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The Brief: UT Remembers Shooting as Campus Carry Takes Effect

On Monday, a memorial service marked the 50th anniversary of the tower shooting at the University of Texas at Austin and the carry of concealed handguns becomes allowed in school classrooms.

Students walk to class on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

The Big Conversation

Hundreds of people gathered at the University of Texas at Austin on Monday for a memorial service marking the 50th anniversary of the campus infamous tower shooting — and at the same time, some students walked uneasily through campus with the knowledge that the carry of concealed handguns is now allowed in school classrooms.

As the Tribune’s Matthew Watkins reports, Texas’ campus carry law went into effect at public colleges statewide on Monday, falling on the same day as the “somber ceremony” in remembrance of the 1966 massacre at UT-Austin, though “no one mentioned the coincidence” during the memorial. 

“There were few obvious signs that a new state law had taken effect allowing guns in university buildings,” at UT-Austin on Monday, Madeline Conway and Madlin Mekelburg write in the Tribune. “But some students and faculty members said the new law — which made Texas the eighth state in the country to allow campus carry — left them unsettled.”

Passed by the state Legislature in 2015, campus carry remains unpopular among professors and many students at UT-Austin. “People don’t really know how to talk about it,” said senior Cecilia Gomez, who opposes the law.

The Tribune has a run-down of the law with what you need to know.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

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UT Students, Faculty on Timing of Campus Carry Law, by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn — A new law allowing concealed handgun license holders to carry their weapons on state university campuses statewide takes effect Monday, the same day that marks 50 years since a student opened fire from the University of Texas Tower.

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Quote to Note

“The violence that seized the campus began in the heart of one. Let this memorial remain — here in this campus and in our minds — as a reminder of the power we have at each moment to become a community of love, of reverence for life.” 

Claire Wilson James, UT Tower shooting survivor, at a memorial service marking the massacre’s 50th anniversary

Today in TribTalk

50 years after UT Tower shooting, the memories return, by Jorge Reina Schement —  That anyone would be so bitterly cold-hearted as to enact the campus carry law on such a horrific anniversary overwhelms me — especially as it so profoundly dishonors every victim.

Trib Events for the Calendar

•   Life on the Border: Rhetoric or Reality? on Aug. 4 at The Centennial Club in McAllen

•   A Conversation with state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa and state Reps. Terry Canales and Bobby Guerra on Aug. 26 at UT Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg

•   The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin

•   TribFeast: A Dinner To Support Nonprofit Journalism on Sept. 24 at the University of Texas at Austin's Etter-Harbin Alumni Center

•   A Conversation with state Reps. Four Price and John Smithee on Oct. 4 at Amarillo College in Amarillo

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