Category Archives: take action!

Sample Talking Points

This series was originally published in Huffington Post as an article titled  How To Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call To Action!

We will be publishing this series over the next few days. This is Part 5 and the final part.

Sample Talking Points Against Campus Carry, Against Pro-Campus-Carry-Related Legislation, and in Favor of Opt Out.

(Originally published by Aron Weinberg as an Appendix to Huffington Post Article How to Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call to Action)

  • History. The framers of The Bill of Rights never intended for the 2nd Amendment to be practiced on campuses. When James Madison and Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, they forbid firearms on campus.

Continue reading Sample Talking Points

A Primer on Campus Carry

This series was originally published in Huffington Post as an article titled  How To Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call To Action!

We will be publishing this series over the next few days. This is Part 4.

The below primer, which can also serve as a general resource, provides an overview of facts, figures, and arguments against campus carry from which talking points could be formulated:

  • History. The framers of The Bill of Rights never intended for the 2nd Amendment (1791) to apply to campuses. When Thomas Jefferson and James Madison founded the University of Virginia, they forbid student from carrying firearms on campus. In fact, the fundamental individual right to bear arms under the 2nd Amendment was only established federally in 2008 (DC vs. Heller). The ruling recognized “Like most rights, the 2nd Amendment is not unlimited,” failing to assert this fundamental right in “sensitive places, such as schools and government buildings.” Although Texas is only required to follow statutory minimums established by the U.S. Supreme Court, neither DC vs. Heller nor any other U.S. Supreme Court ruling has ever asserted this fundamental right in public, let alone on campuses and in classrooms.
  • Pro-campus-carry argument. Somewhat ironically, the main public proponents of this legislation, Students for Concealed Carry, don’t argue for campus carry under the 2nd Amendment. Aside from practical reasons for supporting the law, at least currently on their website SCC’s epistemology is based on the idea that “self-defense is a human right.” Some may question, however, whether the exercise of this human right in university classrooms should necessarily includes handguns.

Continue reading A Primer on Campus Carry

A Call to Action!

This series was originally published in Huffington Post as an article titled  How To Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call To Action!

We will be publishing this series over the next few days. This is Part 3.

In order to continue being effective, the unprecedented grassroots campaign and protest that has emerged against campus carry in Texas over the last year should consider re-examining how resources are distributed within the movement and devote significant energy towards opening a “new chapter” to complement its current activities: the legislative action chapter. The reason for this partial shift is simple. If we don’t, we’re not going to get very much accomplished.

If you haven’t previously worked on campus carry during a Texas Legislative Session, or haven’t read the the seminal 2008 RAND study evaluating on-the-street shooting accuracy of the NYC Police Department (preview: it’s not so good) – a category that includes most of us – the rest of this albeit quite long article is highly recommended to help prepare us for what will not be an easy fight.

In Texas, here’s the rub. The time to act is now. To change laws in Texas, or block new harmful proposals, the fight has to be taken to the Texas Legislature, which only meets for 140 days every odd calendar year. This means starting in mid-January, 2017, there’s a window until May 29th, 2017 to influence legislative outcomes that won’t appear again until mid-January 2019.

If you already have a chapter against campus carry at your university or community college and want to work on campus carry in the Texas Legislature, you’ll need to get organized. If you don’t have a chapter, but want to get involved, you’ll have to start one and find other student leaders and organizations in your campus community that would be interested in joining you.

Although some of the below applies to Texas specifically, many of the issues involved in bringing handguns into campuses and classrooms do not. Some of the below information might therefore be helpful to readers working against campus carry in other states.

Lawmakers may find the sections on “Statistics on Texas Handgun Licensees” and “Training of Texas Handgun Licensees” helpful to inform their own work since a fair portion of this information was never introduced during deliberations over SB11 or for other campus carry bills introduced during the last four biennial legislative sessions (i.e. 2009-2015).

  1. Overall Goals

There are at least two immediate goals for the 2017 Texas State Legislative session:

There is at least one eventual goal:

Keep in mind, in the service of both immediate and eventual goals, our aim as campus communities is not to get guns out of Texas. It is only to get guns off our campuses, and primarily out of our buildings and classrooms.

  1. How to Prepare for the 2017 Texas State Legislative session

Continue reading A Call to Action!

A Brief History of Guns on Campuses and Campus Carry in Texas

This series was originally published in Huffington Post as an article titled  How To Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call To Action!

We will be publishing this series over the next few days. This is Part 2.

In 2008, galvanized by the Virginia Tech Massacre the year before, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) developed a model bill to spread so-called “campus carry” across the country, asserting the right and need for communities of higher learning throughout America to arm themselves under the 2nd Amendment. In retrospect, at least, it was not a particularly surprising move. Although in the 1920’s and 30’s, during which the 2nd Amendment was still conventionally viewed in America as fundamentally a “collective” not “individual” right, the NRA helped write and lobby for the first federal firearm regulation laws, after a historic coup within the organization in 1977 transformed a group focused on hunting and marksmanship into a “2nd Amendment activism group” with one of the most wealthy and influential lobbying arms in the country, the NRA had worked to wheedle away many of the “tyrannical” gun laws and regulations its previous membership had supported. In 2008, guns in colleges and universities became just another item on a state-by-state and federal “guns everywhere” agenda that included allowing guns into bars, opposing modest gun-safety laws that have been shown to save lives, and opposing mandatory background checks for all gun purchases that would make it more difficult for criminals to purchase firearms. Continue reading A Brief History of Guns on Campuses and Campus Carry in Texas

How To Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call To Action!

