly informed staff
editorial that vainly attempts to disguise the board's own hurt feelings as a call for unity and cooperation.
After listing the many student and faculty leaders and organizations who publicly opposed campus carry, the
editorial board self-importantly notes, "The Daily Texan’s opinion writers have written dozens of pieces on the
specifics of why this bill threatens our campus."
What they fail to note is how they covertly helped effect student and faculty opposition to the law, by repeatedly
refusing to publish well-researched op-eds supporting campus carry. At the same time they were publishing an
endless torrent of columns claiming that campus carry would negatively impact everything from race relations to
the safety of public restrooms, the editors of The Daily Texan were repeatedly fabricating reasons to reject
informed opinion pieces—pieces later published by major news publications—that logically and factually rebutted
the Texan party line.
The editorial goes on to declare, "Passing a bill with such great pushback from those who will actually suffer the
consequences is enough to leave many speechless."
If anything should render the Texan editorial board speechless, it's the fact that none of their hypothetical
consequences have been suffered by a single person on any of the more than 100 U.S. college campuses that have
long allowed Texas-style campus carry. After allowing campus carry for an average of seven years, not one of
those campuses has reported a single resulting murder, assault, suicide, suicide attempt, or fatality.
So determined is the editorial board to take petty digs at proponents of campus carry that they actually refer to
the perpetrator of the 1966 tower shooting as a "good guy with a gun." Never mind that by the time this
particular "good guy" began purchasing guns and ammo in preparation for his shooting spree, he'd already used a
knife to murder his wife and mother; The Daily Texan is less concerned with the facts than with using a silly pro-
gun platitude to mock campus carry.
Far from being a "good guy with a gun" who lost his temper because of a bad grade or became enraged when
someone disagreed with him in philosophy class, the tower shooter was a double murder whose very intent in
purchasing guns and coming to campus was the commission of mass murder.
The editorial board transitions from demonstrating pettiness to demonstrating ignorance, by solemnly
proclaiming, "When class begins on Aug. 24, we will also be learning how to live on a campus with concealed
weapons. Students unfamiliar with guns may find this a stressful experience, perhaps feeling less likely to attend
campus events or speak up in class out of fear."
In reality, University of Texas students who grew up in Texas have been around guns nearly every day since they
were born—at movie theaters, shopping malls, restaurants, churches, etc.—whether they realized it or not. For
students who grew up in states or countries with much stricter gun laws, the move to Texas was going to place
them in close proximity to guns—both off campus and in the parking lots and common outdoor areas of
campus—regardless of whether campus carry became the law of the land. And that's just the lawfully carried
Further demonstrating their own ignorance of life outside the ivory tower, the editorial board writes, "It takes law
enforcement officials hundreds of hours of training to be able to use a firearm properly. Even so, many are
woefully unprepared in crisis situations where they may need to de-escalate or not use lethal force. Expecting a
group of time-strapped 21-year-olds to surpass that standard is so frighteningly unrealistic that we feel
embarrassed to have to write about it."
They're right about one thing—they should feel embarrassed.
Firearms training for Texas law enforcement cadets doesn't last hundreds of hours—that's the length of the entire
police academy, including classes on driving a police car, using a police radio, applying handcuffs, issuing Miranda
warnings, etc. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement requires a minimum of 48 hours of combined handgun
and shotgun training, to obtain a basic peace officer commission. Put another way, the overall handgun training of
many rookie police officers is approximately eight times the length of the state-mandated license to carry (LTC)
Given that LTC holders carry guns so that they can get themselves out of danger and that police are expected to
rush into danger, that difference in training isn't quite as outlandish as The Daily Texan would have readers
believe. Furthermore, given that police are exponentially more likely to draw their weapons and that LTC holders
typically aren't called upon to conduct traffic stops, apprehend suspects, or handle any of the other law
enforcement duties that have the potential to rapidly escalate, the editorial board's emphasis on de-escalation
training—something that is included in the LTC course—is just one more indication that they're writing out of
Near the end of the piece, the editorial board questions whether LTC holders would be able to "respond
effectively" to "the very sorts of active shooter situations this law purportedly aims to address." They then suggest
that "gun advocates" are wrong in suggesting that "campus will be a safer place because of [campus carry]."
Had the editorial board seriously reviewed any of the press releases or op-eds they received from SCC, they'd
understand that campus carry is about personal protection, not campus protection. License holders aren't
amateur security guards tasked with defending the school against active shooters; they're average citizens who
desire the means to defend themselves.
Along those same lines, lowering crime rates—aka making campus safer—wasn't one of the generally accepted
talking points behind the passage of Texas' campus carry law. The new law isn't intended to make colleges
collectively safer; it's intended to ensure that license holders on campus are allowed the same measure of
personal protection they're allowed virtually everywhere else.
Whether the editorial board is deliberately attacking straw men or simply responding to a caricature of campus
carry advocates that exists only in the board's collective consciousness, their words disqualify them from any
serious discussion on this topic. Demagogues such as the Texan editorial board may have succeeded in
bamboozling campus communities, but the Texas Legislature recognized that the arguments put forth by anti-
campus carry activists are refuted by the state's official statistics and by the preponderance of peer-reviewed
studies on licensed concealed carry.
Even though campus carry is now the law of the land and even though the public is slowly accepting that licensed
concealed carry is unlikely to be more of a problem on Texas college campuses than throughout the rest of the
Lone Star State, The Daily Texan still opted for prejudice and pettiness over intelligent, respectful discourse. Let's
hope that's not what the University of Texas means when it says, "What starts here changes the world."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/03/2016
FOR THE RECORD: Students for Concealed Carry Was NOT Founded by and Is NOT Funded by Any Other
AUSTIN, TX - Becca Andrews, writing for Mother Jones, is the latest journalist to parrot anti-campus carry activists'
baseless conspiracy theory that Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) was secretly founded by one or more
established organizations within the conservative, tea party, and/or gun rights movements.
Since its earliest days, SCC has fervently denied such rumors and challenged the purveyors of such theories to
prove them. In March of this year, SCC offered $5,000 to any gun control organization that could prove such
allegations. Not a single organization even tried to collect.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Our opponents can't
beat us with facts or logic, so they try to beat us with ad hominem attacks. They keep losing in the statehouses
and courthouses, so they try to win in the court of public opinion. They're afraid that the image of a bunch of
college students using their spare cash and spare time to fight for equality engenders sympathy, so they try to
portray us as shills for some wealthy, corrupt lobby. There is no basis for these conspiracy theories, but that
doesn't stop hack journalists from repeating them as fact."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/04/2016
Students for Concealed Carry Files Complaint Against University of Texas System
AUSTIN, TX - On Thursday, August 4, 2016, Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) filed a formal complaint, pursuant
to Texas Government Code Section 411.209, with the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, regarding the gun-
free-office policies implemented by the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
The full complaint can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/scc-ut-complaint
At this time, SCC has no further comment on this matter.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/05/2016
Fourteen Months After Passage of SB 11, Opponents of Campus Carry Still Don't Understand the Law
AUSTIN, TX – Opponents of Texas' campus carry law have had well over a year to study the issue, yet many still
don't understand the law they're protesting. In an August 4 interview with Time Warner Cable News Austin, UT-
Austin senior Elyse Avina—founder of Students Against Campus Carry—described her apprehension about the
new law, saying, "It's definitely made me very anxious to walk into certain open areas of the campus."
In reality, Texas law has allowed the licensed, concealed carry of handguns in the "open areas" of the UT-Austin
campus—anywhere other than inside a campus building—since January 1, 1996. The "fear factor" experience by
Avina, a fourth-year rhetoric major, has far more to do with her own skewed perception of the law than with the
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/08/2016
Tamron Hall Misses the Point on Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX – Guns on Campus: Tamron Hall Investigates misrepresents both the arguments behind the passage of
Texas’ campus carry law and the talking points utilized by the nation’s largest campus carry advocacy group,
Students for Concealed Carry. The one-hour special, which aired August 7 on Investigation Discovery, misleadingly
suggests that campus carry is pitched as “the answer to keeping students safe.”
In the program devoted to answering the question “Do concealed weapons have a place on a college campus?”
NBC/MSNBC correspondent Tamron Hall claims that campus carry advocates argue that licensed concealed carry
should be permitted because licensed students could help police stop a mass shooter. This assertion is made
despite the fact that not one of the proponents interviewed or shown in footage from legislative hearings is seen
to make such a claim. Instead, proponents are shown reiterating the same argument Students for Concealed
Carry, the nation’s largest college-based campus carry advocacy group, makes in every public statement it
releases: Campus concealed carry is about ensuring that licensed individuals can practice the same measure of
self-defense on campus as they can off campus.
“It’s no surprise to me that Ms. Hall got it wrong,” says Allison Peregory, SCC Texas legislative director. “She never
personally spoke to me or any of our members. Instead, a producer was sent out to grab sound bites.”
The show featured short sound bites from Peregory and Jacob Williamson, a former SCC UT-Austin campus leader
who was tracked down by the producers after they weren’t satisfied with the spokespeople SCC provided.
Campus carry opponents received top billing, including personal interviews with Hall and the opportunity to
express their views at length. Newbern says this disparity exists despite the fact that several members of the
group’s national board and Texas team offered to make themselves available by phone, remote, or in person.
Throughout the special, Hall and her surrogates fail to challenge several factually inaccurate statements made by
opponents, such as the assertion that the effective date of Texas’s campus carry law was deliberately chosen to
coincide with the 50th anniversary of the UT-Austin tower shooting and the assertion that American soldiers
typically fire hundreds of thousands of rounds in training. Despite making time for these misstatements, the show
doesn’t make time for a single talking point used by SCC or its allies in the Texas Legislature.
Despite the fact that SCC doesn’t advocate students acting as amateur security guards to try to stop a mass
shooting, the show does highlight how armed citizens can help stop a mass shooting or, at the very least,
minimize loss of life. Alan Crum, a civilian who joined police in stopping the Texas Tower Sniper on August 1, 1966,
is discussed at length. However, the special suggests that his actions—which were not a talking point behind the
passage of Texas Senate Bill 11 and are not a talking point used by SCC—were one of the main arguments behind
the passage of the Texas law. The much more likely scenario of an armed citizen inadvertently helping others by
acting to help himself—as seen when Nick Meli took up a defensive position during the Clackamas Mall Shooting
(Portland, Ore.) and deterred the shooter from proceeding toward him and other potential victims—is never
“In fact, we’ve seen several instances where a potential victim has possibly reduced the carnage or stopped a
shooting from becoming the type of mass-casualty scenario Colin Goddard endured,” says Mike Newbern, SCC’s
Assistant Director of Public Relations.
Near the end of the special, Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting and a senior policy advocate for
Everytown for Gun Safety, describes the ordeal and how he was shot multiple times during the perpetrator’s 10-
to 12-minute rampage. Newbern contends, “Based on the fact that Colin had time to call 911 before he was shot,
it’s reasonable to believe that a trained, licensed students in possession of a concealed handgun could’ve drawn
that firearm and defended himself. Colin may be telling the truth that he personally could not have used a
handgun in that scenario, but it’s just not intellectually honest to say that nobody could have.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/24/2016
Students for Concealed Carry Embraces UT Dildos
AUSTIN, TX - In keeping with the organization's long-held position that individuals should enjoy the same rights on
college campuses as virtually everywhere else, Students for Concealed Carry fully endorses the burgeoning
movement of Texas college students who wish to openly carry oversized dildos on campus. Brian Bensimon, SCC
director for the state of Texas, commented, "If carrying a phallus to class helps you express yourself, go for it. We
welcome this demonstration that freedom of speech and concealed carry of handguns can coexist on the same
SCC does recommend, however, that students use their dildos for political or recreational purposes only. 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 into a building on campus. Bensimon added, "Although SCC's opinion shouldn't be
taken as legal advice, we feel that Texas students are on pretty solid legal ground as long as they use their dildos
only as expressions of free speech or for the manufacturers' intended purpose."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 08/25/2016
Anti-campus carry professors suffer delusions of being persecuted underdogs
It seems that no matter how hard we at Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) try to maintain civility with opponents
of campus carry, some of those opponents can't reciprocate with the same level of decorum. When anti-campus
carry activists organized a first-day-of-class protest at the University of Texas at Austin, SCC didn't rally allies to
stage a counter-protest or put out a statement reminding the media that protest organizers are factually wrong in
asserting that UT students "would receive a citation for taking a dildo to class before [they] would get in trouble
for taking a gun to class." Instead, SCC sent just two members to attend the event, with a message of unity.
However, that didn't stop one UT professor who spoke at the protest from slandering SCC.
