College students in Texas are now permitted to carry handguns in school. A new state law that went into effect on Monday August 1st, permits students who are at least 21 years old and have a concealed handgun license, to bring guns onto most college campuses. The controversial campus law permits the students to do so at all public colleges and universities.
While some college facilities, including sports arenas and chemical labs, are off-limits for concealed gun holders, private schools and two-year community colleges are excluded until next year.
According to proponents of the law, an armed student body might be able to prevent incidents of mass shootings before the police might arrive. Critics however fear that new measures might encourage more violence, especially in a school environment filled with depression and alcohol.
The Texas law took effect on the 50th anniversary of the clock tower massacre – one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history – in which a student gunman shot 49 people, killing 16, at the University of Texas at Austin. The shooter, Charles Whitman, a Marine-trained 25-yr-old engineering student, climbed to the 28th-floor observation deck of a campus clock tower and began firing on students and staff.
The University of Texas unsuccessfully lobbied against the law which was pushed through by Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott and a majority in the Republican-led state Legislature.