University of Texas students, staff protest new gun law

Students and staff members at the University of at Austin have held a rally calling for a gun-free campus.  
The demonstration on Wednesday coincided with the first day of the university’s semester classes.
The protesters opposed the law allowing license holders to carry their weapons into university buildings, classrooms and dormitories.
On Monday, a US district judge rejected a motion by a group of University of Texas professors to block a law that allows students carry guns in their classrooms.
The new law, which was introduced earlier this month, allowed handgun license holders aged 21 and older to bring their concealed handguns into classrooms and other facilities on the roughly 50,000-student campus.
“These laws won’t protect anyone. The campus doesn’t want them,” Jessica Jin, an organizer of the protest, said on Wednesday. “It’s absurd. So, I thought, we have to fight absurdity with absurdity.”
“For the state to deny research about gun safety and allow this in classrooms is kind of obscene,” Jin said.

Students of the University of Texas protest the so-called “campus carry” law. (File photo)

The law which went into effect earlier this month has sparked a heated debate among students, teachers, gun owners and political figures concerned about university campus security.
The university professors tried to ban the so-called “campus carry” law on the grounds that it harms academic freedom.
The professors argued that young people who are experiencing the college life should not be given access to guns as it would be a recipe for disaster.
The professors also feared that the presence of armed students would force them alter their classroom presentations on controversial issues such as reproductive rights to prevent possible violence.
On August 1, 1966, the University of Texas in Austin witnessed one of the deadliest mass shootings in the country’s history, when student Charles Whitman killed 16 people in a rampage, gunning them down firing from a perch atop a clock tower on the campus.
Firearms had been banned at universities in since 1995 until this year.

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