After characterizing campus carry opponents—a roster including five universities that are among the twenty
largest employers in the Lone Star State, several other universities that are the largest employers in key Texas
Senate districts, and a national gun-control conglomerate that spent $80,000 on anti-campus carry TV ads in Texas
in 2015—as David in a David and Goliath battle against the powerful campus carry movement—a movement led
by an all-volunteer, student-led organization—Mia Carter, Ph.D., associate professor of English and one of three
plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit seeking to strike down the state’s campus carry law—said, "David’s going up against
faux student groups funded by the gun lobby [emphasis added]...The vision of a vibrant and safe public education
system in Texas is going to come from down here, from the grassroots, from the people who are not beholden to
the legislators with the destruction of public education on their agenda."
That's a whole lot of crazy in one statement. Not only does Doctor Carter espouse the same baseless conspiracy
theories about SCC's founding and funding that have thus far been the exclusive domain of activist-funded
tabloids and crackpot Internet trolls; she actually portrays the state's powerful university systems—which
succeeded for three consecutive sessions in blocking campus carry legislation that had broad support in the Texas
Legislature—as the underdogs and suggests that Texas lawmakers are actively trying to destroy public education
in their own state.
Antonia Okafor, SCC Southwest regional director, commented, "If I caught one of SCC's members making claims
this outrageous, I not only wouldn't let her speak at a rally; I'd block her from commenting on our Facebook page
and ask her not to attend campus meetings."
Sadly, Doctor Carter isn't the only UT-Austin professor to lose touch with reality when discussing Students for
Concealed Carry. After Susan Schorn, Ph.D., senior program coordinator and curriculum specialist for writing at
UT's Center for the Skills & Experience Flags, tweeted that only one campus carry supporter (not an SCC member)
showed up at the protest (a protest against campus carry), SCC's Texas chapter responded by pointing out that
two SCC members were there holding up a banner promoting SCC's belief that freedom of speech and concealed
carry of handguns can peacefully coexist. This led Doctor Schorn to launch into an abusive, profanity-laden rant in
which she called SCC members "gun nuts," compared SCC members to the perpetrators of this year’s militia
standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and accused SCC members of harboring "rape fantasies" about
Okafor concluded, "I think it's clear that, for some of these people, opposition to campus carry has little to do with
the facts or safety concerns of the issue and a lot to do with personal prejudice and some deeply held—and
SEE ALSO: "The Students Behind ‘Students for Concealed Carry’" by Gabriel Sandoval, The Chronicle of Higher
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/02/2016
Students for Concealed Carry Denounces Video Depicting Fictional Shooting of Anti-Campus Carry Protestor
When the only tool in your belt is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. When the only tool in your belt is the
ability to milk free publicity from your unabashed willingness to be an offensive jackass, you probably go by the
alias Murdoch Pizgatti.
Pizgatti (real name Zach Horton) made his first foray into the campus carry debate nine months ago when he
organized a highly publicized and universally decried mock mass shooting adjacent to the University of Texas at
Austin. He has once again made headlines, after producing a video depicting the violent fictional death of a
Brian Bensimon, Texas state director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented, "Pizgatti is neither a
policy wonk nor a serious political activist. To say that he is on the fringe of the gun rights movement would be to
give him too much credit. He is a publicity hound who cares about nothing more than seeing his assumed name in
print. All parties to the campus carry debate, regardless of position or affiliation, have a duty to stand up to such
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for SCC, added, “Mr. Horton, or Pizgatti or whatever he wants to call
himself, played no part in the shaping of either the campus carry movement or Texas’ campus carry law, but now
he wants to latch onto the cause like a parasite and feed his ego from it. The activists and organizations who did
shape the movement and the law won’t stand for it. Zach Horton needs to take his fake name and his fake ideals,
crawl back into whatever hole he crawled out of, and leave the campus carry debate to those of us with the
capacity for rational thought.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/02/2016
University Claims About High Cost of Campus Carry Disproved
An investigation by Tom Benning at The Dallas Morning News has confirmed SCC's assertion that early predictions
that campus carry would cost state universities tens of millions of dollars were without merit. The report states, in
The costs incurred by most public colleges and universities to implement Texas' contentious campus carry
law can be measured in hundreds of thousands of dollars.
That's a far cry from the multimillion-dollar expenses they told lawmakers last year they would rack up
to prepare for licensed gun owners to carry concealed in classrooms and other buildings.
The disparity, found in a Dallas Morning Newssurvey, underscores the ongoing debate over the
measure's impact. And the figures, which could complicate efforts to push back on the law, appear to
back up the charge that university officials were guilty of political gamesmanship.
Although opponents have suggested that the discrepancy between initial estimates and actual costs is
attributable to the Legislature's eleventh-hour tweaks to the law, such claims seem highly dubious. The fact that
the final version of Texas Senate Bill 11 allows public universities greater discretion to create "gun-free" zones
should, theoretically, mean that universities need to pay for more signs, more card readers, more security guards,
etc. In short, the last-minute tweaks should have resulted in higher costs, not lower costs.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/11/2016
REMINDER: Texas' Campus Carry Law Does Not Affect Fraternity Houses
In the wake of reports that a security guard was wounded during an early morning shooting at a fraternity house
at the University of Texas at Austin, Students for Concealed Carry wishes to remind the media and the public that
Texas Senate Bill 11 (campus carry) did not change the laws at fraternity or sorority houses, which are private
residences owned or leased by the overseeing fraternal organization.
According to the Travis County Central Appraisal District, the Sigma Chi fraternity house at 2701 Nueces is owned
by the Alpha Nu chapter of Sigma Chi.
In Texas, the laws governing the licensed, concealed carry of handguns at fraternity and sorority houses have
remained essentially unchanged since January 1, 1996, when licensed concealed carry first became legal in the
Lone Star State.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/15/2016
Comedy Central's Coverage of Campus Carry is Funny but Factually Flawed
A segment of the September 14, 2016, episode of Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah lampoons
Texas' campus carry law with coverage of the much-publicized #CocksNotGlocks protest. The segment is
undeniably humorous—thanks in no small part to an interview in which Open Carry Texas founder C.J. Grisham
steps into several verbal traps laid by Daily Show correspondent Roy Woods Jr.—but the segment strays from the
facts in a significant way.
During an interview with #CocksNotGlocks founder Jessica Jin, Woods holds up a handgun and asks, "So this is
He then puts down the gun, holds up a dildo, and asks, "This is illegal?"
Jin replies, "Welcome to Texas."
A couple of minutes later, Woods—speaking in voiceover narration—says, "My solution: Make dildos legal on a
Texas campus by adding a gun." He is then shown standing among dozens of #CocksNotGlocks protestors, holding
up a handgun encased in a giant dildo.
It's a good joke, but it's based on a myth.
Although the official #CocksNotGlocks website explicitly states, "You would receive a citation for taking a dildo to
class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class," there is, in reality, no circumstance under which a
dildo is less legal than a handgun on a Texas college campus. However, that hasn't stopped legitimate, non-
comedy news outlets from repeating this myth as fact.
This bogus factoid has appeared in Jezebel, The Dallas Morning News, The Guardian, Texas Monthly, CNET, and
the Houston Chronicle.
The mistaken belief that dildos are prohibited on Texas college campuses stems from the fact that Texas law and
University of Texas policy prohibit the display of “obscene” materials on campus. However, Texas law and
University of Texas policy also prohibit the display of handguns on campus, and the penalty for displaying a
handgun is significantly higher than the penalty for displaying obscene material. In other words, although there is
no circumstance under which a dildo is less legal than a handgun on a Texas college campus, there are many
circumstances under which a dildo is more legal than a handgun on a Texas college campus.
It breaks down like this:
Who is authorized to possess/carry a dildo on a Texas college campus: everyone.
Who is authorized to possess/carry a handgun on a Texas college campus: the 4% of the population (including
just 0.7% of undergraduates) licensed to carry a handgun.
Penalty for displaying a dildo on a Texas college campus: $500 fine (unless the dildo is carried as part of a
constitutionally protected expression of free speech).
Penalty for displaying a handgun on a Texas college campus: either one year in jail, a $4,000 fine, and a five-year
revocation of the offender's license to carry or ten years in prison, a $10,000 fine, and a lifetime ban on owning
a gun, depending on whether the offender is licensed to carry a handgun and how the court chooses to
interpret Texas Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(1)(B).
One of SCC's Facebook followers was kind enough to create this handy chart comparing the legality of handguns
and dildos on Texas college campuses:
CIRCUMSTANCE HANDGUN LEGALITY DILDO LEGALITY
LTC holder carrying the object concealed Legal unless in a prohibited location Legal everywhere
Unlicensed person carrying the object Third-degree felony in buildings; Class A
concealed misdemeanor outside Legal everywhere
Class A misdemeanor or possible third- Possible Class C
LTC holder carrying the object openly degree felony misdemeanor
Unlicensed person carrying the object Third-degree felony in buildings; Class A Possible Class C
openly misdemeanor outside misdemeanor
LTC holder displaying the object as a form Class A misdemeanor or possible third-
of protest degree felony Legal everywhere
Unlicensed person displaying the object as Third-degree felony in buildings; Class A
a form of protest misdemeanor outside Legal everywhere
If you, like Texas Tribune reporter Matthew Watkins, think this is a weird discussion to be having, please
understand that we completely agree. We'd much rather be discussing the relevant facts of campus carry;
however, too many media outlets want to portray Texas' campus carry law as being inconsistent with other Texas
laws (i.e., laws regulating dildos on college campuses).
In reality, the entire point of Texas Senate Bill 11 (campus carry) was to make the state laws regulating the
licensed, concealed carry of handguns on college campuses more consistent with the state laws regulating the
licensed, concealed carry of handguns throughout the rest of the state.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/16/2016
SCC Statement on the Accidental Discharge at Tarleton State University
AUSTIN, TX - According to a press release from Tarleton State University and reporting by Claire Z. Cardona of The
Dallas Morning News, a Tarleton State student and license to carry (LTC) holder accidentally discharged a handgun
in a university residence hall on the evening of Wednesday, September 14. This incident reportedly resulted in no
injuries and only minimal property damage.
Brian Bensimon, Texas state director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented:
This incident is unfortunate but in keeping with what we saw in both Colorado and Idaho, each of which
experienced a single negligent discharge within two or three months of their statewide campus carry
laws taking effect. For whatever reason, there seems to be a period of adjustment that follows the
implementation of these laws. Thankfully, neither Colorado nor Idaho has seen a repeat of these
incidents, and the overall track record of campus carry is still very strong. After a combined total of
approximately 2,000 semesters of campus carry at almost 200 U.S. college campuses, this is only the fifth
resulting accidental discharge, and not one of those incidents resulted in life-threatening injury to the
license holder or serious injury to another person.
Without knowing the exact circumstances of the accidental discharge at Tarleton State, SCC cannot address
specific contributing factors; however, there is no question that dorm rooms—where licensed residents must
occasionally handle their weapons while holstering, unholstering, loading, or unloading them—are at increased
risk for negligent discharge. The increased danger that accompanies unholstering and handling a firearm is one of
the reasons SCC vigorously fought proposals such as placing gun lockers outside of classrooms and requiring
license holders to empty the chambers of their guns before stepping onto campus.
Because of the increased danger associated with handling an unholstered firearm, license holders living in dorm
rooms should be diligent to observe the four basic rules of firearm safety when handling their guns.
The Four Basic Rules of Firearm Safety:
1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded.
2. Never point a gun at anything you are not WILLING to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger unless and until the gun is pointed at something you WANT to destroy.
4. Be certain of the object your gun is pointed at, and be aware of anything that might be BEHIND the
object your gun is pointed at and anything that might come BETWEEN your gun and the object it is
These four rules offer redundant protections against injury or death. For example, a license holder who violates
rule number three and accidentally pulls the trigger is unlikely to cause injury as long as he or she is observing
rules one, two, and four.
It is worth noting that, of the four negligent discharges at campus-carry colleges outside of Texas, two were the
result of license holders showing their guns to someone else, which is a serious crime under Texas law. The other
two were the result of license holders carrying their handguns in a pocket, unholstered, which is prohibited by
school policy at most Texas universities.
In contrast to the common perception that inexperienced, immature students pose the greatest threat of
negligent discharge, two of the prior incidents involved faculty or staff, and one involved a police cadet.
The Prior Negligent Discharges at Campus-Carry Colleges:
On May 4, 2015, a police cadet at Utah Valley University was showing his handgun to a fellow cadet, on
their way to a police firearms class. The gun discharged, grazing the chest of the other cadet.
On September 2, 2014, a professor at Idaho State University was carrying an unholstered handgun in his
pants pocket while teaching a class. The handgun discharged, shooting him in the foot.
On November 9, 2012, a staff member at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine was
showing her gun to two coworkers. The gun discharged as she was attempting to reload it. The bullet
ricocheted off a filing cabinet and nicked both her and a coworker on their legs.
On January 4, 2012, a student at Weber State University in Utah was carrying an unholstered handgun in
his pants pocket while walking across campus. The handgun discharged, shooting him in the leg.
