Debate continues to boil in Texas over a new law allowing concealed weapons across college campuses. This week a prominent physicist at the flagship University of Texas at Austin said he would seek to bar guns in his classroom even after the law takes effect in August.
“I will put it into my syllabus that the class is not open to students carrying guns,” Steven Weinberg, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1979, was quoted as saying in the Austin American-Statesman. “I may wind up in court. I’m willing to accept that possibility.”
Texas is one of nine states with affirmative policies allowing guns on campus. A report this week from the Education Commission of the States and NASPA — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education — provides a map showing how the debate has unfolded across the country.
In 2004 Utah was the first state to enact a law allowing guns to be carried on campus, the report found. Six others have put similar laws on the books: Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas and Wisconsin. In Colorado and Oregon, court rulings have set policies allowing guns on campus.
The fine print varies from state to state. Wisconsin requires colleges and universities to allow individuals to carry concealed firearms on campus grounds, the report said, but schools may prohibit guns in certain buildings as long as the ban is advertised through explicit signs posted at every entrance.
Meanwhile, 21 states have laws or systemwide policies prohibiting the possession of guns at colleges and universities. California enacted the latest ban last year. Eighteen other states, the report said, have statutory prohibitions: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington and Wyoming. Two have bans through higher education system policies: Missouri and South Dakota.
Here, too, the fine print is worth noting. Eight states with bans have exceptions allowing guns to be stored in locked vehicles on campus: Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.
In many states, campus-carry policies vary from school to school.
Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia, encourages its students and staff to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons on the campus in Lynchburg. Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. said in December that the policy promotes campus safety.
But Virginia Tech generally does not allow guns to be carried on its campus in Blacksburg. The public university was the scene of a mass shooting in 2007 in which a student gunman killed 32 people and then himself.
The report, issued Monday, is here: