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Under New Law, Texas Allows Guns in Classrooms

As of Monday August 1, students are allowed to bring guns into classrooms in Texas, with supporters saying it could prevent mass shootings.

Reuters reports that the campus carry law allows people 21 and older with a concealed handgun license to carry pistols in classrooms and buildings throughout public colleges.

The law means that the University of Texas system, one of the nation’s largest with an enrollment of more than 214,000 students, will be effected.

The law took effect on the anniversary of one of the deadliest U.S. attacks on a college campus. Fifty years ago today, Charles Whitman, a University of Texas at Austin student, killed 16 people by firing from a perch from the school’s clock tower.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott supports the campus carry law. He said a gunman could already bring a firearm on the campus, and the law could prevent mass shootings because someone with a licensed concealed weapon could confront a gunman.

“What campus carry does is that it only authorizes those who go through the special training and background” to carry firearms, he was quoted as saying by his office.

Professors of the university system unsuccessfully lobbied to prevent the law, arguing that the combination of youth, firearms and college life could make for a deadly situation. University President Gregory Fenves said he was compelled to allow campus carry under the law.

Last month, three professors sued to block the law. They argued it could have a chilling effect on academic freedom.

The law allows private universities to opt out, most of which have done so.