These incidents are unfortunate; however, given the number of college campuses that allow licensed concealed
carry and the length of time for which they have allowed it, this is still an impressive record. This record, coupled
with the fact that not one campus-carry college has reported a resulting violent crime, threat of violence, suicide,
or suicide attempt demonstrates that the licensed, concealed carry of handgun can be safely implemented on
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/19/2016
The Houston Chronicle Needs to Stop Carrying Anti-Campus Carry Activists' Water
AUSTIN, TX - The same newspaper responsible for uncritically parroting the since-discredited claim that campus
carry would cost two Texas university systems upward of $50 million dollars over six years has now falsely
reported, "Texas university sees first injury after enacting campus carry law."
That's the headline on Houston Chronicle reporter Brett Barrouquere's September 19 article about the recent
accidental discharge of a handgun in a Tarleton State University residence hall.
Three lines into the article, Barrouquere clearly states, "University officials reported 'minimal' damage to the
building and no injuries [emphasis added]," but that didn't stop whoever wrote the headline from
prioritizing clicks over facts.
In an era in which many people get their news from social media, a high percentage of the population
never reads beyond an article's headline. Even if the article itself is accurate, a bogus headline can take
on a life of its own.
Last spring, Students for Concealed Carry was inundated with hostile tweets and Facebook messages from people
incensed that SCC would claim that campus carry could have saved the UT-Austin freshman who was murdered on
campus on April 3. However, SCC never said any such thing. The source of that claim is a Newsweek headline
falsely proclaiming, "Campus Carry Advocates Suggest Gun Might Have Prevented University of Texas Murder."
Although SCC never stated or insinuated that campus carry might have made a difference in that particular crime,
the headline was just too enticing for a struggling online news magazine to pass up. And even though the
journalist who wrote the story updated the text of the article to clarify that SCC never made any such claim, the
clickbaity headline remains.
SCC's leaders work long, hard hours, without pay, to make the case for campus carry. Those hours shouldn't be
made longer and harder simply because print news outlets need to boost their online ad revenue.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/20/2016
It's Gun Free UT's story, and they're sticking to it
AUSTIN, TX - Two and a half weeks after The Dallas Morning News debunked predictions that campus carry would
cost Texas universities tens of millions of dollars, one day after the Fort Worth Star-Telegram confirmed the News'
findings, and just hours after the editorial board of the Telegram published a staff editorial noting that dire
predictions about the cost of campus carry "never made a lot of sense," Gun Free UT—the anti-campus carry
standard bearer in the Lone Star State—is doubling down on those refuted claims.
Three hours after the Telegram editorial appeared on the Internet, the following tweet was sent from the official
Gun Free UT Twitter account:
The tweet links to an eighteen-month-old Texas Tribune op-ed claiming that campus carry would cost Texas
universities almost $60 million over six years—money that the author claims could otherwise be spent on cancer
research. Shortly after that op-ed ran, the Texas Tribune ran a column by an SCC director, rebutting the notion
that campus carry would place a serious financial burden on Texas universities.
The facts have borne out SCC's predictions about the cost of campus carry and disproved opponents', but Gun
Free UT isn't about to let the facts interfere with a compelling argument. As far as they're concerned, campus
carry is a massive unfunded mandate. That's their story, and they're sticking to it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/20/2016
Ray LaMontagne's Hypocritical Grandstanding Over Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX - If singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is so concerned about the licensed, concealed carry of
handguns that he feels compelled to cancel his September 22 concert at the Bass Concert Hall at the University of
Texas at Austin, why did he, just three days ago, perform at Salt Lake City's Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre,
another venue that allows the licensed, concealed carry of handguns?
The Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City, Utah, is owned by Salt Lake County. As a county-
owned property, the Capitol Theater is subject to Utah's firearm ordinance preemption law, which dictates that "a
local authority or state entity may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or rule pertaining to firearms."
Perhaps, in the absence of nonstop media coverage of the venue's gun policies, LaMontagne didn't realize that
concealed carry is allowed at the Capitol Theater. Unlike the University of Texas at Austin, the Capitol Theater
hasn't had its firearm policies profiled in every major newspaper in the country. It hasn't been the site of constant
protests or the subject of a segment on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. As in most venues that allow licensed
concealed carry, performers and spectators at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre peacefully go about
their business, with little or no concern that the venue's gun policy is placing them at risk.
Brian Bensimon, SCC director for the state of Texas, commented, "It's likely that Mr. LaMontagne has performed
at numerous venues that allow concealed carry, without even realizing it. The cancellation of this concert has less
to do with the uniqueness of UT-Austin's firearms policy than with political grandstanding and the self-fulfilling
nature of activists' predictions that campus carry will have an adverse effect on campus life."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/21/2016
Why Campus Carry Is Unlikely to Have a Lasting Impact on University Concerts
AUSTIN, TX - Following Ray LaMontagne's cancellation of his Sept. 24 concert at UT-Austin's Bass Concert Hall,
some people are wondering whether Texas' campus carry law will make it difficult for state universities to book A-
list performers from now on. Thankfully, there are several indicators that this will not be the case.
One such indicator is the fact that LaMontagne himself seems to have no problem appearing at venues where
concealed carry is allowed, as long as the venue's gun policy isn't front-page news.
Another indicator is the fact that the Austin City Limits Music Festival—one of the largest music festivals in the
country—manages to attract a broad array of talent (including Ray LaMontagne) despite being required by law to
allow the licensed, concealed carry of handguns.
Since 2003, concerts held on Texas state, county, or municipal property (e.g., Austin's Zilker Park, home to the ACL
Festival) have been unable to enforce prohibitions against licensed concealed carry, yet concertgoers, concert
promoters, and performers still flock to these events. As soon as the law allowing concealed carry on Texas
college campuses stops being front-page news, performers like Ray LaMontagne will quickly forget about it, just
as they've forgotten the laws allowing concealed carry at so many other concert venues.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/25/2016
Campus Carry Doesn't Make Police Encounters More Dangerous for Young Men of Color
AUSTIN, TX - Following years of controversial police shootings across the country, opponents of campus carry
have taken to claiming that campus carry will make police encounters more dangerous for students—particularly
male students—of color. This claim ignores the fact that campus carry doesn't give a racist police officer any more
reason to profile a student as a criminal.
Antonia Okafor, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, explained, "When a police officer
profiles somebody because of the person's race, the officer isn't thinking, 'This person might be a law-abiding
citizen who is licensed to carry a handgun'; the officer is thinking, 'This person might be a criminal who doesn't
care what the law says about carrying a gun or shooting a police officer.' Because an honor-system-based ‘gun-
free’ policy doesn’t change a criminal’s ability to unlawfully carry a gun on campus, the problem of police profiling
isn't affected by campus carry."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 09/30/2016
Students for Concealed Carry Welcomes New Southwest Regional Director
AUSTIN, TX - Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) wishes the best to outgoing Southwest regional director Antonia
Okafor, who is moving on to the next stage of her career, and congratulates Brian Bensimon, who previously
served as SCC director for the state of Texas, on his appointment as the new Southwest regional director.
Michael Newbern, SCC assistant director of public relations, commented, "This past year was one of the busiest
ever for SCC's Texas chapter, and we are eternally grateful to outgoing Southwest regional director Antonia
Okafor for seeing us through the lead-up to and ultimate implementation of campus carry at Texas universities.
The next twelve months will take us through both the 2017 Texas Legislative Session and the implementation of
campus carry at Texas community and junior colleges, so we are extremely fortunate to have a qualified,
experienced advocate like Brian Bensimon stepping into the role at such a crucial time."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 10/10/2016
PolitiFact Skirts the Question of Whether Dildos Are More Heavily Regulated Than Guns at UT-Austin
AUSTIN, TX - After being asked to look into #CocksNotGlocks' claim that a student at the University of Texas at
Austin "would receive a citation for taking a dildo to class before [the student] would get in trouble for taking a
gun to class," the journalists at PolitiFact fact-checked only the first portion of the claim—the part suggesting that
a person would receive a citation for having a sex toy on campus—and ignored the second portion of the claim—
the part suggesting that sex toys are somehow more heavily regulated than guns on campus. By ignoring the
assertion that there is an absurd inconsistency in Texas law, PolitiFact has helped perpetuate a false narrative that
plays into the worst stereotypes about the politics and politicians of the Lone Star State.
If PolitiFact, which seems to struggle with the complexity and nuance of gun politics, had bothered to fact-check
the full claim that sex toys are more heavily regulated than guns at UT-Austin, they would have found most of the
relevant facts in their own inbox—they received a copy of the statement Students for Concealed Carry (SCC)
released after this bogus factoid was lampooned on the September 14 episode of The Daily Show with Trevor
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "SCC has embraced
the #CocksNotGlocks protest as a humorous exercise of free speech, but we can't embrace the false narrative that
sex toys are somehow more heavily regulated than handguns at the University of Texas. There is simply no
circumstance under which having a handgun on campus is more legal than having a sex toy on campus."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 10/26/2016
Affirmative action bake sale at UT-Austin results in heated debates but no shots fired
AUSTIN, TX - On Wednesday afternoon the University of Texas at Austin chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas
drew harsh criticism and more than a hundred counter-protestors in response to the group's "affirmative action
bake sale," an event at which members sold baked goods at prices that varied according to the buyer's race and
gender. Miraculously, despite contentious discussions that sometimes devolved into shouting matches, no guns
were drawn, no shots were fired, and everyone's First Amendment rights survived unscathed.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "To hear the anti-
campus carry activists describe the mood on campus, you'd think that free expression and open debate were
dead and buried. But events like this prove that the collegiate traditions of intellectual discourse and political
activism are alive and well at the University of Texas."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 10/27/2016
Johns Hopkins Report on Campus Carry Is Seriously Flawed
AUSTIN, TX - An October 15 report by Daniel W. Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and
Research, and nine coauthors has resulted in several bold headlines but little critical analysis. Articles with titles
such as "Report: Allowing Guns On Campus Results In More, Not Less, Gun Violence" and "Guns on campus
unlikely to increase safety, study finds" belie both the fact that the report is theoretical and doesn't cite any
resulting gun violence on college campuses and the fact that the report, which involved no data analysis and was
neither published nor peer-reviewed, is not actually a "study" in the academic sense of the word.
At best, the report is a pedantic, overly verbose op-ed that attempts to couch the usual arguments against
campus carry in academic language. At worst, it is an attempt to portray the work of two of Dr. Webster's
coauthors—John Donohue and Louis Klarevas—as "the best available research" (p.2) on the subject of licensed
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry (SCC), commented, "Propaganda
doesn't become research just because it's written on letterhead from a prestigious university. If these ten
professors genuinely wanted to study the issue, they could have conducted a peer-reviewed meta-analysis of the
existing literature. Instead, they chose to phone it in with an editorial touting only those outlier studies that
reinforce their personal prejudices."
Those of us leading the Texas chapter of SCC are merely undergraduates and are, therefore, unequipped to
prepare a formal academic analysis of a report authored by ten doctors. We are, however, more than equipped to
point out flawed logic, straw man arguments, and factual errors.
THE REPORT IN QUESTION:
Claims, "The Most Recent Rigorous Research Studies Find RTC Laws Linked to Increased Violence"
(p. 16), but cites only the prior work of report coauthor John Donohue and ignores the fact that
Donohue's findings are contradicted by the preponderance of peer-reviewed research on the
subject, including a more recent (2015) study by Charles D. Phillips, Regents Professor of health
and policy management at the Texas A&M School of Public Health. Dr. Phillips' study concluded:
The basic question underlying the hypotheses investigated in this research is
simple—Is CHL licensing related in any way to crime rates? The results of this
research indicate that no such relationships exist. For our study states, during the
time period covered by our data, changes in crime rates did not affect subsequent
CHL licensing rates. In addition, CHL licensing rates did not have a significant,
negative or positive, effect on subsequent crime rates.
Hypothesizes, "Increasing gun availability in campus environments could make far more common
acts of aggression, recklessness, or self-harm more deadly and, thus, have a deleterious impact
on the safety of students, faculty, and staff" (p. 3), but fails to examine the experiences of
campuses that already allow licensed concealed carry.
o The University of Texas at Austin’s campus carry policy working group, which was tasked
with researching the issue of campus carry prior to the enactment of Texas’ campus carry
law, found no reports of resulting assaults or suicide attempts at campus-carry colleges
We reached out to 17 research universities in the seven campus-carry states...Most
respondents reported that campus carry had not had much direct impact on
student life or academic affairs...What we can say is that we have found little
evidence of campus violence that can be directly linked to campus carry, and none
that involves an intentional shooting…We found that the evidence does not
support the claim that a 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.
Focuses heavily on rebutting claims that campus carry will make college campuses safer and that
active shooters seek out gun-free zones, despite the fact that such claims are not ubiquitous in
the campus carry movement and are eschewed by Students for Concealed Carry, the nation’s
leading campus carry advocacy group.
