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).
- 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.
- How to Prepare for the 2017 Texas State Legislative session
Continue reading A Call to Action!