Not a “Nonissue”: Perceptions and Realities of Campus Carry at The University of Texas at Austin

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Not a “Nonissue”: Perceptions and Realities of Campus Carry at The University of Texas at Austin

Category: Concealed Carry|Journal: Journal of American Studies (full text)|Author: A Butters, S Ruoppila|Year: 2021

As a publicly funded institution,The University of Texas at Austin had to implement the state’s legislation to allow concealed handguns on campus. Yet its own Campus Carry policy has sought to erase the matter from everyday campus life. The administration deems it a “nonissue,” presuming that students have become accustomed to the idea, do not think about it actively, and have a low interest in acquiring a handgun license. This paper, based on a survey of the university’s undergraduates, questions these ideas. It shows that a majority of students think that the issue is important and examines in what sense the students are troubled by its effects. While opinions differ between supporters and opponents of Campus Carry, divergences also exist within their ranks, such as among supporters of the law regarding where guns should specifically be allowed at the university. On the basis of the survey, the essay also examines how many licensed carriers are actually on campus, compared to the university’s estimates.

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