Claims, "According to the advocates of allowing civilians to carry firearms on college campuses,
some individuals considering perpetrating a mass shooting will be deterred from attacking places
where they stand a likelihood of being confronted by private citizens carrying firearms. In
instances when deterrence fails and attacks are initiated, campus-carry advocates claim that
armed students and staff will be able to intervene and halt gun rampages and thereby minimize
the number of victims killed or wounded in the attack" (p. 7). The report backs up this attribution
of motive by linking not to a policy paper by a pro-campus carry organization or to a speech by a
pro-campus carry politician but, rather, to a listicle titled "12 Times Mass Shootings Were
Stopped by Good Guys With Guns," on the website ControversialTimes.com.
Claims, "Advocates for allowing civilians to bring guns onto college campuses and to deregulate
carrying of guns in public places in general commonly cite research and statements by John Lott,
an economist widely known for his claims that deregulating gun possession reaps significant
reductions in violent crime" (p. 8). As proof that advocates generally rely on Dr. Lott's work to
make the case for campus carry, the report offers only a couple of endnotes citing Dr. Lott's
"More Guns, Less Crime" series of articles and books.
o An examination of SCC's Common Arguments page, SCC's 2015 Texas legislative handout,
and SCC's 2015-2016 Texas press releases (three documents that if combined and
published in book form would be the approximate length of The Adventures of Tom
Sawyer) reveals only this one reference to the research of Dr. John Lott:
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...where the point of the attack is simply to
kill as many people as possible," but this finding combined with the relatively low
rate of licensure during the 2000-2013 period does give us reason to believe that
maybe—just maybe—it's unreasonable to assume that CHL holders would have
been directly involved (not just somewhere nearby) in a large number of active-
Offers the John Lott/David Mustard ("More Guns, Less Crime") studies as the primary
counterargument to the report's position but ignores harder-to-rebut conflicting research such
as the 2015 Phillips study cited above.
Argues (p. 22) that campus carry would impede campus law enforcement but fails to examine
the impact of licensed concealed carry on law enforcement in non-collegiate environments.
Argues, "Most campus officers routinely respond to situations in which information is sparse.
They respond to calls such as 'suspicious person,' 'suspicious circumstances,' '911-hang up,' and
'alarm sounding' often with no additional information. If the presence of guns must be assumed,
the level of seriousness, tactics used, and necessary precautions taken in response to such calls
are elevated" (p. 23). However, in the absence of metal detectors, X-ray machines, or any other
screening measure designed to prevent criminals from bringing guns onto campus, officers on
any open campus—even a "gun-free" campus—must assume the presence of guns.
o When officers get a report of a suspicious person, they don't approach the suspect,
thinking, "We'd better be careful—this guy might have passed extensive state and federal
background checks in order to obtain a license to carry a handgun." They're thinking,
"We'd better be careful—this guy might be a criminal who doesn't care what the law says
about carrying a gun or shooting a police officer."
States, "A recent study identified 85 incidents of shootings or undesirable discharges of firearms
on college campuses in the U.S. from January 2013 through June 2016" (p. 3). This suggests that
the authors of the report anticipate no difference in the behavior of individuals who endure
personal expense and an extensive vetting process to obtain the right to lawfully carry a
handgun on campus and those individuals who currently choose to ignore the school policies and
state laws prohibiting possession of firearms on campus.
States, "Research demonstrates that access to firearms substantially increases suicide risks,
especially among adolescents and young adults, as firearms are the most common method of
lethal self-harm" (p. 3). However, the report offers no explanation as to how campus carry could
increase the risk of student suicide if it doesn’t change the ability of a student to own a gun; have
a gun at home, where 90% of suicides occur; or—in many states, including Texas—keep a
handgun in a locked automobile parked on campus.
Claims, "Binge drinking, a common behavior among college students, especially elevates risks for
involvement in violent altercations" (p. 3), but fails to note that most student drinking
(particularly binge drinking) takes places at college parties and that most college parties take
place at private residences where licensed concealed carry is already legal.
o The 2011 study "Drinking at college parties: Examining the influence of student host-
status and party-location" found that 84.5% of college party hosts lived off-campus.
o The 2015 study "Not Just Fun and Games: A Review of College Drinking Games Research
From 2004 to 2013" found that 65% of drinking games are played at private homes (14%
at bars) and that "first-year college students reported being more likely to drink in gaming
environments with a small gathering of friends at a private residence."
o The types of locations where students are likely to consume alcohol are seldom the types
of locations affected by campus gun bans and are, therefore, unlikely to be affected by
campus carry laws. Texas' campus carry law, which took effect on August 1, 2016, did not
change the laws at fraternity houses, bars, tailgating events, or off-campus parties—none
of which were covered by the nullified gun ban.
Cites (p. 19) numerous studies on the brain development of teenagers, as an argument against
allowing campus carry by adults age 21 and above.
o The report fails to mention that Jay N. Giedd, M.D., the author of five of the cited studies on
adolescent brain development, also wrote:
Late maturation of the prefrontal cortex, which is essential in judgment, decision making
and impulse control, has prominently entered discourse affecting the social, legislative,
judicial, parenting and educational realms. Despite the temptation to trade the complexity
and ambiguity of human behavior for the clarity and aesthetic beauty of colorful brain
images, we must be careful not to over-interpret the neuroimaging findings as they relate
to public policy.
o It should be noted that when scientists say that the human brain does not fully mature until the
age of 25, the emphasis is on the word "fully." The vast majority of brain development is
completed by age 20. The remaining development is, in essence, finishing touches. Saying that the
brain of a 21-year-old is not fully developed is like saying that a construction crew hasn’t finished
building a house, simply because they still haven’t put the covers on the light switches—the
statement is technically true but highly misleading. There is little or no scientific evidence that the
decision making ability of a 21-year-old is substantially or even measurably different from that of
a 25-year-old. However, there is a good deal of scientific evidence to the contrary.
Argues, "Age-specific homicide offending peaks around the age when youth reach the minimum
legal age for purchasing, and carrying handguns (19-21 years)" (p. 3) and, "Risks for violence,
suicide attempts, alcohol abuse, and risky behavior are greatly elevated among college-age
youth" (p. 24). However, the report neglects to examine state-level data on the rates of
concealed handgun license (CHL) revocation among persons of typical college age.
o According to statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety, 0.147% of CHL holders
between the ages of 18* and 23 had their licenses revoked in 2015. For those age 21-23,
the 2015 revocation rate was 1.50%. By comparison, 0.155% of license holders between
the ages of 38 and 43 had their concealed handgun licenses revoked that year.
o *A person age 18-20 can only obtain a Texas CHL if he or she is a member or veteran of
the U.S. Armed Forces. As of January 1, 2016, there were a maximum of 333 active Texas
CHLs held by military personnel and veterans age 18-20. In that age range, that's
approximately one Texan out of every 3,634, or 0.0275%.
Conflates (p. 2) mass shootings (which typically happen in private residences and involve
domestic disputes) and public rampage shootings, to reinforce the report’s assertion that most
shooting sprees happen where civilians are allowed to have guns.
Reinforces its assertion that concealed handgun license holders consistently fail to stop mass
shootings, by noting, "A review conducted by [report coauthor Louis] Klarevas of the 111 high-
fatality mass shootings (six or more victims murdered) that occurred in the U.S. since 1966 found
that only eighteen have taken place, in whole or in part, in a gun-free zone or gun-restricting
zone" (p. 10). However, that finding is not entirely accurate.
o Only thirty (27%) of the cited incidents took place in states that had shall-issue concealed
handgun licensing laws at the time of the shooting. (Klarevas lists four Texas shootings
that took place pre-1996, when only a law enforcement officer could lawfully carry a
handgun in public. He lists fourteen incidents that took place in California, which has very
restrictive licensing laws.)
o Of those thirty incidents that took place in shall-issue states, sixteen took place entirely in
private residences not open to the public. (The authors of this report apparently interpret
the case of an Indiana man killing his six children in their sleep as a failure of licensed
o Of the remaining fourteen incidents that took place, in part or in whole, in public spaces,
two were shootouts between rival gangs—not the type of threat against which a law-
abiding citizen has much need to defend himself or herself and not the type of threat
against which one person with a handgun is of much use.
o That leaves just twelve incidents (10.8% of the list of 111) for which a case might be
made that a concealed handgun license holder could have reasonably and lawfully
intervened. And those twelve include two incidents in which the public portion of the
shooting involved the gunman firing a rifle from the cover and concealment of an
automobile—another scenario that doesn't fit the model of a typical rampage shooting
and that doesn't lend itself to armed intervention by a CHL holder.
Offers a footnote (p. 11) listing five mass shootings that purportedly took place in locations
where civilians were allowed to possess firearms. That foot note:
o Lists the July 7, 2016, Dallas sniper attack, with no mention/examination of the fact that a
sniper attack is logistically and strategically very different from a typical rampage shooting
and offers little chance for intervention by a CHL holder.
o Lists an attack near Palestine, Texas, that took place on private property.
o Lists the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon, with no mention/examination
of the fact that concealed carry was against school policy for faculty, staff, and students.
The report mentions that there were armed students on this campus, despite the fact
that there is no record/evidence that there were armed students in the building where
the shooting occurred. The only confirmed armed student (who was carrying a handgun
in violation of school policy) was in a different building on the same campus and wisely
chose to stay put.
o Lists the terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California,
despite the fact licensed concealed carry is heavily restricted and relatively rare in
California. The report mentions that there were armed civilians on site, despite the fact
that there is no record/evidence that there were armed civilians in the building where
the shooting occurred. The only confirmed armed civilian was in a building across the
street from the Inland Regional Center. He saw one of the suspects fleeing but, not being
sure what was happening, wisely chose not to fire.
Notes, "By contrast, the FBI found that 21 of the 160 active shooting incidents were interrupted
when unarmed civilians confronted and restrained the gunmen. The FBI’s data suggest that
unarmed civilians are more than twenty times likely to successfully end an active shooting than
are armed civilians" (p. 12). The report fails to note that, of the 21 incidents stopped by unarmed
civilians, 11 occurred in schools where concealed carry was not allowed.
Fails to account for the relatively low rate of concealed handgun licensure during the course of
the cited studies and for the relative infrequency of public active shooter incidents, both of
which make it statistically unlikely that one or more armed license holders were within sight of
the gunman or gunmen during a significant number of these active shooter incidents.
Argues, "Shooting accurately and making appropriate judgments about when and how to shoot
in chaotic, high-stress situations requires a high level of familiarity with tactics and the ability to
manage stress under intense pressure" (p. 11). This argument conflates self-defense with law-
o The reference to "tactics" suggests that the authors believe that the average license
holder, upon finding himself or herself in the vicinity of a mass shooting, would act like an
amateur, one-man SWAT team and attempt to single-handedly clear the building and find
the assailant or assailants. This is in direct conflict with the self-defense intent of licensed
concealed carry and with standard concealed handgun training.
o The report ignores the fact that survivors and victims of mass shootings have watched
from nearby hiding spots as gunmen reloaded or have spent several minutes
corresponding with 911 operators or loved ones before being shot.
o The report ignores the fact that mass shootings are not the only or even the most
common form of assault on college campuses and that, according to most experts, a
shooting is likely to involve an assailant no more than three yards away, last no more than
three seconds, and involve no more than three shots fired. In such a scenario, there is
little need for "tactics."
Suggests that "allowing more civilians to carry firearms into more public places could also
facilitate more mass shootings. The Violence Policy Center has tracked incidents in which a
concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit holder was alleged to have committed various crimes of
violence and unintentional shootings. They identified 29 CCW holders who perpetrated non -‐
defensive shootings that involved three or more deaths not including the shooter during the
period 2007 -‐ 2015" (p. 12). The report fails to note that 26 of those incidents clearly had
nothing to do with licensed concealed carry, that two of those incidents most likely had nothing
to do with licensed concealed carry, and that the one incident that likely related to licensed
concealed carry was perpetrated by a convicted felon who should have been disqualified from
obtaining a carry permit but was issued one due to a database error.
Concludes by noting, "Concealed carry permit holders have passed criminal background checks
and, as a group, commit crimes at a relatively low rate. But, in states with the most lax standards
for legal gun ownership, 60% of individuals incarcerated for committing crimes with guns were
legal gun owners when they committed their crimes" (p. 23). This odd statement conflates
concealed handgun license holders and legal gun owners—two groups that, although there is
some minor overlap, are far from one and the same.
o Comparing statistics on gun ownership with statistics on concealed handgun licensure
suggests that less than 10% of gun owners are licensed to carry a handgun.
o In Texas, CHL/LTC holders are convicted of violent crimes at approximately 1/8 the rate of
unlicensed adults and account for less than 0.5% of all criminal convictions for violent
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11/01/2016
SCC Statement on NRA Opinion Column by Former SCC Director
AUSTIN, TX - A recent opinion column by former Students for Concealed Carry Southwest Regional Director
Antonia Okafor, published in the NRA periodical America's 1st Freedom, fails to make clear that Okafor is no
longer affiliated with SCC and that the views expressed in the column are entirely her own. Those views sharply
contrast with SCC's positions and message and do not reflect the views of SCC leadership.