This series was originally published in Huffington Post as an article titled  How To Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call To Action!

We will be publishing this series over the next few days.

Overview

A Brief History of Guns on Campuses and Campus Carry in Texas
A Call to Action
A Primer on Campus Carry
Sample Talking Points

Conclusion
The 2nd Amendment and campus carry can be touchy subjects. Try to be respectful of the viewpoints of other people and groups, such as those of Students for Concealed Carry, even if you don’t agree with them.

Don’t forget to vote this November 8th!

It is our hope that this series can serve as a starting point for a collaborative effort against campus carry in Texas. We hope to see you along the way! Continue reading How To Get Guns Off Campuses: A Call To Action!

Rally to Resist! Rally to Repeal!

Sun_Orange_Square_Better_GWednesday, August 24
12 PM – 1 PM
West Mall UT Austin
Austin, Texas 78712

It’s the law, but we don’t have to like it.  Let’s show that we’re not going away.  Wear Orange, Speak Out! Let’s Make it Clear: Loaded Guns on Campus is NOT NORMAL.

Speakers
Elliott Naishtat, State Representative
Kathie Tovo,  Austin City Councilmember
Gina Hinojosa, Democratic candidate for State Representative
Nicole Golden, Texas Chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Jessica Jin, UT graduate and founder of Cocks not Glocks
Ana Lopez, Plan II Honors Student, founder and Vice President of Students Against Campus Carry
Bryan Jones, Professor, Department of Government
Kailey Moore, UT Student
Rebecca Johnston, PhD Student in History
Jorge Canizares, Professor, Department of History
Steve Friesen, Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Susan Schorn,  Writing Coordinator in College of Undergraduate Studies
Lisa Moore, Professor, Department of English

Get armed…with reason, what you can do now

Concealed carry permits do not decrease crime: There is no statistically significant correlation between changes in concealed carry licensing and crime rates. Armed citizens rarely successfully defend themselves in mass shootings or during other crimes; instead, in a number of mass shooting events, an armed citizen nearly endangered other bystanders. (Phillips 2015, Journal of Criminology; everytown.org)

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. But college student suicide rates have actually been lower than the general population since 1960 because firearms were effectively banned from campuses. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; Schwartz 2006, Journal of American College Health)

The majority of Texans are opposed to Campus Carry: 63% are opposed to allowing college students to carry concealed handguns onto college campuses. 72% are opposed to allowing college students to bring concealed handguns into the classroom. (March 2015 SurveyUSA News Poll)

The High Costs of Campus Carry: The UT System says it will pay more than $39 million to further train campus police, add personnel, build gun storage facilities, purchase equipment and signage, and update security systems. (Houston Chronicle, Feb 2015)

Guns have a chilling effect on the free speech and free discourse that are the core of UT’s mission. Students must feel comfortable asking questions and discussing complex, charged topics. Faculty and staff must be able to challenge students to engage with difficult subjects. Family members need to be confident that UT is protecting their loved ones. Guns in classrooms and offices erode the foundation of higher education.

We are already seeing the fallout from the impending implementation of SB11. The Dean of our nationally celebrated UT School of Architecture stepped down, as have several professors, all citing campus carry as a reason for their departure. Numerous top academic hires and outstanding graduate students have turned down offers from UT-Austin or withdrawn from consideration because of campus carry. More than a few out-of-state students are transferring, while greater numbers are choosing not to apply. Even in-state families are seeking other options.

Losing even one professor or student because of campus carry is one too many.

What you can do:

●  Join more than 1,700 faculty members and thousands of staff, students, parents and alumni who have signed petitions against guns on our campus at  gunfreeut.org
●  Add your name to our mailing list to receive updates at: tinyurl.com/gunfreeut-list
●  Tell us your story of how an experience you’ve had on campus could have turned dangerous or deadly if someone had had a gun at: tinyurl.com/gunfreeconcerns
●  Connect with us on Facebook (Gun-Free UT) and  Twitter (@gunfreeut)

Gun-Free UT Teach-in

Let’s start the new semester by continuing the conversation on Campus Carry with a Teach-In!

WHEN:   Friday, January 22, 2-5 pm
WHERE:  Glickman Conference Center, CLA 1.302B

Download printable flyer

Confirmed speakers include:

Matt Valentine, Plan II coordinator and contributor tor The Atlantic and other publications

Cole Hutchison, Associate Professor of English and member of the Campus Carry Working Group

Becky Bigler, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Child Research Lab

Matt Richardson, Associate Professor of English and African and African Diaspora Studies

Danielle Vabner, student

Yasmiyn Irizarry, Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies

George Schorn, author of Smile at Strangers and expert on women’s self-defense

Kate Catterall, Associate Professor of Design and teacher of a course on Campus Carry and design

Kevin Foster, Associate Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies

Schedule:

2:00-2:15   Opening Remarks and Introductions:   Ann Cvetkovich with Matt Richardson
2:15-3:30  What We Need to Know About Gun Culture:  Becky Bigler, Matt Valentine, Cole Hutchison, Yasmiyn Irizarry
3:30-3:40  Break
3:40-3:45  Introductions:  Lisa Moore with Danielle Vabner
3:45-4:45 What We Can Do About Gun Culture:  George Schorn, Kate Catterall, Kevin Foster
4:45-5:15  General Discussion

What is Campus Carry?
Do you have questions about the law?
How will campus carry affect you and your friends?
Will guns make you safer or less safe?
How can you defend yourself without guns?