Students and parents alike are taking to social media and the press to share their concerned after two reports of unattended firearms found at the University of Texas at Austin surfaced this week.
Campus police officers reportedly recovered firearms left behind in a UT-Austin women’s bathrooms twice this week, according to the Houston Chronicle, leading concealed carry advocate group Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) to “be mindful” of their guns:
“This type of incident most commonly occurs when a license holder is new to concealed carry or frequently changes his or her manner of carry in order to accommodate different styles of clothing,” Quinn Cox, southwest regional director of SCC, provided in a statement released to the press. “We at SCC recommend that all LTC holders adopt a consistent restroom routine that allows them to continuously maintain control of their firearms.”
While guns may be carried on the UT-Austin campus legally, they still may not be carried openly per state law; concealed carry first became legal on the campus during 2016, but police say this is the first time they found unattended firearms, no less two in one week.
In another interview with a Dallas news outlet, UT Police Department Spokeswoman Cindy Posey described the situation as “disturbing.”
According to the interview further, both guns are reportedly since claimed by their owners, found holstered, but in no other bag or purse.
One owner is said to be a student licensed to carry a concealed weapon; the other said they just visited to attend a conference on campus when they left their weapon behind.
Posey additionally revealed UTPD is still deciding whether to file charges against the owners of the weapons:
“A visitor who has a concealed carry license is supposed to know what the rules are,” she said.
Concealed carry didn’t come to the UT-Austin campus lightly and only after a debate over the issue took shape, with students organizing large-scale protests, one of which involved sex toys, and moving their office hours to bars near campus where carrying firearms is prohibited.
In the first year following the implementation of campus carry, reports show authorities responded to number of incidents:
According to the Dallas News, officers addressed at least one accidental discharge of a firearm on a college campus, although there are no injuries to report, and reports described property damage from the situation as minimal.
Still, given the political climate around the issue of gun control, and the heightened public awareness of gun violence, unattended firearms still raise concerns.