Current SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon commented, "Students for Concealed Carry may
disagree with anti-campus carry activists, but we certainly don't think they've made millennials a laughing stock or
tainted the White House with obscenity. Campus carry is the subject of an ongoing policy debate, and SCC can win
that debate without assassinating our opponents' character or resorting to conspiracy theories about George
Assistant Director of Public Relations Mike Newbern added, “While we appreciate Antonia's contributions to our
organization and cause and wish her well in her future endeavors, we feel the need to make a clear distinction
between our former Southwest regional director’s personal views and Students for Concealed Carry’s official
positions. Our social media channels and website are clear. We encourage folks interested in knowing where we
stand to look to those.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11/02/2016
Mother Jones, there is no "new research"; that campus carry "study" is actually an op-ed
AUSTIN, TX - A Mother Jones article titled "New Research Confirms Guns on College Campuses Are Dangerous"
boldly proclaims, "[A] new study from Johns Hopkins University shows that campus carry laws are unlikely to
deter rampage shooters and may in fact lead to more injuries and deaths." However, there is no new research.
The "study" in question is actually the unpublished position paper Students for Concealed Carry debunked last
Mother Jones posted the article to Twitter, using the even more inflammatory title "New research confirms that
letting college kids carry guns on campus is a terrible idea." On Facebook, the publication declared, "Surprise! The
NRA's favorite talking point is bullshit." It seems that the siren song of confirmation bias is simply too much for
some publications to resist.
For anyone who, like the editors of Mother Jones, still doesn't understand the difference between an editorial and
a research paper, SCC's full rebuttal is now posted to the Students for Concealed Carry website:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11/03/2016
The Media Refuses to Learn the Facts About Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX - The headline of an article by Patch.com staff writer Tony Cantu declares, "Texas University Put On
Lockdown Amid Reports Of Armed Man Later Found To Just Be 'Open Carry' Fan." The article reads:
The unintended consequences of the state's "open carry" law -- enabling gun owners to carry their long
rifles freely to express their ardent support of the 2nd Amendment -- was dramatically felt at a university
placed on lockdown as a result.
Ultimately, the man turned out not to be a threat, per se, but a rifle owner availing himself of the state's
"open carry" law allowing him to walk around in public with his long gun strapped across his back. The law
took effect on Jan. 1, a piece of legislation that was aggressively championed by GOP conservatives -- led
by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott -- who embrace gun ownership as a plank of their political platform.
But the man made the mistake of walking on the property encompassing a private university, one of a
long list of private institutions of higher learning that have opted out of allowing guns on campus, in spite
of the new law allowing the open carry of weapons. By and large, officials at public universities also
oppose the new law and the resulting specter of guns on campus, but are unable to opt out given their
The man reportedly was contacted by police and asked to leave the premises, not for provoking a
widespread scare by toting his gun -- something he's now allowed to do with the advent of "open carry,"
but because of his inadvertent and alleged trespassing on private property.
Along with "open carry," another law pushed by conservatives dubbed "campus carry" was passed, which
allows those with concealed handgun permits to take their weapons at colleges unable to opt out of the
new legislation. The "campus carry" law was passed Aug. 1.
What will it take to persuade journalists like Cantu to actually research the laws they write about? Both the open
carry law that took effect January 1 and the campus carry law that took effect August 1 apply only to the licensed
carry of handguns. The open carry of rifles has been legal in Texas since before Texas joined the union in 1845.
The laws regarding the carrying of rifles on college campuses haven't changed since the late 1960s, when the
Texas Legislature made it a crime to bring a firearm into a campus building.
Furthermore, both the open carry law and the campus carry law—neither of which has anything to do with the
carrying of rifles—explicitly prohibit open carry (of handguns) on college campuses.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "It's a sad
commentary on the current state of journalism that nowhere in Patch.com's editorial process did anyone figure
out that this article blames two laws that have zero bearing on the incident at hand."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 11/29/2016
Blacklists Are Not the Answer for Ideological Diversity on Campus
AUSTIN, TX – In keeping with our organization’s long-held stance of promoting free and open expression,
Students for Concealed Carry does not endorse Turning Point USA’s recent effort to blacklist college professors
who oppose campus carry.
As a nonpartisan organization, we believe that even those who do not endorse our views on concealed carry may
still offer valuable instruction inside the classroom. Placing professors on a blacklist does no favors for our
movement, the broader gun rights movement, or any other political movement. Demonizing professors who are
"anti-gun" or who do not wholly endorse our views is unlikely to spur the type of dialogue that was so critical in
passing Texas' campus carry law in the first place.
The sum of a person's knowledge and character is greater than that person's position on a single issue. We
wouldn't want Professor Joan Neuberger, co-chair of Gun Free UT, seeing our names on a list of Texas license to
carry holders and making a snap decision about us, and we don't think it's right that her name was added to a
watchlist that might encourage someone to make a snap decisions about her.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, "We at SCC understand the frustration of
trying to get through to professors who live inside an ideological bubble, but we believe that putting those
professors on a McCarthy-era style blacklist serves only to widen the gap we've been struggling to close."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 12/07/2016
A&M students and white nationalists square off, no guns are drawn, no shots are fired
AUSTIN, TX – On Tuesday, December 6, Texas A&M University did its best to address the type of dilemma
occasionally experienced by public institutions in free nations—the university allowed a notorious white
nationalist to speak on campus, while making clear that neither the administration nor the student body endorses
the speaker's views. This event, which inspired both a university-sponsored alternative event and multiple
protests, is notable for not only the university's thoughtful, measured response but also for the fact that it serves
as further evidence that Texas' campus carry law has in no way impeded the exercise of First Amendment rights at
the state's public universities.
This isn't the first time a Texas university has seen a heated protest since the implementation of SB 11, and it
certainly won't be the last. SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon commented, "Seeing this many
members of a university community stand up against hate and the people who spread it reaffirms that the First
Amendment is alive and well at Texas universities. This is exactly what we've seen in other states that allow
campus carry and exactly what Students for Concealed Carry long predicted would be the outcome in the Lone
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 12/13/2016
Everytown's Pot Calls Out NRA's Kettle
AUSTIN, TX – When we at Students for Concealed Carry saw that The Trace—the news media arm of the gun-
control group Everytown for Gun Safety—has called out NRA News—the news media arm of the National Rifle
Association—for espousing baseless conspiracy theories, we at SCC couldn't help but laugh at such hypocrisy from
a "news" outlet that once targeted us with a baseless conspiracy theory of their own.
A July 5, 2015, article from The Trace posits that Students for Concealed Carry was founded by and is funded by a
shadowy consortium—a consortium that the article’s author, like any tinfoil-hat-wearing believer in illuminati-
esque secret organizations, describes in only the vaguest of terms—of Gun Owners of America, the Second
Amendment Foundation, and the Leadership Institute.
Students for Concealed Carry refuted this accusation by pointing out that the claim, which has no basis in truth, is
supported by only the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence. SCC also publicly offered to pay $5,000 to any group
that could prove the alleged conspiracy (nobody tried to collect). Unfortunately, as is the nature of conspiracy
theories, this allegation still haunts SCC by showing up in op-eds and speeches from anti-campus carry activists
who mistake The Trace, which does not advertise its affiliation with Everytown, for a legitimate, unbiased news
The Trace's exposé on NRA News proclaims, "[T]he gun lobby adopted an age-old strategy: Destroy the
credibility of the institutions that would challenge it, through direct attacks, and then create a
competing set of 'facts.'" That is an ironic interpretation from an organization that sought to destroy
SCC's credibility and that has repeatedly demonstrated its own tenuous grasp of facts.
The top image is an infographic/meme The Trace created to accompany a Nov. 30 article titled "The
Latest Research on Rampage Shootings Shows Gunmen Rarely Target Gun-Free Zones." The bottom
image is a rebuttal SCC created after reviewing the source cited in the article (NOTE: although the article
describes its source as "[a] study published last month," the actual source is a position paper that was
neither published nor peer-reviewed).
Even when The Trace extends an olive branch, that branch is laden with thorns. Last summer, The Trace
hired then-SCC Southwest Regional Director Antonia Okafor to write an op-ed about why she supports
campus carry. After she submitted her first draft, the editors insisted that she include a line stating, "Yes,
there are occasionally times when people can carry their guns and consume alcohol." They also refused
to let her include a statistic about concealed handgun license holders being convicted of violent crimes
at 1/5 the rate of the general population, unless she agreed to include the highly dubious assertion that
crimes committed by license holders are deadlier than those committed by the general population (she
opted to cut the statistic altogether). What legitimate news outlet tells a columnist that specific claims
or statistics must be included in an op-ed about why she supports a given cause?
Students for Concealed Carry is the first to admit that both sides of the gun control debate are rife with
misleading statistics, bogus facts, and "fake news." This is a problem that has long troubled SCC's leaders and that
SCC's writers and social media moderators work daily to mitigate. However, for a fake-news-spewing sock puppet
like The Trace to represent itself as a watchdog against such misinformation is laughable.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/10/2017
Campus Carry Opponents' Willful Ignorance of History
AUSTIN, TX – Opponents of Texas' campus carry law have a long track record of distorting history to support their
agenda. From falsely claiming that the opt-out for private universities was a last-minute amendment aimed at
appeasing a private university in the bill author's district to falsely claiming that Students for Concealed Carry was
started by well-funded players in the "gun lobby," anti-campus carry activists like to remember the past in a way
that portrays them as the underdogs in the fight over campus carry. The latest example of this revisionist mindset
is found in a Twitter rant from #CocksNotGlocks founder Jessica Jin:
It's true that, in past sessions, committee chairs in the Texas Legislature often held committee hearings on
campus carry bills during spring break, so as to give students and faculty from the 37 state universities not located
in Austin a chance to travel to the Capitol and testify. It's also true that anti-campus carry activists at the
University of Texas at Austin often complained that these spring break hearings meant they had to choose
between traveling to South Padre with their friends or staying home to testify alongside pro-campus carry
activists from Texas Tech, Texas State, Texas A&M, UT-Arlington, UT-Dallas, etc. However, Texas Senate Bill 11
received its first public hearing on February 12, 2015—more than a month before UT's spring break—and
neither Jessica Jin nor any of her fellow #CocksNotGlocks leaders were there to testify.
The suggestion that the Texas Legislature should accommodate UT-Austin at the expense of the other 37 public
universities says a lot about the mindset of these anti-campus carry activists—they see it as an injustice that the
Legislature chose a date that was equally convenient for students from all 38 public universities, rather than a
date that was convenient for the activists but unmanageable for students from most other universities (NOTE:
committee hearings are typically announced the week before; therefore, it’s not as if students were already out of
town when the hearings were announced). It tells you even more that when the Texas Legislature did pick a date
that was more convenient for UT-Austin than for any other university, the loudest opponents at UT-Austin didn't
bother to show up.
It should be noted that the Texas Legislature considered campus carry bills during four consecutive sessions
(2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015) and that, during all four of those sessions, campus carry bills passed out of
committee in both chambers, regardless of when committee hearings were held. The notion that the presence or
absence of the University Democrats from UT-Austin somehow decided the fate of those bills is wishful thinking.
As in previous sessions, SB 11 had the support of a large majority in both chambers. The only difference in 2015
was that the Senate's two-thirds rule was changed to a three-fifths rule, which made it harder for a minority to
block a popular bill.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/12/2017
Houston Community College Trustee Still Doesn't Understand Texas' Campus Carry Law
AUSTIN, TX – In criticizing Texas' campus carry law—which will take effect August 1 at state community colleges—
Houston Community College trustee Zeph Cappo recently complained, "We are allowing 18 and 19 year olds who
have no formed judgment to be carrying weapons around…someone else’s kids.” Apparently, taking the time to
study and understand the laws his institution is expected to abide by just isn't Mr. Cappo's style.
Among the general population, the minimum age to obtain a Texas license to carry (LTC) is 21. There is an
exception for members and veterans of the U.S. armed forces, who can obtain an LTC at age 18; however, as of
January 1, 2016—the most recent date for which statistics are available—there were no more than 333 Texas
LTCs held by military personnel and veterans age 18-20. In that age range, that's a licensing rate of 0.0275%.
Assuming that this rate holds true at Houston Community College, there would be no more than four licensed 18-
to 20-year-old students spread across HCC's eighteen campuses and 58,000 students—one licensed 18- to 20-
year-old for every 4.5 campuses and 14,500 students.
To put it another way, a college trustee is ranting about the risk posed by four men or women trained in the use
of military weapons and trusted with the defense of this nation. Of course, putting it that way doesn't allow for
the type of ignorant fear mongering favored by the likes of Zeph Cappo.
