A Very Special Semicentennial
Of all the days for campus carry to take effect in Texas….
Texas’s new campus-carry law, passed by the Legislature last spring, is set to take effect in the summer of 2016. The law grants the state’s public colleges and universities some latitude in their individual policies concerning guns on campuses. The schools are expected to develop their plans this year, based on input from students, faculty, and other stakeholders before the law goes into effect just before the 2016 academic year begins.
I knew all that, but not until I stumbled across this article in The Alcalde, the Texas Exes magazine, did I confront a grotesque coincidence of the timing: the campus carry law is scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2016.
That just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the day that a deranged sniper went to the top of the University of Texas at Austin’s tower and proceeded to kill 16 people during the course of a 96-minute-long shooting spree that is now remembered as one of America’s first mass shootings.
To be fair, a number of witnesses who testified in favor of allowing campus carry, both this year and during previous legislative sessions, cited the tower shooting as a prime example of a situation in which law-abiding citizens carrying concealed weapons may improve public safety. All the same, that’s not why campus carry is officially coming to Texas on August 1, 2016. This is just a comically lurid coincidence that led me to ask myself whether the Lege should lose its lawmaking privileges, and probably raises more substantive questions for many of you.