50 years to the day after a Marine college student with a brain tumor* murdered his mother and wife and then went on a sniper rampage at the University of Texas clock tower, students at public Texas universities have regained the right to armed self defense.

Concealed handgun license holders in Texas can carry their weapons into public university buildings, classrooms and dorms starting Monday, a day that also marks 50 years after the mass shooting at the University of Texas’ landmark clock tower.

The campus-carry law pushed by Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican legislative majority makes Texas one of a handful of states guaranteeing the right to carry concealed handguns on campus.

Texas has allowed concealed handguns in public for 20 years. Gun rights advocates consider it an important protection, given the constitutional right to bear arms, as well as a key self-defense measure in cases of campus violence, such as the 1966 UT shootings and the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech.

Opponents of the law fear it will chill free speech on campus and lead to more campus suicide. The former dean of the University of Texas School of Architecture left for a position at the University of Pennsylvania because of his opposition to allowing guns on campus.

Officials told the Austin American-Statesman it was a coincidence that the law took effect 50 years to the day after the UT shooting.

Concealed carry has occurred on college campuses for a long as protective fathers have sent their sons and daughters off to college. I was personally aware of at least two young ladies and a young man who carried concealed weapons in the early 1990s before concealed carry became legal anywhere in North Carolina (1995) because of the fear of human predators on and near campuses, and I’ve heard anecdotes of such stories dating back decades prior to that around the nation.

Ten states have preceded Texas in passing campus carry laws. Based upon the rash of non-shooting that resulted from those states after they implemented campus carry, I feel fairly confident that those who choose to lawfully carry concealed handguns on Texas campuses will somehow resist the urge to go on random dorm shooting sprees, or blast English professors for assigning Herman Melville’s tedious “Bartleby the Scrivener” every blinking semester.

More than 98-percent of all random mass murder suspects (the redefinition of the phrase “mass shooting” by supporters of gun control have rendered that term essentially meaningless) target so-called “gun free zones” in hopes of driving up casualty counts before law enforcement officers or concealed carriers who may otherwise be on-scene begin returning fire.

Texas Tower

It’s worth noting that the UT clock tower murder’s rampage was limited once armed civilians responded to the scene and began putting accurate rifle fire on his position, forcing him to seek cover and attempt to fire from positions with limited views.

An armed citizen was also among the four people who stormed the tower’s observation deck and helped bring the murderer’s rampage to an end.


*Bearing Arms does not publish the names of mass or spree killers.