Perhaps Cappo's problem isn't that he failed to research the issue; perhaps the problem is that he relied on
unreliable sources. Some anti-campus carry activists have claimed that Texas' reciprocity agreements with states
that have lower age limits for LTCs would allow younger students to circumvent Texas' age limit by obtaining out-
of-state licenses. However, the reality is that every Texas reciprocity agreement states that persons licensed by
the reciprocating state must “comply with all laws, rules, and regulations of the State of Texas governing
concealed carry, including age restrictions [emphasis added].”
Cappo's reference to "someone else's kids" refers to dual-enrolled high school students taking dual credit classes
at community colleges. Students for Concealed Carry previously addressed this argument by pointing out that
parents assume all sorts of risks by allowing their minor children to attend college—risks that range from allowing
their young daughters to attend class with much older men to allowing their sons to attend class in an
environment where nobody will stop them if they decide to leave school in the middle of the day—and that the
Texas Legislature, which has seen fit to allow licensed concealed carry in locations such as movie theaters,
shopping malls, restaurants, and churches, clearly never intended to prohibit guns everywhere children might be
During the same rant, Cappo went on to proclaim, “If the day comes where blood flows on our campus…it is on
[legislators'] hands and their heads.” Perhaps he can console himself with the knowledge that, after a combined
total of approximately 2,000 semesters of campus carry on almost 200 U.S. college campuses, not one campus-
carry college has reported a single resulting assault, suicide attempt, or fatality. Or maybe he should just read
these articles about the successful rollout of campus carry at Texas' four-year universities:
"WT transitions smoothly to first semester of campus carry" - Amarillo Globe-News - Dec. 19, 2016
"No gun related incidents reported at UTEP since SB11 went into effect" - KFOX 14 - Oct. 24, 2016
"Midwestern State encouraged by early results of campus carry policy" - KAUZ - Oct. 19, 2016
"Campus carry off to quiet start" - Denton Record-Chronicle - Oct. 15, 2016
"The Beginning of Campus Carry: As a Texas student affected by the law, I never would’ve imagined how much my
opinion has changed" - Study Breaks - Sept. 21, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/17/2017
In Editorial Against Campus Carry, L.A. Times Can't Stay on Topic
AUSTIN, TX – In a January 17 editorial titled "Allowing concealed weapons on college campuses is a silly, and
dangerous, idea," the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times seems unclear as to what exactly they're opposing.
They use the opportunity to rail against civilian ownership of "military-style firearms," to decry the nation's
problem with mass shootings, and to argue that firearms make domestic disputes more dangerous.
The editorial opens by suggesting that college is "a time of boundary-testing, experimentation and alcohol-fueled
parties." We in the Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry can't speak to what goes on at UCLA and
Berkeley, but we can honestly say we've never seen an alcohol-fueled party in a college library, lecture hall,
laboratory, or cafeteria here in Texas. Maybe students regularly roam the hallowed halls of Cal State with six-
packs of beer and fifths of vodka, but here in Texas, such activities are typically relegated to fraternity houses,
bars, tailgating events, and off-campus parties, none of which are impacted by the state's campus carry law.
In reference to Texas’ law, the Times writes, "With no apparent sense of irony, lawmakers made the effective date
of the law Aug. 1, 2016, the 50th anniversary of the incident in which Marine-trained sniper [sic] Charles Whitman
climbed to the top of the University of Texas at Austin clock tower and, over a period of more than 90 minutes,
killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others in what is considered the nation’s first campus mass killing
[links in original]."
With no apparent sense of irony, the editorial board links the UT-Austin gunman’s name to Pamela Colloff's
excellent August 2006 Texas Monthly article "96 Minutes," which includes a number of eyewitness accounts of
how armed bystanders saved lives by returning fire during the 1966 sniper attack at the University of Texas at
Absent any clear direction, the editorial continues, "As the nation has learned so painfully, there is little that can
be done once someone has armed himself — and it is almost always a him — and starts shooting up a school or a
workplace or a neighborhood, intending to kill as many people as possible. Lax gun control and the pernicious
influence of the NRA have made access to military-style firearms far too easy, thus making people with a violent
impulse — born of mental illness, anger or an insatiable grudge — all the more deadly [link in original]."
Is the Times arguing that a license to carry makes a person more likely to or capable of carrying out a mass
shooting or that a person with a license to carry has little chance of stopping a mass shooting? The point isn't
entirely clear, but both possibilities are born out of flawed reasoning and bogus statistics. The Times can't point to
a single resulting assault, suicide attempt, or fatality on a college campus that allows the licensed concealed carry
of handguns. It's doubtful they can point to a single public mass shooting anywhere that was somehow facilitated
by lawful, licensed concealed carry.
The suggestion that the primary purpose of campus carry is the prevention of mass shootings is a straw man
argument. The primary purpose of campus carry is to ensure that licensed adults enjoy the same measure of
personal protection on campus that they already enjoy off campus. Despite the claims of gun control activists with
a penchant for torturing false confessions out of numbers, the reality is that very few mass shootings have
occurred in locations where licensed concealed carry was generally allowed, and even fewer have involved armed
license to carry holders being on scene at the time of the shooting. The closest gun control activists can point to
are a couple of incidents in which armed citizens were nearby at the time and/or rushed to the scene after the
When one hears survivors of the Virginia Tech massacre recount spending five minutes on the phone with a 911
operator before being shot or seeing the gunman stop to reload or watching a professor sacrifice his life by
barricading a classroom door with his body, it's hard to believe that no scenario exists in which a licensed
individual with a handgun could have defended himself or herself. The idea that nothing can be done once the
shooting starts is wishful thinking on the part of ideologues who desperately need to believe that possessing a
firearm can only make things worse.
After citing a few statistics on the annual number of gun deaths in America and making the typical straw man
arguments about how campus carry doesn't lower crime rates (a claim not found in any of SCC's literature), the
Times argues, "Studies have found a correlation between higher statewide restrictions on access to guns and
lower levels of gun violence in those states." While that may be true, it should be noted that those studies did not
find a correlation between higher statewide restrictions on access to guns and lower levels of homicide/gun
homicide in those states. The correlation between gun laws and gun deaths is entirely dependent on suicides,
which almost always occur in the victim’s home, where campus carry has little or no impact.
Furthermore, there is a big difference between overall restrictions on access to guns and the laws governing
licensed concealed carry. Given that Texas license to carry holders commit violent crimes at approximately 1/5 the
rate of the general population and have traditionally committed so few crimes as to make no statistical impact on
Texas' overall crime rates, the evidence does not support the assertion that licensed concealed carry somehow
makes a state more dangerous.
The editorial concludes by pointing to studies showing that women involved in violent relationships are more
likely to be murdered if there is a gun in the home and by citing U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the Second
Amendment, neither of which has much to do with the question of whether licensed, vetted adults should be
allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that they're already allowed virtually
The truth is that, just as licensed concealed carry has been a non-issue in the states that allow it, campus carry has
been a non-issue on the campuses that allow it. However, because it offends the cultural prejudices held by the
editorial board of the L.A. Times, they felt compelled to cobble together a condescending, unfocused screed
against it. Thankfully, their brand of small-minded bigotry holds little sway in the Lone Star State.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/20/2017
Before Attempting to Revise Texas' Gun Laws, Freshman Lawmakers Should Read Them
AUSTIN, TX – On Thursday, January 19, freshman Texas State Representative Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin) and
Students Against Campus Carry President Ana Lopez gave a press conference in support of Rep. Hinojosa's
proposed legislation to ensure that license to carry (LTC) holders carrying handguns under the state's new campus
carry law may not do so while intoxicated. This caused veteran Texas policy wonks to scratch their heads, due to
the fact that carrying a concealed handgun while intoxicated has been illegal since Texas' original concealed
handgun licensing law took effect 21 years ago.
Texas Penal Code Section 46.035(d) states, "A license holder commits an offense if, while intoxicated, the license
holder carries a handgun under the authority of Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, regardless of
whether the handgun is concealed or carried in a shoulder or belt holster." A violation is punishable by one year in
jail, a fine of up to $4,000 dollars, and a mandatory five- to seven-year revocation of the offender's license to
At a Jan. 11 meeting of the Texas Coalition to Reduce Gun Violence, Rep. Hinojosa stated that she wants to make
sure the prohibition against carrying while intoxicated applies to all types of firearms. Such a bill might make
sense in light of the fact that Penal Code Section 46.035(d) applies only to handguns carried by LTC holders;
however, why then did Rep. Hinojosa choose to pitch her proposed law in terms of campus carry, which also
applies only to handguns carried by LTC holders?
Brian Bensimon, Texas legislative director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Students for Concealed
Carry supports efforts to prevent drinking and carrying; however, we're not sure why Rep. Hinojosa is attempting
to tie this effort to campus carry, given that carrying a concealed handgun while intoxicated is already a serious
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/23/2017
CTC Adopts Campus Carry Policy Rejected as Too Dangerous by UT Regents
AUSTIN, TX – Central Texas College (Killeen) has adopted two highly dubious campus carry policies, including one
that mirrors a proposal the University of Texas board of regents rejected after experts advised that implementing
it would greatly increase the risk of an accidental or negligent discharge on campus.
CTC, one of dozens of two-year colleges where Texas' campus carry law will take effect on Aug. 1, announced the
policies at a Jan. 18 forum for students. Both policies track with recommendations of the campus carry policy
working group at the University of Texas at Austin. One policy would allow occupants of single-occupant offices to
designate their offices as criminally enforceable "gun-free" zones. The other would require that all handguns be
carried without a chambered round of ammunition. Students for Concealed Carry has written extensively about
the problems with gun-free-office and empty-chamber rules.
The problem with allowing faculty and staff to arbitrarily designate their offices as "gun-free" zones—a right not
enjoyed by any other state employee, including legislators and the governor—is that it prohibits many if not most
licensed faculty, staff, and graduate students from legally carrying concealed handguns on campus, because their
jobs require them to occasionally enter private offices.
The problem with requiring that handguns be carried with empty chambers is that such a policy would force
license to carry (LTC) holders, most of whom would otherwise never have reason to unholster and handle their
handguns on campus, to unload and reload their guns in their private automobiles parked in campus parking lots,
where colleges have no authority to prohibit such actions. After numerous experts warned that such a policy
would increase the risk of an accidental or negligent discharge on campus, the University of Texas System regents
rejected UT-Austin's proposed empty-chamber rule.
It's worth noting that, whereas the proposed UT-Austin policy stated, "Semiautomatic handguns must be carried
without a chambered round of ammunition [emphasis added]," the policy unveiled during the CTC forum states,
"All concealed handguns brought on campus must be holstered without a chambered round and with the trigger
safety mechanism engaged [emphasis added]." At least UT-Austin's working group—which admitted they "did not
formally hear from outside experts" before proposing the empty-chamber policy—knew enough about firearms to
understand that a revolver always has a loaded chamber as long as there is ammunition in the gun.
The only way to carry a revolver without a chambered round would be to carry a completely unloaded—and,
therefore, completely useless—gun. It's also worth noting that most modern handguns do not feature a manually
engaged trigger safety mechanism. Also, many of the handguns that do have a manual safety require the hammer
to be cocked—which it normally wouldn't be if the chamber is empty—before the safety can be engaged.
SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon commented, "It's almost as if the people who created CTC's
empty-chamber policy gained all of their firearm knowledge from old TV shows."
SCC Texas Legislative Director Allison Peregory added, "The adoption of these policies is the clearest indicator thus
far that the Texas Legislature will need to revisit campus carry during the current session."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/24/2017
Texas HB 375 Would Have Minimal Impact on Campus Carry
AUSTIN, TX – In the wake of recent news coverage of the push to pass "constitutional"—or unlicensed—carry (of
handguns) in Texas, Students for Concealed Carry wants to make clear that House Bill 375 by Rep. Jonathan
Stickland would not remove the licensing requirement from Texas' campus carry law.
Students for Concealed Carry only advocates for the licensed, concealed carry of handguns on college campuses
and does not take a position on unlicensed carry, open carry, or carry at K-12 schools (aka "school carry").
However, because recent news coverage has created the impression that HB 375 would remove the licensing
requirement and age limits for campus carry, SCC wants to set the record straight.
HB 375, as it is currently written, makes no changes to either Penal Code Section 46.03(a)(1), which makes
possession of a firearm on a college campus a third-degree felony, or PC Sec. 46.03(a)(1)(B), which creates an
exception for a license to carry (LTC) holder carrying a concealed handgun. It's possible that leaving this portion of
the Penal Code untouched was an oversight on the part of Rep. Stickland; however, as his bill is currently written,
it would leave the state's campus carry law virtually unchanged.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for SCC, commented, "Our organization takes no position on HB 375
or the issue of 'constitutional carry'; however, part of our mission is to educate the public on how pending
legislation would impact campus carry, and the reality is that—as best we can tell—Rep. Stickland's bill would
have little impact on Texas' campus carry law."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/25/2017
Campus Carry: Lone Star College Uses Sledgehammer to Kill Mosquito
AUSTIN, TX – The campus carry task force at Lone Star College in Houston has recommended the same legally
questionable, hotly contested gun-free-offices policy adopted by Central Texas College and several universities
within the UT System. The task force has also recommended a policy that would prohibit the carrying of a
concealed handgun in any location in which any person might have difficulty concealing a handgun—a broad ban
intended to address a relatively narrow concern. LSC is one of dozens of two-year colleges where Texas' campus
carry law will take effect on Aug. 1.
Recommendation number five from the LSC campus carry task force states:
The occupant of an office to which that employee has been solely assigned and that is not generally open
to the public should be permitted, at the employee's discretion, to prohibit the concealed carry of a
handgun in that office. An employee who declares their office gun-free must provide notice that the
concealed carry of a handgun is prohibited. The employee must make reasonable accommodations for an
alternative meeting location.
As noted in SCC's Jan. 23 press release regarding the campus carry policies approved by Central Texas College in
Killeen, the problem with allowing faculty and staff to arbitrarily designate their offices as "gun-free" zones—a
right not enjoyed by any other state employee, including legislators and the governor—is that it prohibits many if
not most licensed faculty, staff, and graduate students from legally carrying concealed handguns on campus,
because their jobs require them to occasionally enter private offices.
LSC task force recommendations number eight and nine list locations where the licensed, concealed carry of
handguns would be prohibited:
Recommendation No 8
Premises of Lone Star College where clothes would be changed thus necessitating the concealed handgun
be removed by the carrier shall be gun-free. A gym locker room would constitute such an area.
Recommendation No 9
Premises of Lone Star College used as specialized classroom housing programs requiring protective
equipment/clothing or involving activities that make concealment problematic, such as but not limited to,
auto repair or HVAC training classrooms, should be gun-free.
This means that, rather than simply requiring students, faculty, and staff to abide by the state law mandating that
license to carry (LTC) holders on college campuses keep their handguns concealed, the committee recommends
that licensed concealed carry be completely banned in locker rooms. And rather than simply creating a policy
stating that participants in certain activities that require protective clothing or that make concealment
problematic may not carry concealed handguns while participating in those activities, the committee recommends
an absolute ban on licensed concealed carry in locations where such activities take place.
Under these policies, an LTC-holding university employee whose job involves performing cleaning or maintenance
duties in a locker room is required to be disarmed at work. An LTC-holding faculty or staff member whose office is
located in a fitness center in which all restrooms are located within locker rooms is required to either leave the
building to use the restroom or be disarmed at work. An IT worker whose job requires him or her to sometimes
work on computers in the auto repair or HVAC training classrooms must be disarmed at work.
There is no need for colleges to create such broad bans to address such narrow concerns. State law and the
judgment of LTC holders are generally adequate to avoid problems in off-campus locker rooms and off-campus
auto repair or HVAC repair shops; therefore, it stands to reason that state law, the judgment of LTC holders, and
narrowly written school policies (i.e., policies prohibiting the carrying of concealed handguns during certain
activities) should be more than adequate to avoid problems on a community college campus.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Some of these
schools act as if Texas doesn't have a twenty-one-year history of safely allowing trained, vetted, licensed adults to
carry concealed handguns for personal protection. These institutions are going to keep trying to micromanage
campus carry until the Legislature finally says, 'Enough is enough.'"
Campus Carry poses no threat to early
college high school students
By Allison H. Peregory, Contributor
Special to The Dallas Morning News
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Imagine you're a parent of a typical 15-year-old girl. Her world revolves around school, friends and boys.
Most Friday and Saturday nights, you drop her off at the mall or the movie theater for a couple of hours.
She's taking driver's ed and dreams of having a car.
Now imagine that your daughter comes to you and asks to sign up for dual-credit early start classes at the
local community college. What is your biggest concern? Is it that she might have trouble juggling the
added course load? Is it that she might start hanging out with older girls who smoke or drink or (because
community colleges lack hall monitors and strict attendance policies) leave class to get high at their
apartment across the street? Is it that she might attract the attention of some of the much older men who
attend class with her? Or is it that a few of the same vetted, licensed adults, age 21 and above, who
regularly carry concealed handguns at the movie theater and shopping mall she frequents might also carry
guns on campus?
Some gun-control activists in Texas want to convince parents that the latter poses the greatest threat.
However, just as a parent who drops a teen off at a movie theater, shopping mall, municipal library or
state museum understands that the teen is entering the real world, so must a parent who leaves a teen on a
college campus. And just as a teen almost anywhere else in the state may unknowingly come into contact
with armed license-to-carry holders, so may a teen on a Texas college campus.
Licensed concealed carry has been the law of the land in Texas for more than 20 years. There is nothing
unwise or particularly unusual about requiring state colleges to play by the same rules as state museums,
municipal libraries, and even the Texas Capitol, all of which are required to allow the licensed concealed
carry of handguns. The only exceptional thing about "campus carry," as it has come to be known, is that a
handgun carried on the campus of a state college must be kept concealed. Unlike at the library or
museum, your daughter won't encounter openly carried handguns at her community college.
Change is always scary, and nobody can begrudge the administrators of community colleges or the
parents of early start students a little apprehension about the impending implementation of the state's
campus carry law. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that such concerns will fade quickly
once the law takes effect.
On an almost daily basis, parents face a barrage of warnings about possible threats to their children. Are
vaccines safe? Are children more likely to be abducted now than in the past? Are rock bands hiding
satanic messages in their lyrics? It's not always easy to separate the dangerous from the hyperbolic.
However, parents who arm themselves with the facts will find that the safety of early start college
students was seriously considered when Texas lawmakers (who are required to allow licensed carry in
their own offices) passed the state's campus carry law.
Allison H. Peregory is a pre-law senior at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas legislative director
to Students for Concealed Carry. Twitter: @AlliePeregory
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 01/30/2017
Latest Statistics Bolster Case for Campus Carry in Texas
AUSTIN, TEXAS – The Texas Department of Public Safety has released its 2016 demographic data on Texas license
to carry (LTC) holders, and for the third consecutive year, LTC holders of typical college age had their licenses
revoked at a lower rate than did LTC holders twenty years older.
Here are the statistics collected by Students for Concealed Carry since SCC first started monitoring this data in
AGE GROUP 18* to 23 years old 21 to 23 years old 38 to 43 years old
2014 REVOCATION RATE 0.189% 0.186% 0.196%
2015 REVOCATION RATE 0.147% 0.150% 0.155%
2016 REVOCATION RATE 0.118% 0.120% 0.160%
*A person age 18-20 can obtain a Texas LTC only if he or she is a member or veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Brian Bensimon, SCC's Southwest regional director, commented, "Our opponents often claim that, because the
average college student is much younger than the average license to carry holder, the statistics showing LTC
holders to be responsible and law-abiding aren't relevant to the debate over campus carry. However, this data
from the Texas Department of Public Safety clearly shows that college-age license holders are just as law-abiding
as their older counterparts."
The Texas DPS statistics also show a continuing decline in the rate of revocations among young LTC holders. This is
particularly noteworthy in light of the fact that the number of licenses issued to college-age applicants in 2016
represents a 66 percent increase from the year before. More Texans of typical college age are licensed to carry
handguns than ever before, yet the rate of revocations among that age group is on the decline.
Mike Newbern, assistant director of public relations, suggested that the surge in young people getting licensed to
carry contradicts recent claims that millennials aren't interested in licensed concealed carry.
"It's true that license applications are up across all age groups," said Newbern, "but the fact that, over the past
three years, the college-age demographic has seen an average annual increase 10 percent higher than the middle-
age demographic typically associated with concealed carry suggests that maybe some of the surveys and man-on-
the-street interviews touted by our opponents are no more accurate than were the polling data that mispredicted
the recent presidential election."
Newbern continued, "Most college campuses are notoriously hostile toward campus carry, so it stands to reason
that the students, faculty, and staff who support it may be hesitant to make their voices heard. However, the fact
that college-age Texans are getting licensed to carry in record numbers suggests that this group is interested in
being able to protect themselves."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 02/02/2017
What happened to UT-Austin's anti-campus carry movement?
AUSTIN, TEXAS – The protest dildos have long since vanished from campus, the social media accounts for
Students Against Campus Carry and Gun Free UT have been mostly dark for months, and the editorial board of the
UT student newspaper has moved on to more topical issues, so we have to ask: What happened to the anti-
campus carry movement at the University of Texas at Austin?
Last August, when organizers of the #CocksNotGlocks protest distributed 4,500 free dildos to students at UT-
Austin, protesters said they intended to dangle the sex toys from their backpacks for as long as license to carry
(LTC) holders were allowed to have handguns in their backpacks. Five months later, those thousands of phalluses
seem to have been either discarded or put to more traditional use.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "Even in the days
immediately following the protest, you didn't see people walking around campus with dildos hanging from their
backpacks. People got excited about the protest because it was funny, but it didn't hold their attention for long."
Students Against Campus Carry hasn't used their Twitter account since Oct. 7. Their last Facebook post was Dec. 1.
Since Oct. 16, Gun Free UT's Twitter account has consisted of nothing but off-topic retweets and a link to a story
about a red panda escaping from a zoo. During that same time, they've made just five posts to their Facebook
page, only one of which deals with campus carry.
Although the California-based #CocksNotGlocks organization still posts about campus carry, they've largely shifted
their focus to pending legislation in Wisconsin and Arkansas. And like Gun Free UT, they have a hard time staying
on topic, often using their platform to speak out on reproductive rights, LGBTQ issues, healthcare, and President
So what happened to the anti-campus carry fervor that got the #CocksNotGlocks protest featured in a segment on
Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"? Where are the rallies and marches in support of the two
pending bills (HB 282 and HB 391) that would allow public colleges to opt out of Texas' campus carry law? One
possible explanation is found in a Sept. 20 column in Study Breaks magazine. In the column, published four weeks
after the start of the fall semester, University of Texas at San Antonio student Jessica Peña writes:
Besides the hype of the [campus carry] bill itself, there was so much additional scrutiny added by protests
from faculty and students, such as the “Cocks Not Glocks” movement at UT Austin, that I couldn’t help but
think about my safety as I sat in class with a room full of potentially weapon-wielding gun owners my own
The thought of an unstable person taking out a weapon in a crowded class made me fear for my safety.
Time seemed to slow as my anxiety mounted with the possibility of a gun being in such close proximity.
Anger toward the people who passed the ridiculous law flared inside me.
Now I’ve been in school for more than three weeks.
By this point, classes are in full swing, and not even the grueling task of analyzing “Ulysses” is enough to
make my mind wander back to the issue of guns on campus.
While I had apprehensions when I heard about the law, and even fears at the beginning of the semester, I
can’t deny that they quickly became the last thing on my mind.
In October 2015, The Daily Texan, the student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin, refused to publish a
student's pro-campus carry op-ed because the student claimed that campus carry would prove to be a non-issue.
Now, six months after the law took effect, most of the UT community is acting as though campus carry is a non-
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 02/08/2017
Is the Campus Carry Movement the Chicken or the Egg?
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Vocal conspiracy theorist and alleged batterer of young women Alex Colvin, who never misses a
chance to be not just wrong but spectacularly wrong about campus carry, recently told the University of Houston
student newspaper that the campus carry movement grew not out of a grassroots push by people who want the
lawful ability to defend themselves on college campuses but, rather, out of the NRA's desire to lay the
groundwork for the statewide unlicensed carry of handguns.
Colvin told the paper that the campus carry movement was manufactured by the NRA and that "[Campus Carry]
laws are not an example of the people petitioning their elected representatives for laws they want; they are an
example of corporate interests and their foot soldiers in the statehouses imposing their will on the electorate,
against the public."
In reality, it was the grassroots activists at Students for Concealed Carry who solicited the NRA's involvement and
asked the Texas State Rifle Association to get involved, during the early days of the campus carry movement. As
for the Texas Legislature "imposing their will on the electorate, against the public," there have been exactly three
impartial, scientific polls on the subject, within the past two years. Two showed a statistical tie between Texas
voters who support campus carry and those who oppose it (one poll found slightly more voters in support of
campus carry, and the other found slightly more voters opposed to campus carry; however, the results of both
were within the margins of error). The third poll found 51% of Texas voters supporting some measure of campus
carry (with 25% supporting it everywhere and 26% supporting it in approved places) and only 37% opposing it
Colvin also told the UH student paper, "Unlicensed open carry is another name for constitutional carry and has
been in the works for some time. Campus carry was simply a preliminary entrée to it. This is well known."
