August 1, 2016

(Dallas, TX):  The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus (The Campaign) issued the following statement on the enactment of the campus carry law in Texas, taking effect today on the 50th Anniversary of the UT-Austin Tower shooting.

“Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the library tower shooting at the University of Texas at Austin, where one man, a 25 year-old military veteran and student climbed the library tower on campus with rifles, handguns, and shotguns, and shot 49 people killing 14 (earlier in the day he also killed two family members). It is uncertain exactly why he committed this heinous act, but 50 years later, we still face the threat of mass shootings – a threat exacerbated by a new law permitting concealed carry of handguns on campus (SB 11).

As of August 1, 2016, all four-year public universities in Texas must allow the concealed carry of handguns on the majority of campus. Legislators who supported this bill argued that it would stop mass shootings, protect potential victims against rape, and generally make campuses safer. Legislators failed to listen to the overwhelming majority of citizens who testified against SB 11. Those same legislators failed to listen to the survivors of the 1966 tower shooting who testified that there was mass chaos during the incident when other students rushed to their cars to claim their rifles and fire back. Those same legislators failed to listen to assault survivors who testified that a weapon would have made the situation much worse. Those same legislators also failed to listen to campus administrators, faculty, and students, who testified to evidence that the best way to preserve campus safety – and to prevent not just crime, but also suicides and accidents – is to continue prohibiting weapons.

Today’s real focus and attention should be directed on honoring the 16 killed and 49 wounded, and thinking about ways in which we can reduce gun violence in our nation and preserve safety on America’s campuses. Unfortunately, supporters of SB 11 have usurped today’s anniversary with the enactment of a law to force guns on campus for every public 4 year school, with no concern about the negative impacts on campus communities.”

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The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push loaded, concealed guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 420 colleges and universities in 42 states have joined the Campaign.

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Andy Pelosi, Executive Director, [email protected] (914-629-6726)

Julie Gavran, Western Director, [email protected]