I will never fully understand the irrational fear of inanimate objects that leads people to do things like this.

A handful of instructors, mostly grad students, from the University of Texas are holding office hours in a bar after the state implemented campus carry laws. They’re hoping gun-free zones will keep them safe.

Under the Lone Star State’s campus carry laws, only licensed concealed carry permit holders are legally allowed to pack heat on participating college campuses, and even then, only on certain parts of campus.

From local news:

Mark Sheridan is one of those instructors and a graduate student. He said he wasn’t alone in his decision, “I and many other grad students wanted to find a space where we could hold our office hours without guns legally being allowed,” he said. He along with many others are holding their office hours at “The Cactus Café.” It’s still on campus but a sign clearly states near the door that 51% percent or more of its profits are based on alcohol sales which means weapons are not allowed.

Professors with private offices have the option of allowing students to carry concealed or not, but as a graduate student Sheridan said he doesn’t have his own office, so he had to improvise. “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.

Again, only licensed concealed carry permit holders are legally allowed to carry firearms on campus.

Are you really safer in a bar than a designated concealed carry zone? Do we really need to ask this question?

Those with “Students for Concealed Carry” said quite the opposite that bar meetings put everyone at a greater risk. Brian Bensimon is the Southwest Regional Director, “When they go to a bar, they are actually more likely to be a victim of violence there then they are if they just had it at a regular classroom or a place that did allow it.” Bensimon said they are just trying to get around the law. “I think that when you have these kinds of battles, when you feel very strongly on an issue the correct arena is the political arena. I don’t think that you should be going over the law or maybe finding loopholes to not implement the law in the way it was originally intended,” he said.

Using a bar for his office is something Sheridan said he will keep doing. “I see firearms if they’re carried by someone who is legally eligible or carried by someone not legally eligible. I see it as a risk to my own safety, so I am just taking action to minimize that risk.”

Grad students have held office hours in all kinds of locations — bars, coffee shops, libraries, for ages. But in this case, the motivation is not casual conversation or compensation for lack of a proper office, it’s to skirt state laws.

According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, only 1.6% of mass public shootings in the U.S. since 1950 have occurred in an area where firearms were allowed. The rest? You guess it — gun-free zones.


Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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