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Bar Exam: University of Texas Faculty’s Strange Response to Campus Carry

News out of the University of Texas where late last year the long conceived concept of Campus Carry became a reality. The Texas government finally allowed students and visitors with proper licensure to carry concealed on the university's campus. However, this has not been met with the kindest of welcomes by many at the university who claim to be worried about the safety of being around guns at their campus.

Some professors and graduate assistants have even found a solution to their being near guns that is certainly turning some heads. Instead of having their usual office hours in their own offices on campus (where guns are allowed) these folks have decided to attend a much safer locale in their eyes. Local bars.

THE STORY

That's right. According to a report from Fox 7 in Austin, graduate assistants do not always have private offices where they can independently decide if students can carry firearms.

But under Texas law, establishments that make 51 percent or more of their profits through alcohol — like bars — cannot allow firearms inside. By using a bar, these instructors have found a convenient loophole that allows them to legally prevent students from carrying guns in their presence.

Mark Sheridan, a grad student and instructor at UT-Austin, told Fox 7 he holds his office hours at the on-campus Cactus Cafe as a matter of safety.

“I see firearms as a risk fundamentally; it's about workplace safety for me”

Sheridan said being a student and getting a college education can be stressful. “You can talk to any instructor, any faculty member, and they will tell you, including me about instances in which students have been upset or even angry at you and you've felt uncomfortable.”

Sheridan said in his opinion allowing guns in meetings could make some situations unsafe, “I was a little bit worried about a student I was interacting with, and we believe when you add firearms into such a high-stress environment, it can only go wrong basically,” he said.

But can it go wrong in the classroom more so than it can at a bar? Even though one allows guns and one doesn't? Well, that's definitely a question that we wanted the answers to here at Concealed Carry Inc. so in order to do that we set off on a fact-finding mission.

THE FACTS

Now it is an unfortunate fact that schools and college campuses can be dangerous. Many high profile incidents have been at the center of the news over the years that involved many innocent students being gunned down on their campus.  There have been shootings at schools in the past. One of the most famous of these actually took place at the University of Texas' campus in 1966 when Charles Whitman killed 18 people from atop a tower.

This came at a time when firearms were not allowed on the campus, though. A sickening act can still occur and often does in a place where guns are not allowed because as they say, criminals don't follow the law.

But what about the bars? Do they have any more safety than a campus does? Well, not if the numbers have anything to show for it. In a study by the Center for Problem Oriented Policing, several incidents around the country involving bars and assaults have been looked at and the findings have been blatantly stated in the report.

The proliferation of bars in many communities has led to increases in assaults in and around the bars. While many, if not most of these are alcohol-related, assaults also occur when neither the aggressors nor the victims have been drinking. Most assaults occur on weekend nights. The majority of assaults occur at a relatively small number of places. Not all assaults involve a simple fistfight with a clear beginning and ending; instead, the incidents are often more ambiguous and complicated. For example, some are intermittent conflicts that flare up over time, some evolve into different incidents, and many involve participants who alternate between the roles of aggressor and peacemaker, often drawing additional people into the incident. Some involve lower levels of aggression (pushing, shoving), some involve more severe violence (kicking, punching), and still others involve the use of weapons. Many of the injuries treated at hospitals, especially facial injuries, are related to assaults in and around bars.”

The report goes on to talk about the reasoning behind these assaults. They range from alcohol use, drinking culture, the high proportion of aggressive young males, availability of weapons (Bottles, glasses, pool cues) as well as many other reasons the heightened aggression might explode into violence.

Now if you take this knowledge of the danger of bars and put it up against the so-called “Potential danger” of firearms one thing is abundantly clear. The numbers stack up against the safety of bars and for the safety of campuses whether or not they have a gun. It even works for places that solely have guns. Incidents at gun ranges are less common than incidents at bars.That's because as you likely all know, it is the mindset of the person behind the trigger that can cause the issue. It's not about where the guns are. It's about where the people who are going to hurt you are.

I'm curious to hear what you think, though. Let us know in the comments below about whether or not you think it is a bad idea to go to a bar instead of a campus, or if you think it is just as fine to do business there as it is on the school grounds.

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