In a setback for US President Barack Obama’s gun control measures, the University of Texas in Austin has allowed for the students to carry guns into classrooms.
Concealed handguns will be allowed in University of Texas classes but generally banned from dorms under new rules.
The University president, angered by the decision, described it as the greatest challenge of his presidency to date.
Greg Fenves opposes allowing guns on the roughly 50,000-student campus. Texas universities had been gun-free zones under the state’s previous concealed handgun laws, but the Republican-dominated Legislature voted last year to force public universities to allow license holders to bring their guns to campus starting August 1.
“I do not believe handguns belong on a university campus, so this decision has been the greatest challenge of my presidency to date,” Fenves said.
Fenves, however, noted that he has an obligation to uphold the law. He further expressed solidarity with many faculty members, staffers, students, and their families who called for a ban on guns from the campus.
The so-called “campus carry” measure has met with fierce resistance from students, faculty and other staff.
Critics have predicted that allowing guns on campus will make it harder for schools to recruit top students and faculty.
Last year, Obama introduced measures to expand background checks for gun purchases in a bid to fight rampant gun violence in the US. His action has been met with criticism from legislators and powerful gun advocacy groups.
Obama vowed to use “whatever power this office holds” to put limits on gun sales through executive action, which does not require congressional approval.
The Republican-controlled Congress has snubbed previous efforts of the Obama administration to tighten gun laws.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), firearms are the cause of death for more than 33,000 people in the United States every year, a number that includes accidental discharge, murder and suicides