UT chancellor Bill McRaven opposes guns on campuses

The chancellor of the University of Texas System told the state’s top three political figures Thursday that concealed handguns make a campus “a less-safe environment.”

Chancellor Bill McRaven’s letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus comes as expanded campus-carry legislation appears to have a greater chance of passage than in previous sessions.

Current law generally allows holders of concealed handgun licenses to carry guns on campus grounds but not in campus buildings. ­Senate Bill 11 would allow license holders to carry guns in buildings, although private colleges could opt out.

McRaven told the American-Statesman this month that he favors tightening, not loosening, the campus-carry law to bar concealed weapons altogether.

His letter cited several points of concern, among them: that the sometimes-fragile emotions of college students could lead to an increase in accidental and self-inflicted wounds, that campus police might not be able to distinguish between “the bad actor and persons seeking to defend themselves and others when both have guns drawn,” that securing weapons when they aren’t being carried could be difficult in high-density campus housing and that laboratory chemicals and equipment could create unexpected hazards in the event a firearm is present or is discharged.

The previous chancellor, Francisco Cigarroa, raised similar concerns two years ago.

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