Gun free zones: not with a bang, but a whimper

Editorial Board

Fellow Roadrunners received an email from President Ricardo Romo last week stating that campus carry is a distraction from UTSA’s mission of providing excellence to students and the community. No decision in his 15 years as the university’s president had weighed heavier on his mind than SB 11 and implementing a policy for the new legislation.  He even went so far as to say that handguns have no place in our classrooms, laboratories or campuses.

“While I do not agree with campus carry in principle, I recognize that I have an obligation to ensure we are prepared to comply with it when the law takes effect on August 1,” Romo explained.

Designating classrooms as gun-free zones would violate the intent of the law and banning guns might result in a lawsuit from the Attorney General’s Office. President Romo had to make an incredibly difficult decision. However, he made the less courageous one. To believe that campus carry is bad policy, read surveys conducted by political scientist faculty members at UTSA finding that the majority of the UTSA won’t feel comfortable with guns in their learning environment – and still refuse to designate classrooms as gun-free to prevent a lawsuit – is weak leadership.

If the Chancellor of the UT System, President Romo and the majority of UTSA students reject the campus carry legislation be hoisted on them, why not fight it? Does fear of a lawsuit outweigh courage and respect for students’ voices? There is language in the law that allows for Texas university presidents to establish provisions prohibiting guns in classrooms, and to deny this is a cop-out.

A hopeful Tier One institution can be the test case for gun-free classrooms. UTSA has the ability to set the precedent.  Romo wants to appear as if his hands are tied, when really they are loosely bound. He could wrangle free from this abysmal policy, guns a blazin.