The beginning of any college academic year brings more than a few challenges, but for the University of Texas at Austin, those challenges brought great concern and division. On June 1, 2015, Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 11, the “campus carry” law, which allows students with gun licenses to carry a concealed handgun on campus. President Gregory L. Femes and faculty at the University spoke against this ill-advised law with the state legislators, but to no avail. Ironically, this bill was signed 50 years to the day of the first mass shooting on a college campus, at the University of Texas.
Dr. Daniel Hamermesh, professor of economics at the University of Texas since 1993, retired at the end of last year because of the recently approved concealed carry law. He was scheduled to teach another introductory economics class, but instead he resigned. His response to the new law:
“This new law, going into effect next year, increases the risk that some student either in class gets upset and pulls a gun that he has ready access to, or more likely in my office. A student comes in, is upset about a grade, which happens all the time, pulls a gun suddenly and kills a faculty member. It’s just not worth the risk to stay and teach.”
How many instructors will follow Dr. Hamermesh? How many students and teachers will be killed or injured because of irresponsible gun laws?
There is a loud chorus of voices of police, mothers, gun safety activists and faith leaders calling for responsible, pro-life action on inadequate gun laws. Our voices need to continue joining the chorus. Persistence is the main ingredient of success.