We at Students for Concealed Carry would love to know which tinfoil-hat conspiracy blog provided Mr. Colvin with
this "well known" fact. How exactly does he imagine this particular strategy working?
STEP 1: The evil gun lobby pushes a law predicated on widespread acceptance of the effectiveness of the
safeguards imposed by the state's license to carry program?
STEP 2: The evil gun lobby proposes eliminating the same highly effective safeguards they just finished touting?
If unlicensed carry (an issue on which SCC takes no position) were the end goal, why would the gun lobby's
preamble to that goal be an unrelated bill that draws added attention to who can carry a gun? Why would the gun
lobby spend eight years emphasizing that only trained, vetted adults—age 21 and above—are allowed to carry
handguns in Texas, if the lobby's end goal were to remove those training, vetting, and age restrictions? Contrary
to the paranoid ramblings of a delusional 58-year-old college undergrad, the campus carry movement is unrelated
to efforts to reduce or eliminate handgun licensing requirements.
The fact that Alex J. Colvin, founder and spokesperson for the seemingly defunct Gun Free UH, is the most
qualified anti-campus carry expert the UH student paper could locate speaks to just how little most opponents of
campus carry actually know about the issue.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 02/13/2017
PBS Produces Anti-Campus Carry Propaganda to Accompany 'Tower' Documentary
AUSTIN, TEXAS – If you were producing a short documentary about Texas' campus carry law, wouldn’t you want
the input of the student-led organization that started the campus carry movement, solicited the support of both
the National Rifle Association and its state affiliates, and popularized the phrase "campus carry"? This apparently
wasn't a priority for PBS when it produced the short documentary "Guns on Campus" to accompany the network's
upcoming broadcast of "Tower," the award-winning feature-length documentary about the 1966 sniper attack at
the University of Texas at Austin.
Producer/director Joanne Elgart Jennings waited until she was at the airport, on her way to Texas, before reaching
out to the Texas chapter of Students for Concealed Carry. SCC Southwest Regional Director Brian Bensimon was
eager to speak to Jennings about his organization's positions and activism, but Jennings refused to interview
Bensimon for the documentary unless he agreed to let her film him showing off a gun in his apartment. Bensimon
explained that SCC has a strict policy against representatives displaying their handguns to the media, but Jennings
refused to budge, and SCC was excluded from PBS's documentary about the issue SCC created.
Now PBS is promoting a campus carry documentary that, despite offering brief clips of a couple of campus carry
supporters, offers no insight into either the campus carry movement or the arguments that got a campus carry
law passed in the Lone Star State. The documentary does, however, include an interview with one of the leaders
of UT-Austin's anti-campus carry movement.
The documentary also includes an interview with a UT-Austin professor who—in stark contrast to most media
reports—claims that campus carry "makes it really hard for [professors] to do [their] job as instructors" because it
has "introduced a level of tension, or wariness, into the classroom setting." At no point during the documentary
does this professor mention that she is one of three professors who filed suit a full month before the law took
effect, seeking to block it.
This five-minute hit piece by PBS also includes a short interview with Ramiro Martinez, a retired Austin police
officer who was one of two officers who shot and killed the perpetrator of the 1966 University of Texas sniper
attack. The piece includes a clip of Martinez speculating about how dangerous it would have been if, during the
96-minute shooting spree, he had encountered an armed citizen who was also looking for the shooter—
something license to carry holders are trained not to do.
The piece neglects to mention that Martinez retired from law enforcement five years before Texas' concealed
carry law took effect and that he has no experience as a law enforcement officer in a state where the licensed,
concealed carry of handguns is allowed. It also neglects to mention that Martinez's 2005 autobiography states, "I
was and am still upset that more recognition has not been given to the citizens who pulled out their hunting rifles
and returned the sniper's fire. The City of Austin and the State of Texas should be forever thankful and grateful to them because
of the many lives they saved that day."
Michael Newbern, assistant director of public relations for SCC, commented, "How does someone produce a
documentary on Texas' campus carry law and not involve the group responsible for virtually every pro-campus
carry op-ed published in Texas during the past decade? How do they not include the one group that ran a TV
commercial supporting passage of the campus carry bill? It's as if the film's producers had no interest in the
individuals and arguments that got the law passed in the first place."
Bensimon, the SCC director who took the call from the documentary's producer/director, explained his feelings on
When Ms. Jennings called, she left a voice mail stating that she was doing a story about "open carry on the
UT campus" and that she planned on filming an "open carry class" and wanted to talk to "gun owners who
can make the case that civilians who are trained and armed can assist law enforcement."
The fact that she referenced gun owners rather than to license to carry holders gave me pause. There is a
big difference between someone who simply buys a gun and someone who goes through the training,
testing, and vetting required to obtain a Texas license to carry.
Also, the fact that she clearly didn't understand the difference between open carry, which remains illegal
on Texas college campuses, and concealed carry, which is what the Texas Legislature voted to allow on
college campuses, made me think she hadn't done much homework before embarking on her trip to Texas.
I was further concerned by the fact that she wanted someone to defend the argument that gun owners
can "assist law enforcement ," which was not one of the arguments behind the passage of Texas' campus
carry law—a law that is about personal protection, not campus protection, that is about allowing licensed
individuals on campus their usual means of self-defense, not about creating amateur security guards.
Given Ms. Jennings' fundamental misunderstandings of the issue, I thought SCC would have a lot to
contribute to her project. But when I returned her call, she was only interested in finding somebody to add
controversy or sex appeal or whatever she thought showing a student with a gun added to her film.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 02/19/2017
Why are UT-Austin graduate students holding office hours in bars?
AUSTIN, TEXAS – A Feb. 18 Houston Chronicle article detailing the rapid decline in anti-campus carry fear and
activism at Texas universities notes that a handful of graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin still
choose to hold class office hours in bars, where the licensed carry of handguns is statutorily prohibited. This raises
the question of why PhD candidates tasked with instructing and enlightening students are coping with their own
unreasonable fear of violent crime by holding office hours in a location where they and their students are more
likely to be the victims of violent crime.
According to a 2004 study, almost one-third of severe violence against men ages 18-30 and almost one-quarter of
severe violence against women ages 18-30 occurs in or around bars. For a graduate student to be so afraid of the
small number of vetted, licensed adults lawfully carrying handguns on campus that he or she decides to hold
office hours in a bar is like a tourist being so afraid of the sharks in the Sea World aquarium that he decides to
move his vacation to the Great Barrier Reef.
According to data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas license to carry holders are convicted of
aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at one-ninth the rate of unlicensed adults. Statistically, an instructor at a
Texas university would be the victim of hundreds of armed assaults by unlicensed students before being the
victim of a single armed assault by a licensed student.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest regional director for Students for Concealed Carry, commented, "If graduate students
want to pretend that campus carry is the reason they're spending all day in a bar, that's their prerogative, but let's
at least acknowledge that they're actually putting themselves in more danger, not less."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 02/20/2017
Associated Press, Austin media miss opportunity to dig into campus carry stats
AUSTIN, TEXAS – On the first day of any college statistics class, students are taught a simple principle: Correlation
does not equal causation. The understanding that one event preceding another is not the same as one event
causing another is considered sacred by scientists but sometimes forgotten by journalists. When a journalist for
The Houston Chronicle reported that there have been three gun discharges on Texas public college campuses
during the past six months, she was careful to note, "Just one had a connection to the new campus carry law."
However, when the Associated Press picked up the story, this not insignificant detail was omitted.
This is how the AP story ends: "A Houston Chronicle review of university records plus interviews found three
firearm discharges on public college campuses, in the first six months of the law. The incidents were at the
University of Houston, Tarleton State and Texas Tech."
If one of your politically idealistic friends made a Facebook post claiming, "There have been hundreds of hate
crimes in America since Trump took office," or, "There have been dozens of sexual assaults in Austin since the
Travis County sheriff instituted a 'sanctuary city' policy," you'd likely stop to ask yourself how many of those
crimes actually had any connection to the event cited by your friend. However, if the Associated Press tells you
that there have been "three firearm discharges on public college campuses, in the first six months of the [campus
carry] law," you're not being unreasonable if you assume that all three were related to the campus carry law.
However, as noted by The Houston Chronicle, evidence ties only one of those discharges—the most minor of the
three—to Texas' campus carry law.
As previously reported by Students for Concealed Carry, a license to carry (LTC) holder experienced an accidental
or negligent discharge on September 24, in his dorm room at Tarleton State University. The incident resulted in
minor damage to the room but no injuries. This incident is unfortunate but not damning. When opponents lined
up to testify against Texas Senate Bill 11, they didn't warn state lawmakers and university officials that there
would be damage to floor tiles; they warned that people would be injured and killed. That hasn't happened.
On most college campuses, a dorm room is the only location with even a moderate risk of an accidental or
negligent discharge. Such incidents generally occur during the handling of an unholstered handgun, and—with the
exception of campuses that require LTC holders to unload their guns before entering buildings—the only place on
campus where an LTC holder might have reason to handle an unholstered handgun is in a dorm room*.
The second incident uncovered by the Chronicle has no apparent ties to campus carry. At approximately 1:30 AM
on Sept. 29, police responded to a report of somebody firing three shots on a public road that runs through Texas
Tech University. No injuries or property damage were reported, and no suspects have been arrested. Not only is
there no evidence tying this purported crime to Texas' campus carry law; the incident didn't occur in an area
affected by the law. Even prior to the enactment of SB 11, licensed concealed carry was allowed on the public
streets and sidewalks running through Texas college campuses, and unlicensed concealed carry was allowed in
cars passing through campus.
As for the third incident—a suicide at a hotel located on the University of Houston campus—you can decide for
yourself whether the law allowing licensed concealed carry at Texas colleges is to blame: After months of writing
about suicide on social media, a UH alumnus purchased a firearm from a Houston sporting goods store and
checked in to an on-campus hotel where he used to work. He then spent a short while making a series of social
media posts explaining his decision to take his own life, telling loved ones where to find his body, and instructing
that he should be cremated. He also criticized the sporting goods store where he purchased the gun, saying that
the purchase was too easy and that the company should stop selling firearms. When he'd said all that he had to
say, he shot and killed himself.
For as long as anybody can remember, there have been shootings on and near Texas college campuses. However,
before the campus carry law went into effect, there was no boogeyman to point to as the assumed culprit. If the
AP's goal was to examine the impact of the new law, they could have compared the number of shooting incidents
during the first semester of campus carry to the numbers in previous semesters. Better still, they could have dug
into the facts of the shootings in question (as The Houston Chronicle did), before insinuating that campus carry
The Associated Press wasn't the only news outlet to present a misleading perspective on this issue. When Fox 7
News in Austin carried the AP story, they used the "three firearm discharges on public college campuses" line to
caption the story on Facebook:
And when Fox 7 aired a short segment on the AP story's main focus—the University of Texas graduate
students who insist on holding office hours in gun-free bars—they trimmed SCC Southwest Regional
Director Brian Bensimon's comments to omit both Bensimon's mention of a scientific study finding that
young people are far more likely to be victimized in or near a bar and his reference to statistics showing
that Texas license to carry holders are far less likely than their unlicensed peers to commit aggravated
assault with a deadly weapon. This inexplicable omission created the impression that Bensimon was
merely stating a personal opinion when he argued that holding office hours in bars places students and
faculty at greater risk.
With regard to the misleading nature of the AP and Fox 7 stories, Bensimon commented:
I have a lot of respect for the news media, as does everyone at SCC, but we have a duty to our
organization and our cause to set the record straight whenever the issue is covered in a way that
is inaccurate or misleading. This isn't about "fake news" or media bias; it's about journalists
looking for the simplest or sexiest approach to covering a complex, unsexy issue. Narrative-
building is an appropriate and necessary part of contemporary journalism, and reporting will
always amount to more than just stenography, but it's crucial that stories not omit important
facts, even if including those facts diminishes narrative appeal.
*An LTC holder living in on-campus housing would likely need to unload his or her gun from
time to time, either to secure it (e.g., if preparing to place the gun in checked baggage
for air travel) or to perform routine maintenance on it.
ABOUT STUDENTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY — Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) is a national, non-partisan, grassroots
organization comprising college students, faculty, staff, and concerned citizens who believe that holders of state-issued
concealed handgun licenses should be allowed the same measure of personal protection on college campuses that
current laws afford them virtually everywhere else. SCC is not affiliated with the NRA or any other organization. For
more information on SCC, visit ConcealedCampus.org or Facebook.com/ConcealedCampus. For more information on
the debate over campus carry in Texas, visit WhyCampusCarry.com.
Brian Bensimon, Southwest Regional Director, SCC: email@example.com
Michael Newbern, Assistant Director of Public Relations, SCC: firstname.lastname@example.org
SCC's 2015 Texas Legislative Handout (Includes Dec. 9 - May 22, 2015, Press Releases and Op-Eds)
Texas Students for Concealed Carry Press Releases Regarding UT-Austin's Campus Carry Policies