UT Chancellor: Removing Gun-Free Zones Will “Inhibit Our Freedom of Speech”

October 5, 2015

By Anthony Hennen at Red Alert Politics

Opposition to conceal-and-carry on campus in Texas has cited safety concerns, but another argument is less familiar: the threat to free speech.

William McRaven, the chancellor for the University of Texas system, said, “if you have guns on campus, I question whether or not that will somehow inhibit our freedom of speech.”

New York Times op-ed columnist Frank Bruni agrees, saying the Texas law that allows gun owners to bring concealed weapons onto college campuses is “insanity.”

“In Texas, there’s so little concern for college students’ physical safety that concealed firearms will be permitted in classrooms at public universities like the state flagship here,” Bruni wrote.

The policy has faced opposition before the recent mass shooting in Oregon last week. A law that allows permit-holders to carry a concealed weapon on campus will take effect August 2016, making Texas the eighth state to allow it.

Under current law, carrying a concealed weapon on a college campuses is banned, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though permit-holders can pass through campus without entering any buildings.

Bruni focuses on the University of Texas at Austin for his argument. What concerns him is a chilling effect on campus speech. He quotes a history professor, a founder of Gun Free UT, who says that, “If I know that there’s a possibility that someone will have gun in his pocket, I can’t in good conscience get students to debate the way they do now...

Schools: University of Texas at Austin